Monday, September 27, 2010

Coughing my way through dead birds...

This past week has been a bit of a bust. Unfortunately, Seb had to postpone my training session from last Monday and we rescheduled to later in the week. By the time Thursday rolled around, it was official. I was sick.

I still am.

And I hate it.

Some people say that if your cold is contained above your shoulders, that you can continue to workout. If it moves into your chest, you're screwed. Normally I follow that 'rule', but this time I'm just too tired to do much of anything. And it's not just because I'm sick.

The past few weeks at work have been pretty hectic. When people ask me what I do for a living, I tell them that I deal with dead birds. I'm neither a veterinarian, nor an animal rights activist. I'm a student services professional -- and I have the pleasure of dealing with dead birds.

Allow me to explain.

A colleague of mine once made the analogy of the work that we do in problem solving complex situations for university student being similar to that moment when the cat comes in the house, with a dead bird hanging out of its mouth. It comes to your feet, drops the bird (often still breathing, so not technically dead), and looks up at you as if to say:

"You're special. I like you. You're the only one who has what it takes to deal with this. Please. (Meow)"

And then the cat walks away, leaving you to clean up the mess -- to decide whether or not to resuscitate or put the bird out of its misery. It's a choice. And a powerful one. And a decision not to be taken lightly.

The first three weeks back to school have consisted of a lot of choices, and a few tough decisions. I've been dealing with some complex situations, and a lot of questions -- a lot of issues that to some people are dead birds to be dealt with. And sometimes those issues, to me, are not quite dead yet. I've had to so some workplace CPR. I've had to do some clean up. And in some ways, at times, it feels like I'm the only one who can deal with it. Yes, I feel fulfilled, and busy... but I also feel tired.

Being a dead-bird expert is exhausting.

And I think that's where the cold kicked in. I haven't been training a lot. I haven't been eating poorly. I haven't been eating well. I haven't had the best sleeps. So my system is weak. It's tired. It's vulnerable. I wasn't prepared for the back to school season to be this busy, or this hectic.

My system is a bit of dead bird.
And I'm taking some time to bring it back to life.

I thought that running the Scotiabank 5k on Sunday would help. This was the day that I was supposed to run my half marathon -- but I had decided after I got back from my bike rally that I didn't have sufficient time to properly and safely train. So, I withdrew from the half marathon, and ran the 5k instead.

Normally, running 5-km is not really a big deal. It is however, when you're on your race pace (of 4:50/km) and have to stop at kilometer #2 to spend about 3 minutes coughing and blowing your nose. My sinuses chose kilometer #2 to empty themselves.

It wasn't pretty.
It was kind of disgusting.
I'm glad I brought tissues -- I'm 'that' kind of a runner.

But I kept running. I finished the race in just about 30 minutes. I was aiming for 25 minutes, and started with a pace that would have allowed me to finish just under that. But the cold and sinus infection didn't help. I was disappointed by my performance, and even as I crossed the finish line with the marathoners, I was jealous. I was a bit remiss. There was a part of me that wished I had taken the time to train for the half marathon -- and I would have been able to experience that high, the elation of the finish.

Maybe that would have made me feel better. But I don't think it would have. I would have likely felt worse. Because I likely wouldn't have finished a half-marathon -- with my head full of snot, and my body too tired to function.

So even though I have added another finisher's medal to my collection, I sit here tonight, sniffling, sneezing, blowing my nose, putting lotion on my nostrils, and feeling like I'm swallowing glass. Apparently, I'm 'resting'. There's a big part of me that realizes that the rest is necessary. And there's another part of me that is pissed off that I had to miss my second workout with Seb in as many weeks.

I miss training.

I miss towelling off the sweat from a crazy set of plyometrics, instead of towelling off because I'm running a fever.

I miss the spike in energy that follows a training session... instead of hoping that my morning coffee gives me the spike I need to last through the day.

I miss feeling exhausted from a workout, instead of feeling fatigued from illness.

I miss it.
But I'll be back.

Just like the dead birds I bring back to life.

Chirp chirp.

Kia kaha,
Stay strong.


  1. Chris,

    As i've always said, you're a machine.. but even machines overheat and need to cool off before you plan your next major achievment. So rest. Get healthy. And when you're back, you'll be even better :) We can start planning your next run too! Woot!

    1. Chris hasn't blog posted in a long time. How are you doing Chris?

  2. How are you doing? I read about you on the Xweighted blog, and I was inspired. I ope you are doing well. Please keep at what you are doing, and don't stop. The journey is long, but its worth it.