Monday, March 7, 2011

Stress, Illness, and the Long Run

Over the weekend I realized I have yet another cold. This is my second one of the year and only about one week after I felt fully recovered from my first one. It's all those darned sick people I see for work! I'm just kidding. Really, I love my job and I can't imagine anything more rewarding than helping people who really need it. I am always being exposed to illness and infection, but rarely get sick. I know why these recent colds have grabbed me.

Viruses, molds, and bacteria are everywhere. They always have been. That's why our bodies are designed to resist them. If this resistance fails and these culprits do find a foothold, a healthy body is excellent at fighting them. I think a lot of people with excessive food sensitivities, environmental sensitivities, migraines, frequent infections, frequent colds, skin problems, gastro-intestinal issues and other disorders have low tolerances to the world around them due to a number of things... unhealthy lifestyle (we all know this one), stress (physical or emotional), and negative thinking and attitude. Of course there are many people who do everything right, but are constantly sick. Familial tendency and heredity have a big role also. But just because your parents were both fat diabetics with heart disease that died young, doesn't mean you have to go that route, too! I truly believe we have a lot of control over our health. And I don't need a holistic practitioner to tell me this for a huge sum of money.

I normally have a fantastic immune system and rarely get sick or feel run down. The exception of this is when I am under stress. When I was going through a divorce and starting a whole new life I developed rashes, headaches, insomnia, and kept getting colds. Our physical health is very closely related to our emotional and mental health! Well, recently I have been under a lot of stress and pressure in my workplace. It all stems from Medicare cuts, which are actually sorely needed. We do need to make cuts and be more efficient (in my humble opinion.) But I still have a mortgage and an active lifestyle that demands a flexible work schedule. Hence, the stress.

Today I was scheduled for a twenty miler. Looking out the window at the steady light rain and running streams in the road, and seeing that the thermometer only read 34 degrees, and feeling a sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, and chills, I wasn't crazy about the idea of lacing up the running shoes. But I did it. I told myself, "only run 5 or 7 or whatever feels possible today." Surprisingly, a nice wet long run was exactly what I needed! I ran twenty road miles at about 8 minute pace and felt better and better as I went. I solved all my work problems in my head as I ran. So when my boss called me a few minutes after I got back home, I was able to speak to her in a calm and logical manner. We were able to negotiate a very do-able plan that will benefit the company (one more work day a week for me with the same pay) and myself (no more on-call nights on the weekends... and even better, I still have the job I love.) Suddenly my cold is feeling a lot better!


  1. Great news on the 20 miler and especially the job development.

  2. Congratulations on what turned out to be a great run for you, in more ways than one. :)

  3. It's funny how some our best runs occur when we barely have enough motivation to leave the house.