I thought I had made a complete recovery and I was proud of how I eased myself back into training. I was feeling 100% during the day (no lingering fatigue) and my runs, although slow, felt good. I really thought I was out of the woods because this healthy feeling lasted for nearly three weeks. I completed a 13.1-mile run in extremely hot weather and that didn't set me back. And the following weekend I ran 14 miles and felt great for the next few days.
But then I went to Chicago for business. The first few days were great. I went running on the Lakefront trail and I was feeling very energized during my business meetings. But by the third day, my throat felt scratchy, and by the forth day, the sore throat and all symptoms returned with a vengeance. I realized that my Chicago trip was about the worst thing for my immune system:
- Being on a plane stresses the immune system due to all the germs you are exposed to and have to fight off.
- The first night, I was extremely restless and got only 3-4 hours of sleep (this often happens to me the first night of a trip)
- There was a time zone change of 1 hour, which meant everything was off schedule
- Healthy food wasn't readily available during the day, and I wasn't eating dinner until much later than I was used to
- I had two glasses of Sangria at one of the work dinners-- alcohol is a big No-No for the immune system.
- I was going to sleep later because the work dinners lasted so long. I ducked out early for two of the nights, but that still caused me to go to sleep two hours later than normal.
- The weather there was hot, and I did a faster-than-normal run my second day there
These are all immune system busters! And had I known I had mono, I would have been a lot more careful.
Anyway, on Friday I went to the doctor, who was highly suspicious of mono. I received the results on Tuesday and they were positive. Basically this means I will be feeling fatigued for a long time. Recovery takes 2-3 months. (I am hoping that my start date for this is June 18, and not the date of the relapse). I can run as tolerated, but I am steering clear of speedwork. I attempted to run on Sunday, but I had to stop after just 3.5 miles. I tried again on Tuesday and lasted for six slow miles, but I felt pretty tired by the end of it. Nothing since then.
I'm not going to speculate about what this means for all the races I have lined up this fall. There is no question that they will all be impacted, including the November marathon. I just don't know to what extent yet. I have already had to drop out of two races in the past month due to this illness, so I hope that's the end of it.
My strategy now is to minimize stress (which is tough with all the stuff at work that has to get done) and try to get as much rest as possible.
I am boarding a plane for Buffalo, NY later today (I know-- bad idea) for a wedding. After that, Greg and I are renting a car and driving up to Toronto for the fun of it. This was supposed to be like a mini-vacation for us, and now I think I'm going to have to take it easy while I am there, instead of doing all the exploring that I wanted to. We've pre-paid for the Toronto hotel and our flight comes back on Tuesday, so we can't really change plans at this point. I would just love to get back to where I was two weeks ago! Why can't that come back!?
In the absence of running, I have been keeping up with my strength training. No heavy lifting-- just planks and other toning things for my glutes, hips and upper body. If I wasn't doing this, I would feel like my body was turning into jello.
Well, it's time to pack for my trip. I hope to keep the sore throat at bay and that I have enough energy to enjoy it!