Jan 082014
 

It was a bummer to be sick over the Christmas holiday. It started with a sore throat, which thankfully waited until Christmas night to start, and then turned into a cough. A co-worker had had strep-throat the week before I got sick so the sore throat sent me to the doc to make sure I didn’t have strep. Thankfully I didn’t! I spent the next three days on the couch or in bed. I had some good company, though!

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Both creatures were pretty good nursemaids. Bella was a snugglebug and kept me company wherever I went. If I was on the couch, she was there, if I was well enough to go sit at the computer, she was laying at my feet.  Fat Kitty is also a good companion when sick. He’s always there to snuggle and purr. And Bella and Fat Kitty are getting along better!

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Astonishing photo, right? I was shocked too. It was funny watching them together. They are now doing some sort of “play” that Fat Kitty is sort of participating in. At least, he’s less grumpy about Bella trying to play with him. While I was packing up the Christmas ornaments and taking down the tree, the two of them came into the living room and played some sort of weird game pacing around each other and walking around a chair. Fat Kitty would take a step one way, Bella would mirror him and then they’d do it again in the other direction. Fat Kitty was meowing the whole time. I like to think they were talking to each other.

Anyways, being sick for four days I got some quality TV watching in. :) I wanted to recommend a few shows. The first is The Fall with Gillian Anderson. It was outstanding! What a fantastic tv show. I’d never heard of it but loved it and was so bummed when the season was over. I have no idea when it starts up again. Check it out! The other was Top of the Lake, with the chick from Mad Men. It was another really good show, a little weird but I liked it.

I also read a bunch. I figured out how to check out eBooks from the library for my Kindle and read a fantastic book I wanted to recommend. The first book of the series is called “The Crossing Places” and the second book is “The Janus Stone” by Elly Griffiths. I am SO glad I discovered this series. I love the characters, the writing is so easy to read and the stories are intriguing. The main character is an archaeologist (another topic I love) in England. They were the kind of books that make you sad when you finish reading it. Great, great books.

Speaking of books. According to Goodreads, my 2012 reading goal was 77 books (I don’t know how I came up with that number) and read 109. My goal for 2013 was to read 100 and I read 119. What can I say, I like to read and I’m a bit of an overachiever. My goal for 2014 is 125 books.

I resisted the whole eBook reader thing for a long time. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to books. I LIKE going to the library or bookstore and picking up a book that catches my eye. I LIKE the smell and feel of real books. But Michael got me a Kindle for Christmas and I have to admit, I freaking love it! It’s so cool. It’s also awesome I can get library books without leaving the house. I’ve been using this service, The Fussy Librarian, too. It sends a daily email digest of eBooks that are cheap or FREE!

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My FAVORITE thing about the Kindle is the Wikipedia/Dictionary feature. I love it. It’s so cool and I’m learning new words every day. Maybe this will help my scrabble game….:)

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Despite being sick for the holiday, I felt much better by New Year’s Eve–a little tired but better. I am so glad 2014 is here! Not only is our wedding getting closer, but it’s a new start. I definitely went a little crazy in December. LOTS OF STRESS EATING. I gained 2 pounds (as of Christmas) but then I got sick and didn’t count my calories for 5 days and didn’t go to the gym for 5 days and….yeah. I haven’t gotten on the scale yet to see the damage the cold did. I’m going to try and get back on track for the next few weeks and then assess the damage.

I don’t really do new year’s resolutions. I don’t think they work and if I want to change something about myself, why would I wait until January 1st to do it? Today is as good a day as any! Even though I’m not making resolutions, I do have goals. Like I’ve said in previous posts, I’m looking forward to getting back into running more. I think I can happily say that my knee issues are pretty much gone. Not 100% but like 95%. I ran almost 2.5 miles on Christmas Eve with no issues, we’ve done numerous longer hikes (5 miles) with no issues. So I think a goal of running a 5k in 2014 is doable!

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Oct 162013
 

It’s a common question that people have. When you’ve found your groove and your workout schedule has become second nature, coming down with an illness throws a wrench in all that–especially if you are in the middle of training for something. But what should you do? Rest? Exercise through it?

