I woke up at 2:30 a.m. feeling like a dump truck had run over me, backed up, and did it again out of spite. It had been a restless night of me shivering and wondering if my fever had spiked or if – just maybe – the thermostat was too low.
Shivering, I reached for my phone and pulled up my Nest app – because that’s what tired, sick, and – dare I say, lazy – people do. I was pleasantly surprised to see the temperature actually was a bit low, so I bumped it up just a bit to a more comfortable level.
I had a four-mile run planned with my running pals in three hours. I hadn’t run in two days, and I was feeling the itch. You runners know what I mean – you start worrying that a few days off might mess up your pace or make it harder to complete those long runs during the weekend. Or you won’t get your goal mileage in for the week – or even for the month.
I was determined to run in the morning, as long as I didn’t have fever. I’d feel better after a run, right? Plus, we could take it easy and pace ourselves. I’d be fine.
A little voice in the back of my head wondered if I would pass out during the run. And, because, as my husband would say, I’m a psycho runner, I secretly hoped that if I did pass out, it’d be less than half a mile in so my running partners wouldn’t have to carry my exhausted body so far.
I rolled on my back, and my husband stirred. “How do you feel?” he asked.
Those words opened up my true feelings. “I feel awful,” I admitted. “I hurt all over.”
He put his hand on my forehead. “You’re burning up,” he said.
“But I’m freezing. I can’t warm up.”
He brought me a fever reducer, a bottle of water, and a thick afghan blanket and covered me up. “What are you doing?” he asked, noticing me on my phone.
“Canceling my running date tomorrow morning,” I said sadly. “There’s no way I can run like this.”
Everyone is going to need rest at some point. Everyone is going to get injured and need to take a break from exercising. And that is okay. I can’t stress that enough. Take it from someone who ran a half marathon with a messed up toe (I don’t remember the specifics, but a physical therapist did suggest I not run – but the race was a week away!). Take it from someone who had to give up running for three months because of injury. Take it from someone who, while running throughout pregnancy, did have to slow down on pace and mileage during those nine months.
Rest is not bad – rest is good.
When I was in college, I used to skive off class and take Mental Health Days (Don’t tell my students!). College was stressful, and sometimes I just needed to be alone, perusing the mall with a coffee in hand.
It’s a little harder to do have occasional Mental Health Days with a job. With kids. With a family. With prior commitments. So we don’t. We work all day and night, make sure to get our workout in, and collapse exhausted on the weekends. It’s no wonder we never feel good enough.
In case no one has told you today, let me be the first: you are good enough.
Are you a starting a weight loss journey today? You are good enough.
Are you reading this at work? You are good enough.
Are you wondering how you’re going to get your workout in today? You are good enough.
Are you tired? You are good enough.
If you’re fighting and tired and just need a break, take it. Don’t ever give up, but if you’re sick, rest. You’re doing yourself no favors by exercising when your body needs to heal. Exercising while you’re sick just makes everything worse. Grab a mug of hot tea, turn on your favorite TV show, and just rest.
A few days after getting sick, I tried out a run on the treadmill. Instead of my usual five, I ran three – but it was a great three-mile run. I felt healthy, happy, and, if I do say so myself, very well rested.
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