Just as I’ve got over my slight injury, another setback has hit my running.
I’ve got a chest infection, says the doctor. It’ll be another week at least before antibiotics clear it up and I can run again.
What’s frustrating is that I had a chest infection only a few months ago – in November, after the Dublin Marathon when my immune system was at a low ebb. And the year before that, I had a touch of bronchitis.
This has me worried that my lungs – important for running and also slightly essential for life in general – are something of a weakness for me. I don’t smoke, I’m not asthmatic and I don’t have any allergies or chronic respiratory conditions. But for some reason the ol’ windbag keeps letting me down.
What this current relapse means for my running in the short-term is that I’ll sit out this week completely and then see how things stand next weekend. I’m doing two 10km races during March and April, but I had also been thinking of entering a half-marathon in Dublin in the middle of April. This seems unlikely now – even if I start training next weekend, that only gives me 8 weeks of preparation, including a one-week taper.
And as I’d be starting my training from a low base, that would make a mid-April half-marathon something of a trudge. I wouldn’t get near my personal best time and I wouldn’t do myself justice.
So what happened this time? Well, I had a heavy cold in my head last weekend, which appeared to spread to my chest during the week. At work I was letting out some rasping coughs that surprised even the smokers among my colleagues.
By Friday evening my harsh, gunky cough was being accompanied by general wheeziness, so I knew then that I had something more serious than a cold in my chest. In the same spirit of common sense and early action that saw me head to the physio recently at the onset of a minor niggle, yesterday morning I went to the doctor.
Now, my doctor got me through a pre-race stomach bug in time to run a personal best at the Dublin Marathon last October, so I know that she is sound on the running question. Mulling on my recurring chest infection, the doctor wondered if my move home from Paris left me susceptible to the damper climate in Dublin. She also speculated that having carpets at home meant I was inhaling a lot of dust and other unsavoury particles.
I’m not sure that either of those theories are at the root of my respiratory problems. The southern half of France has drier air that Ireland, but Paris is further north and climatically isn’t too different to Dublin. Besides, the air quality in the Paris metro is poor – you’re inhaling micro-particles of metal, for instance – so the sea breezes of Dublin should be an improvement.
As for carpets, surely wood and tile floors also have their share of dust.
I suspect that the solution lies in my immune system. Last year’s move home and hard running took a lot out of me, and perhaps I haven’t taken enough care to recharge the batteries completely. As a long-term remedy, I’ll start taking some multivitamins and that old favourite of distance runners, echinacea.
And while I’m off my feet I can continue with the foam-rolling and stretches I got from the physio, so that my eventual return to running will be sustained and injury-free.
I just want to get back running again!