Monday, September 16, 2013

How not to F$%! up 4 months of training by getting sick a week before your race

Let me get my disclaimer out of the way first:  there is no scientific background/research involved in this post.  I am not a doctor, I could barely make it through biology class so a career in the medical profession was never in the cards for me.

My top ten tips on staying healthy (and not getting the CREEPING CRUD your children bring home from school/birthday parties/playdates/sporting practice) is purely driven by my experience with a compromised immune system (thanks again Breast Cancer, you're a real peach). 

I could feed a small underdeveloped country with the money I've wasted on race registrations because I got sick by being a dumbass.  So I thought I would give you my personal best, and also my BRF Cyndie posted on Facebook for ideas as she's going to run the Portland Marathon and I wanted to help her out.

Here are my top ten, in no particular order, on how to stay healthy and not miss your race:

1.  No lip kissing of any kind, children or husband (or significant other) OR your BRF!

2.  No sharing forks, spoons, glasses during meals with ANYONE, not even a SIP of someone's drink, not even if they say "Ew, this is really gross, taste it!"  (don't fall victim to this classic hijinx, it WILL taste gross and you'll get sick)

3.  MOVE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH away from your husband's and kids and I mean like in a hermetically sealed clean room environment away, not up on another shelf away.  Toothbrushes are a magnet for germs, like Bill Clinton to interns.  Or Anthony Weiner to sexting.  Irresistible.
4.  Take a daily zinc supplement (only use the lozenges if you feel like you are getting sick and do some research on the best ones to take before you procure them, they are not all created equal).  This seems to boost my immune system enough to ward off about 50% of the germs in the high school where I work.  
5.  Take a shit-ton of Vitamin D.  You can't overdose on the stuff without taking an entire bottle.  I think I take 4000 gs or mgs, whatever the standard dosage is.  This will also boost your mood, another handy dandy benefit during taper time!

6.  Take VITAMIN E, you know those little goopy capsules that if you puncture you can rub the oil on your boo boos and it heals you right up.  Take them whole.  Suck it up, they help.

7.  LOTS of water. And I mean like 100 ozs of water, so you pee constantly, flushing out all that bad germy stuff.  The bonus is two-fold: you get the health benefit of water AND a little extra exercise going pee all the time.

8.  REST - if your body says it's too tired to do a workout, skip it.  Seriously.  At this point you are ready, ya gotta love taper time.  If you are feeling run down and you workout anyways, trust me on this: it will almost guarantee you'll get sick.  Refer to item #5, if you can't work out at least you're taking a mood booster.  Taper weeks are rough for us as I find myself growling more often than not.  But it's OK to miss a session, you'll be that much more revved up on race day.
9.  Eat well, and often.  Fuel that body.  If you aren't eating enough you will also get sick.  I don't mean all you can eat buffet eat well, but don't skip meals, have seconds and don't worry about your calories.  You'll need them later and your tired body will THANK YOU.
10. Never fear killing germs with alcohol.  Ever.  Beer, wine, liquor- it's all good.  That's all I can say: NEVER FEAR KILLING GERMS WITH ALCOHOL.

Good luck to everyone in taper mode, follow my advice and while I cannot 100% guarantee you won't get sick, I DO know that you're doing more than most to avoid it.  And, if all else fails, put yourself in a bubble.  Don't go to a hotel, don't get me started on the germ issues there.....

Love always,