I woke up a few days ago with a raspy feeling in the back of my throat. I swallowed a couple of times as if to clear an obstruction. The hidden hope was that the pain would be gone; a figment of my imagination. Not to be accomplished, I realized or maybe I should say I admitted it was a sore throat. Acceptance would not come as easily. You know what I’m talking about. It feels like someone has fed you a slice of pizza covered with an abrasive sauce. It becomes lodged in the back of your throat like a bad dream reminding you of its presence every time you swallow. My larger concern was the thought which immediately followed. The thought which said, “You’re getting sick.” I had just returned to the gym and am trying to maintain or at the very least not lose any more fitness so I can get back to running.
I bid my wife farewell for the day as I was leaving the house. She asked me why I wasn’t giving her a kiss. I looked at her with sad eyes and said, “I’m getting sick.”
Hope filled the remainder of my day as the pain in my throat abated simply to return again the following morning. As the next day progressed other well-known symptoms of the common cold began to rear their ugly head. I went to bed last night and slept for three hours before rising with a stuffy nose. Sleep evaded me for the remainder of the night coming in brief increments and only leaving me wanting more.
Most people look toward such an illness as something which is feared and hated. I am not a fan of illness but I have learned to accept what I cannot change. I know this setback will keep me from returning to running at for another week. I accept this as a “good thing.” One additional week as opposed to returning too rapidly and risking the return of an injury. The other night I as I walked with Jack, I reached down and unhooked him from his leash. He looked up at me as I looked toward the end of the driveway with a high degree of trepidation. I was afraid to take that first step. Afraid the pain would be right there and disappointment would surround me like the darkness of a closed room. I took that first step and felt no pain. Not even the hint of pain. I took several more steps as my mind would not believe what it was hearing from the body. I stopped at the opposite end of the driveway and looked toward the street. “Should I try this again?” was the thought which bounced around inside my excited head. I took that step and again felt no pain. I decided I would not announce I was pain-free. I was afraid to start running again. I wasn’t sure if I could emotionally manage being off from this sport I love so much. My thought was to spend the next week at the gym on both the bike and the elliptical, regain some lost strength, improve my fitness and then slowly return to running. This cold changed that. I try to look at that as a positive. I remind myself I am not a young man anymore. I don’t see myself as old but there are noticeable creaks and groans which were not previously present when I was twenty years younger. This injury forced me to sit back and listen to the story my body was telling.
I will listen to the story. I will heed its warnings and I will allow myself the opportunity to learn from my mistakes and recover.