So every year I supervise a group of 20 college students on a service trip over their spring break. Last year we went to New Orleans for the first time. Since it was a huge success, we decided to head to NOLA for our alternative spring break destination again this year. I had my lists made, bags packed, groceries ready (3 meals/day are provided, but I try to stay on my fruit/veggie/minimally processed diet as much as I can!) and what happened…? I woke up with a horrible cold the day before we were to leave. “UGH, REALLY?! Horrible timing!”. As the day progressed I felt worse and worse: achy, feverish, worsening symptoms, etc. I had everything piled up by the door so I’d be ready to meet the students at 5am. I went to bed at 9pm hoping to get a solid night of sleep. 10:30pm comes along and I wake up with a much-advanced fever and horrible achiness…seriously, it hurt to even roll over in bed. The blankets and my clothes made my skin feel raw and felt like they were burning my skin…even though I was shivering and freezing if I unburied myself from the covers. I’ll spare you sick-drama and tell you I ended up not supervising the trip (Graduate Assistants to the rescue!!!). After I dropped the van keys off (at 5am) I piled the blankets on my bed, burrowed under, and didn’t move for the next 2-3 days.
I worked out after having a few days of rest. “I feel so much better, I can’t believe how fast I got better considering how awful I felt”. Um…”feeling better” to simply function as a human being and “feeling better” to exhaust oneself are completely different. My lung function wasn’t exactly up to par and my body was just wiped out from fighting the internal nuclear war. (kidding). But I didn’t want to get behind in my workouts. Besides, the “running rule of thumb” states if your sickness is from the neck up and you don’t have a fever, a workout will typically make you feel better. Then it hit me…
“Self, you know how your body needs to recover after a long run or hard workout?”
“Your body is trying to recover from being sick, too…”
“Oh…so you mean working out while I’m sick makes my body work EVEN harder than usual to recover?!”
“Hm…good point, Self.”
So I over-estimated how much better I felt and under-estimated how worn down my body was from fighting to get better.
One of these days, the internal struggle of “to work out or to not work out” will cease to exist because I’ll be a pro at listening to my body. Let’s hope that happens sooner rather than later.
Do any of you fellow followers struggle with this too?