First Workout After Illness

11 Dec

Oh lord. Could there be anything more torturous than taking a week off of working out to recovery from an illness? Yes, yes there is. There is making yourself workout at 6am while still actually recovering from being sick.

I’m not smart (sometimes).

All weekend, I told myself that I would try out yoga. I’ve been feeling better since I finished off my 5 day Z-Pack and my body was physically feeling ok… why not? Before Sunday’s class, I had a major coughing fit. So, stayed home Sunday. And then yesterday, I had to stay at work late to finish a project that I couldn’t do at home on my sick days… so no yoga again. Color me sad.

But then I had the brilliant idea that I would just go to the gym at my regular time on Tuesday morning and play it by ear.

Again, I’m not smart.

So I peel myself out of bed at 5am, get in my workout gear that has been lying on my couch for the last week, and drive my cold ass to the gym. All the while, I am coughing and wheezing like I did early last week. I kept telling myself “You felt better yesterday! You’ll be fine!” But as soon as I walk in, I knew it wasn’t all good. I needed my inhaler just from the short, one block walk. And I even needed to eventually pop a pain med because my chest felt like it had sucked down sub-Arctic wind on a long run. Oh, and the taste of blood in my mood is always a good sign (note: It’s not).

So, I get on the treadmill. Of course, I pick the one next to the 8 month pregnant girl running at 9 minute mile (no joke, this woman is a beast). My self-esteem takes a complete dive off a cliff as my body struggles through a pre-set hill walk at a pretty slow pace. I can only do that for a half hour before I am spent and holding on to the handles for dear life.

Of course, just as I get off and move to the incumbent bike, the instructor for my kettlebell class spots me and asks if I was planning on going. The class looks empty and I always have empathy for fitness instructors when their classes get canceled, so I say that I will try to save her the cancellation. (Of course, as soon I put down my towel and grab my weights, 4 other people join the class…). She has us grab a light pair of kettlebells (about 4lbs each) and a medium set (about 17lbs).

I start off by reassuring myself that I can just use the 4lbers today. I have a good excuse. No one will care or even notice that I am essentially whimping out. Then I see the girl next to me who is about 90lbs, full of awesome tattoos, and wearing the face of a mad-tiger-woman. I am both humbled and in awe of this kind of woman. She could give marathon running, pregnant lady a run for her money. I feel the need to impress her, and with that, my reassurance goes out the window.

I stupidly do the warm up swings with the 17lb weight. My heart rate is jumping and I wheeze a bit, stop to cough, but keep going. Next are squats with an arm lift. Again, I pick up the 17lbs. No biggie. Except that my inhaler and pain meds make me dizzy so I am struggling to not loose my cookies. But of course, the worst are the lunges with both small weights. I can barely make myself stand up straight before I have to hold on to the wall. I look like a fool. Even more so when I can barely lift my arm (which is now breaking out in the red splotches I got the morning I came down with the bronchitis)… And then there are push-ups. At this point, I might as well just lay on the floor.

And that’s only one round.

My pride broken and feeling totally embarrassed, my instructor makes it worse by asking me what’s wrong as I breathlessly explain to her in between wheezes that I am getting over bronchitis (BUT I’M NOT CONTAGIOUS), and that I am trying not to push myself. I take a third (fourth?) blow to my ego when she takes away my 17lbers so I am forced to only use the 4lbs. As soon as I get through the third round, I am out of there… leaving a trail of coughs and wheezes. I some how managed to make it through the class.

Worst half hour of my life.

I told myself that if I could make it through, I could go to my more traditional, but harder, weight lifting classes tomorrow morning. But now, I’m not so sure. I’m actually feeling worse today than yesterday, and I am even canceling on a concert that I had planned on going for the last two months. Bronchitis, you win.

How do you recover from long term illness? Do you get back on that treadmill, or do you force yourself to ease back in to it?

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