Bug

Yesterday I was sick. I was woken by my cats at 7, fed them, then wondered why it seemed impossible to climb the stairs again. It was like I had been drained of all energy, suddenly and inexplicably. I had no appetite, and didn’t want to drink. I felt vaguely nauseous and had faint stomach cramps but didn’t vomit. I got back upstairs and slept for another 6 hours – the benefits of freelance life, which will be balanced by my impending tax bill – and that was all the day consisted of. I had a headache and felt hot but wasn’t feverish. I didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to drink, all day. Eating and drinking seemed like extraordinarily weird things to do, as if I had never done them. That was odd. But the reason I knew that I was ill was because it was club training night and the thought of running 100 metres terrified me.

My self-diagnosis: stomach bug. I had to sleep because my body needed to deal with whatever was trying to colonise it. I had no energy because I wasn’t supposed to do anything while my immune system worked. I slept and slept and lay on the sofa and watched Three Colours: Blue, which I loved the first time I saw it, and the second, though I always think: there’s no way she would find an empty swimming pool. But it’s beautiful, and it helped. I slept another 12 hours overnight, and today I feel better. I still don’t want to run, but I can climb stairs, and I ate food. And so far it seems my body has fixed itself. Of course my mother’s reaction was, “are you sure you’re not overtraining?”

There is not much reason this post is on a running blog, except I think running makes you think about how your body works. You notice its deficiencies, because you come to love its strengths. I have endometriosis, which is a chronic disease, but I am rarely ill. It gives me pain now and then, and some alarming energy and mood swings, but I usually manage to run and exercise, because that’s how I treat it. That’s also how I treat my tendency to low moods and black thoughts. I love that at the age of 44, I can run 14 miles. I never thought that possible. So when my body doesn’t work right, it’s a shock, or it would have been, had I had the energy to care.

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