After my travels around the park in a steady rainstorm, you’d think the running gods would celebrate my persistence and general hardcoreness and bless me with a gesture of some kind – improved physical conditioning, better running mechanics, more efficient strides (honestly, I would have taken ANYTHING) – but you’d be wrong. Instead I’m cooped up in bed with my running book, a pounding headache, a 102F fever and enough Motrin in my tummy to open up a drug store. This is just not fair! Who gets the flu in the middle of summer? Oh right, the stupid idiot who decided to taunt the weather gods and run in the midst of a rainstorm. Oops. Guess I should have stayed indoors like the rest of the civilized world instead of trying to simulate the “natural running” of the Tarahumara Indians! I officially blame Brandon Wood for conducting such an excellent interview with Chris McDougal, the author of “Born To Run” (which I listened to while I was running) that he made me feel as if I too could spontaneously run 100 miles…in the rain…with no prior training…and no shoes. (Alright, just kidding about the no shoes part…)
But alas you think this post is just about a sick man ranting about his sickness, sorry to disappoint. There’s actually a more important and intellectually stimulating question I want to poll the audience. Does running in the rain make one more susceptible to infectious agents? Have others had similar experience as me where my chances of catching a virus of some sort exponentially increases after a run in bad weather? Does that even make sense physiologically or is this just an old wives’ tale? I have to admit that despite all the medical training I’ve undergone, I am clueless to explain this phenomenon. All the books I’ve ever read tells me that steady running/exercise bolters the immune system (except during the immediate period before and after a marathon). So why does my immunity grow weaker than Superman next to kryptonite every time I run in the rain, snow, extreme temperatures, and the like. Why am I sick in the middle of summer? (I googled my question and found this annecdoctal answer...but I'm still somewhat skeptical)
Despite my sickness, I miraculously completed my mid week long-ish run this morning. 10.3 miles in 1:17:39 (7:32 pace). To be honest, I popped a couple of Motrins prior to the run and didn’t feel the effects of my impaired physical state until the last mile and a half. I underestimated the humidity outside and my dehydrated state caused me to almost faint at the end of the run. I slumped to the side of an apartment building and didn’t try to get up until after the security guard brought me some juice and water. I somehow made it home and have been in bed ever since. Hey, I might have fever and shaking chills, but at least I haven’t yet fallen behind in my marathon training! Don't I deserve some brownie points for this? (Yes, I know I’m a dork!) Tomorrow is a scheduled rest day and Saturday is my first 18 miler of the season. We’ll see if I’m ready to run by then.