Living with a chronic illness sometimes makes life rather unpredictable, and makes it impossible to follow a training plan to the letter when it comes to workout days, number of recovery days etc. Some days I feel exceptionally well, in which case there is only one thing to do: Get the running gear on and head out. Nevermind if I maybe worked out the day before, because if my luck really runs out I might have to wait days, perhaps even a week, before I am able to do anything whatsoever.
It’s the frustrating paradox of my illness: In order to keep my illness under control, and to keep my stress and depression from returning, I need to work out on a regular basis. Running is the best, as long as my legs can take it, as I get fresh air and sunlight, and it carries with it such a great sense of accomplishment. But the meds that I take, which enable me to function normally most of the time, are also the very thing that keeps me from functioning now and then, due to the side effects. I can take the lack of appetite or the extreme appetite I sometimes get, or the heat flashes, or the nausea, most of the time, if it isn’t at extreme levels. But the fatigue… Sometimes I can spend weeks with lots of energy, living a normal, active life, and then BAM.
Wednesday was such a day for me. Stomach pains (illness) and fatigue (side effects) galore. My sugar cravings became massive and I gave into them big time. (Sugar prooobably doesn’t help the fatigue in the long run) After the pains had become steadily worse, I gave in and went to bed before nine. So no training that day.
Thursday I felt better, and it was in some respects a valuable day. I was still too fatigued to make it to dance practice, but I did figure out why I have been craving sugar so much lately. I normally don’t crave sweet things too much, it’s normally salty things, but this summer it’s been insane. I’ve been a little concerned about that, since I normally crave salty things more in the heat. After looking into what cravings really mean (what the body really is asking for) I’ve realised that my lack of “dinner initative” (my appetite is really lacking now that it’s so hot, and even more so when I’m fatigued) have caused me to, possibly, lack some nutrients. So I ate a good dinner with plenty of veggies, and went to bed early.
Today was far better. I still felt fatigued when I got up, but sometimes it lingers until I have run it out of my body. Quite literally, in fact. After eating breakfast, dawdling on youtube and then eating a small lunch, I put on my running shoes and headed out. On the program today was a basic run (15 minutes of warmup, 35 minutes of slowish running, and 5 minutes of cooldown). There and then I didn’t have a very good feeling. My legs felt heavy, and I could find the motivation to force myself to run slowly enough to keep my heart rate in the right zone, so I ended up walking a bit. But when I started on the walk back up the hill to my apartment, I realised that I had run for most of it, and I had run for 2 km longer than the plan said. I had also done the Polar fitness test in the morning, with significantly better result than any other test, and my running index has also improved. All in all a good run, in other words.
I had planned to ride my bicycle to the store today, but somehow the rain we’ve had for the past weeks must have done something to the brakes. There’s a very steep hill down from my apartment, and the brakes were screaming like I abused them, when I hardly braked at all. I need to get that checked out. Anyway, I ended up walking to the store instead, at a brisk pace, and it ended up being a good walk.
Now, at around eleven in the evening, I feel great. I resisted the urge to work out even more (right after a bout of fatigue I cannot afford to take any chances, and I have burnt around 1000 kcal today), and even after cleaning my apartment I feel energized again. It’s truly a great feeling. Now I’ll get a good night’s sleep, and then I have a long run tomorrow. I didn’t intend for the two runs to be so close, but I can’t have the long run on the day before dancing. That would be asking for injury!
Does any of you have experience with getting fit and dealing with illness (chronic or not)? How do you deal with the bad days? Do you have any tricks?