It all depends. The simple answer is: listen to your body and see how you feel.

I’m stubborn and I hate it when my routine gets messed up. When I was overweight I got sick a lot. I think part of that was being unhealthy all around. After losing the weight, I noticed that my immune system improved tremendously. Now I get sick about twice a year tops–I get a nasty cold in the fall or winter and then it never fails, I get a cold in February and am home sick for a few days.

Sometimes when I get sick it’s because I’ve been doing too much and not taking enough down time. I have two rest days a week but if the other 5 days are intense exercise, maybe more than usual, I can get worn down. There are two signs that I am getting sick. The first, my heart rate is elevated when I’m not working out as hard and the recovery time is very slow. The second sign is fatigue. I am not a napper and if I suddenly want to nap or feel run down, I know a cold is on it’s way.

Stress definitely plays a factor in sickness. I think a cold is nature’s way of telling us to slow down, rest, recuperate. Like I said above, my history of getting a nasty cold is like clockwork. February or March and October or November is when it happens. Getting a cold twice a year isn’t as bad as it could be and it’s definitely not as bad as I used to be when I was unhealthy!

This past year has been one of the most stressful I’ve had in a long time. There have been a lot of factors contributing to that. Injury has been a big one. Have you ever heard of the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale? It was a study done in the 60′s trying to determine a correlation between stress and sickness. Follow that link and take the test to see where you rate.  I took the test and scored a 303. See the chart below:

Score Comment
300+ You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.
150-299 You have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future.
<150 You have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future.

Scary, huh? I’ve been definitely trying to find alternative outlets to relieve stress so that I can hopefully avoid getting sick as a result. So I am totally shocked that I haven’t gotten the annual cold this year. (Of course, now I’ve jinxed myself!!) I think one of the factors that has contributed to my good health this year has been taking Fish or Krill oil once a day.

This is a new addition to my diet. I eat a lot of seafood already, but Michael and I have started taking Krill Oil once a day–probably around January or so. That’s the only thing that has changed my from diet and I think that’s what is keeping me healthy! Crossing my fingers this healthy streak continues.

So when do you need to stay home? When can you power through it?

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When To Rest? When To Exercise?

Do you have a fever? Stay home. You’re probably too sick to exercise and you’re probably contagious. This is a good rule to go by.

Vomiting? Diarrhea? Common sense says rest! How embarrassing would it be to  lose it at the gym? Yikes. Oh, and if you’ve had diarrhea in the last 48 hours do not swim.

Chest congestion? Stay home! Especially with cardio. I cannot imagine how miserable and difficult it would be to run with a chest cold.

Sneezing, coughing, mild cold symptoms? It’s usually okay to get in a mild workout and I in fact do workout if I feel physically fine. Sometimes it’s just allergies or maybe it’s a cold that hasn’t taken over.

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What’s Your Rule?

My general rule for exercising while sick is to listen to my body. If I’m feverish or lethargic I stay home. If I feel crappy but not ill enough to stop most activities, I suck it up and go. Sometimes that workout actually makes me feel better!

The bottom line for me is that sometimes it’s not worth it to power through. I see a lot of people on Twitter continuing their routine while sick. To be honest, they are almost always runners. Is it because us runners are stubborn? Or obsessed with training schedules? Who knows! All I know is that junk miles that make you miserable because you’re ill aren’t worth it to me!

“The controversy is that many medical professionals suggest that working out while sick is actually detrimental to the recovery process because the body is stressed when it should otherwise be resting and healing itself. Some have suggested that all the studies performed by Ball State University show that working out releases endorphins in the body as a result of the extra physical activity, therefore allowing a patient to feel better due to the endorphins and not necessarily because of any improvement in cold symptoms.” (source)

I would be amiss if I didn’t mention this. It’s a huge pet peeve of mine in the gym world. Remember gym etiquette–always wipe down machines you use. I carry a travel size hand sanitizer in my gym bag, as well as wet wipes to clean machines before and after I use them.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!

Listen to your body. Know your limits. Don’t beat yourself up for taking a few days off to rest. This current injury has taught me that it really is okay to take some extra rest days once in awhile!

QUESTION: Where do you draw the line for exercising while sick?

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