Sometimes even this intrepid runner doesn’t want to lace up her shoes and get jogging. The allure of RadioLab forgets to wake up, knowing birds will be frolicking in the lake, and the temptation of simply being outside loses all intrigue and I’m left anxiously staring at the grassy knolls and steep staircases I consider my home turf wondering if they’ll ever reel me in again. At times like this, a former runner’s lament starts tuning up in my head and I fear I’ll one day become one of those “I used to run but…” storytellers who anyone ten years my junior could never fathom being true.
The few and far between times this happens, I’m almost assuredly sick. And not just mild cold or low-grade fever (because darn it we know how much I approve of illness and running and in fact endorse such things) but a half-flu like sense of tiredness coupled with unmanageable bouts of unproductive coughing that stops jogging in its tracks (and occasionally leaves this runner yakking in the bushes).
Like today. And every day since 11:00am on Thanksgiving (I remember the moment a little too clearly). I’ve been running one day and taking two days off ever since, usually unable to lift my body from bed and feeling like my bones have simply stitched themselves into the mattress while I have been dreaming. Ugh, and one day I even got on the elliptical after an hour long swim and made it through fifteen minutes before realizing I felt horrible enough to dismount and go home to a hot shower.
This whole sickness-thing led me to a much unanticipated (and sort of unwelcome) period of respite. In runner’s terms that also means a strange amount of unexpected time on my hands (and feet). So what’s a typically spring-buck inspired guy or gal to do (besides the obvious answer of “rest and get better already”)? Well, I’ve delved into a whole new “exercise regimen” that those of us stuck inside and with colds can follow. The best part? You can drink tea during all of them, and sit down for a nap whenever you want. Here’s what I’ve been occupying my mind and body with:
- Rearranging furniture in attempts to make my apartment resemble the centerfold of a Pottery Barn catalogue. Not only does this build muscle and get the heart rate up, it also leads to far more attractive living area. (Unless your living area already rocks. Which I realized after moving things around and wound up with all my furniture in the same spaces as when I started.)
- Dancing around to The Beach Boys or any number of albums my roommate’s bountiful CD collection. If extra tired or coughy, choose slower tempoed music (hello, Dido).
- Discovering new ways to make myself cough. Singing has been doing the trick, as has giggling, inhaling deeply, inhaling in general, lying down to go to sleep, telling someone proudly I haven’t coughed recently, been on public transportation, during a flip turn in the swimming pool and anytime I think I want a cup of coffee. This fabulously has twofold consequences: If I’m lucky some lung butter is dislodged and I get an ab workout from the hacking.
- Folding laundry and putting it away. For extra kicks, do your roommate’s laundry. More clothes to fold! All that back and forth between machines, hangers, dressers and the like give you a nice evenly spaced workout.
- Bake cookies (provided you wash your hands a lot). You certainly won’t want to eat any (phlegm + chocolate chips = painfully disgusting) so you almost lose calories by not snacking on your treats, and it keeps your body busy without wearing you out. Plus when the cookies are baking you can sit down.
I sincerely hope none of you get ill enough to feel like enlisting some of these suggestions. But if you do, I encourage you to make up some of your own and share them with me. Because dear god, I’m going a little stir crazy.