March 28, 2011
Building Fitness to Fight Disease
I've had a lot of ups and downs already for 2011. It seems like every time I get the ball rolling, something knocks me back and my RA flares up. Following a vacation at the beginning of March, I discovered I had picked up a Giardia infection and needed antibiotics. Rheumatoid Arthritis flares up with the immune system ramps up so in addition to the stomach upset and the strong antibiotics, I had RA slam dunking me too. I was in the throws of a real pity party, and had to cut my mileage down, but I refused to stop. It took a couple of weeks of determined fighting, but I got over the illness and medication and beat back the flare through slow steady runs.
The hardest aspect of this strategy is convincing yourself to exercise when it seems like it is the last thing you want to do, but it is SO important to get out there. Fitness is like a knights shining armor. Without being in good shape, you are like one of the peasants on the front line of a medieval battle with just a cotton tunic and a pitch fork. Sure, you might get lucky and survive the fight, you might even get a couple of good licks in, but chances are better that you are going to get squashed like a bug.
On the other hand, a person that has taken good care of themselves, exercised regularly, maintained a healthy weight, and feed their body with a healthy nutritious diet, is like the knight up on his horse in full body armor with a spear in his hand. Is he invincible? No, of course not, but he has a much better chance of putting up a good fight and going home whole at the end of the day.
There are many things in our lives over which we have no control. Illness, accidents, and bad genes may be our unavoidable lot, but there are many things we CAN control including how we take care of ourselves. So will you show up to the battle with a pitch fork or a spear?
Wendy Nail (a.k.a. The Rusted Runner)