Lungs, Have You Forsaken Me?

half marathon pneumonia training injury

Dearest Lungs of Mine,

You suck. I mean, you are not properly sucking. What I really mean is, you suck at sucking right now. What have I done to deserve this mutiny?

Not even 10 months ago, you broke down and I was laid out for 2 straight weeks as infectious fluid crackled and gurgled inside you. You made me miss my spring break vacation time, but also 4 days of work. Do you have any idea what it’s like for a teacher to miss 4 days of school? Creating sub plans for 4 days in a row, with a different sub each day, not knowing what kind of carnage she’ll return to…that’s a special kind of torture.

Were you harboring bitterness about the newly acquired diagnosis of asthma? Because believe me, I was mad enough for both of us. I know we’re 40 now, but that does NOT give you permission to slack off and cop and attitude. You are in the best shape of your life right now, probably even better than when you were pushing air into a saxophone while I was marching at 130 beats per minute around a football field at 17 years old. Oh wait, you gave me some pneumonia then, too. Cruel bastard.

So now here we are, again, you and I. Back with the fluid and a coughing and the sore ribs and ahem, leaky bladder (don’t try to blame my children for that one). You have been giving me trouble again, starting not long after the marathon. Were you mad that I made you work like a dog for almost 5 hours on the first sub-freezing run of the season? Are you upset that we work in the germ-apalooza that is an elementary classroom? You can’t even let me get a laugh in or read a funny book to my students without sending me into a giant convulsing fit. Not nice.

I admit, some of those factors are difficult to handle for two paper-like tissue air pumpers. But we’ve been through tough times, you and me. You’ve been put through the ringer before. How about inhaling tons of secondhand smoke before you were even an adult? What about helping me birth two babies? Or even, sadly, playing the “fainting game” in 8th grade? You came through those times with flying colors!

I’ve tried to take care of you. Becoming a runner 4 years ago was with the intent of helping all of my essential organs. Lately, we’ve been spinning and running (mostly indoors) for a month now. Dare I say we even enjoyed a brisk 8 mile run two weeks ago. We’ve got the NYC Half Marathon to get ready for! But just when we were able to give asthma a kick in the pants with a new regimen of meds, you went and got yourself knocked up with a doozie of a chest bug which has now taken up residence in my right lung. You just couldn’t resist, could you?

Have I not paying enough attention to you? Have I not been treating you well? I’ve been under a bit of stress lately. You’re right, maybe I should get more sleep. Maybe you’ve been keeping me up at night because I’VE been keeping YOU up at night. I just can’t get my head to stop sometimes. Cancer…guns…cranky people…pick your poison. Any and all can keep my brain going for hours. I can’t help it.

Maybe I should baby you a bit more and stick to mostly treadmill in the winter (I know I need more “mental toughness” practice). Maybe we should send more time in the steamroom at the gym. But you know, I’m busy. Really busy. With life and mothering and running and teaching and Downton Abbeying and whatnot. We’ve got to get on with it!

So, what do you say? Are you willing to give me a break? Pull yourself up by the diaphragm and, as they say, just get over yourself? I hope so. Because I need you. Race or no race, I’ve taken you for granted in the past but I swear I won’t ever do it again. I love you, Lungs. I’m sorry for all of the names I’ve called you. Please, love me back. Soon.

Love, Nancy

Sick and Tired and Not Running

April’s running calendar was a total winner. (*sarcasm font*).

A Sucktastic Month.

After the high of setting a new PR at the Danbury Half Marathon on April 1st, my running has gone downhill faster than a person in a rhino costume flying down the 59th Street Bridge at the NYC Marathon.

Resting after an endurance challenge for most people involves either A) No running and light cross-training or  of B) Doing smaller, easy runs, adding miles over the course of a couple of weeks, also called a “reverse taper”.  I found out that I am much more of an A runner. I tried to do an “easy” run about 4 days after the race, and my legs just wouldn’t have it. It was the kind of run that makes you shout, “For the love of Pete, why is this so hard?!” (not that I did that or anything.)

So I switched to having a non-running race recovery period. I took a couple of light walks, but then…

Spring decided to show up early. My allergies, which I can normally control with some Claritin, went completely berserk. I developed a cough, and then a grosser cough, until I couldn’t take any more and went to Urgent care on Sunday, April 15th. I walked away with a diagnosis of bronchitis. But it became clear that after 9 days of antibiotics and I’m still hacking worse than ever, time to get back to my regular doc.

(Meanwhile, no exercise is happening at all because I just didn’t have the energy.)

Regular doc confirmed a diagnoses of double pneumonia (fluid in both lungs). Oh, snap!

So now I’ve been resting/sleeping/coughing/wallowing in self-pity/sleeping for the better part of 4 weeks now. You can see from the calendar that I’m signed up to run another half-marathon at the end of June. I’m supposed to be running 8 miles this weekend, and that just isn’t gonna happen.


The thing with pneumonia isn’t necessarily the breathing (which does suck), but the complete and utter lack of energy. I don’t even have the oomph to be frustrated. Forget running, just getting myself a cup of tea is a major ordeal. I even took 4 days off work, which, for those of you who are/know teachers, is waaaaay too long to be out of the classroom. Being the mom of two young children, let’s just say the house has looked better. I’ve decided that there will be no PR for the Fairfield Half Marathon on June 26. I’ll be happy just to finish that one. As for the NYC Marathon on November 4, I just keep thinking (hoping) this won’t affect my training…

Ok, pity party over. Time to get on with things. Someone bring me some tea.