Note from Madeline: This is my first post since January 7th. As Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”
I was on my back on the living-room floor, a small cushion supporting my back a I tried to do scissor moves to the count of eight.
“Wow, it is really hard to get back into shape after a lay-off,” I complained.
“Yeah,” Roger agreed, adding unnecessarily, “Especially as you get older.”
That earned him a glare as I went for eight crunches.
He wasn’t wrong about it being harder as you get older. I don’t bounce back after a lay-off like some of our younger running friends do. This year was supposed to be “my big year”. I was the baby in my 80 to 84 age division having just entered that division last August. I placed second at the national cross country meet in December at Lehigh University and had taken first (and only) at the winter cross country meet in San Diego on January 18th. Coming up was the indoor national track and field meet in Baton Rouge in March where I would enter the 800 and 1500 meters. Here in New Jersey a 15K, also in March and a 10K in Dedham, MA the end of April, as well as a 10K in New Jersey.
Roger and I had flown out to Las Vegas in January and hooked up with my brother-in-law Bob for a scenic tour on our way to San Diego. We visited Death Valley and then stayed in Simi Valley to visit the Ronald Reagan Museum. We got in two easy runs in a park in Simi Valley. All was well. The cross country meet at Mission Bay Park was a two-thousand-meter multiple loop course with only rolling hills and one mud pit; a perfect cross-country venue.
We arrived back in New Jersey after midnight on Wednesday, January 22nd all pumped for training and racing. Sure, Friday evening Roger found me uncharacteristically asleep in my chair – but hey maybe I was a little tired. Saturday it was clear that I was brewing something. We had reluctantly gotten flu shots just two weeks before. Could I have gotten the flu despite the shot?
By Sunday I was in bad shape. Roger took me to a drop-in medical center in Chester where the doctor made the obvious diagnosis. I had the flu. Really? Sometimes the immunity for the flue isn’t completely developed was the explanation. The doctor gave me a “take-it-once” flu med and a prescription for my developing cough and advice to just take it easy.
By Wednesday I was so sick and weak that I could not go down the stairs in our two-level home by myself. I sat on the top step and baby-scooted down one step at a time. Roger had considered the drop-in center but this time he headed for the Dover General E. R. (us long-time residents call it Dover General despite it’s affiliation now with Saint Clare’s in Denville.)
I was running a temp of over 103 and that alone was worth an overnight in the hospital; four as it turned out. Of course, they ran tests and flu was ruled out. Walking Pneumonia, aka Mycoplasma Pneumonia, A test for Valley Fever took a while longer and was eventually ruled out.
If I had Walking Pneumonia it was a big misnomer. Yes, I could walk from the bed and to my chair and back to the bed. That was the extent of my “walking”. This lasted for two weeks before I began to feel strong enough to do more than nap all day.
Now here I was on the floor beginning my old exercise routine, and damn, it hurt. Two days before I had done one set of from-the-knees push-ups, eight scissors and eight pedals and one to-the- count-of-eight plank. How could I be hurting so bad?
Roger pointed out that I had not done any of those routine moves for six weeks. He managed to keep the as-you-get-older remark to himself. Well, the first race on my revised schedule was going to be the Cherry Blossom 10K on April 5th, six weeks from now. I slowly pushed myself up off the floor and walked to our re-purposed breezeway, now an exercise room and stepped into the stirrups of my favorite machine, the Octane Fitness Zero Runner. The Zero is one of the best fitness machines – not a treadmill and not an elliptical, it is a running machine with zero impact. I stayed on for 45 minutes and managed to hit 2.8 miles.
Saturday, February 22, 2020 If I thought my abs and chest hurt yesterday, I hadn’t known what I was missing. Two sets of each of the ones from yesterday brought out little gasps of pain. “Don’t give up now.”
As anyone who has run on a treadmill, or done the elliptical or a Zero knows it is hard to stay on the darn machines. Having a television to watch helps a lot. The day before I watched the latest episode of Survivor. Today I scrolled down through the DVR menu and selected Beverly Hills Cop. Eddie Murphy kept me on the Zero for 3 miles and 49 minutes before I put him on hold and eased off the Zero. See you tomorrow Eddie.