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I’m not even sure I can describe the last few weeks of April and the first few weeks of May without using my calendar for help. I had a series of writing, publishing, and work deadlines. Everything in my Spanish class was geared toward the last month, from a presentation (yes, in Spanish, about a topic that I could give a flying rat’s behind about), to a paper (with a collaborator, see above about the flying rat’s behind), to a final (once again, flying rat’s behind [this class was not what I had hoped for]).
I also had some fun things planned—a couple of end-of-the-season runs and a musical (or two), as well as time with friends. Then I caught a “mild” cold which also hit in the middle of the worst allergy season that Vegas has seen in years because we actually had rain this winter. The cold left; the cough and some allergy symptoms remain…to this day.
(I Googled how long a cold’s cough can last and various medical sources tell me that a “lingering” cough post-cold can last from three to six freakin’ weeks. Oh, and try not to “force” the cough, because y’know, that’ll make it worse. And oh, yeah, those cough suppressants? They don’t work either? And…grrr. Just grrrr. And FYI, ragweed season is often 10 weeks long. Sometimes Google is not your friend.)
Oh, and then last week, I taught an in-person workshop on romantic suspense which was, I must say, an absolute blast. The students were fun and they laughed a lot and they challenged me and they wrote good stories, but I had to talk and that meant the occasional coughing fit (and no, Harvard Medical School, I did not “force” that cough; it was inevitable) which actually showed up in a few stories, so even though I fled the room, it must have been rather startling.
I took time off from my usual exercise during the workshop, except for my 12,000 step streak. I planned to resume my usual schedule after the workshop was over (which meant that Friday was off, and Saturday was on), and I figured that was enough.
But the Saturday run was too physically hard, so I stopped short of where I planned. Sunday, I decided to forgo the usual exercise, and I am reassessing the entire recovery plan.
I’m also near the end of a large book project and I have some things that were due a week or two ago that I really need to get to, so I’ve been busy that way, and when I’m not running, it takes much longer to get the 12,000 steps, but at least I get to catch up on my favorite podcasts.
I had to get this blog post done by today to fit into other people’s schedules, but I wasn’t willing to give up my fiction words so close to the end of this book. I have a list of blog post topics that I’m really excited about writing. So, I planned to write one of those.
I wrote my fiction words and would have written more, but I have these other deadlines to finish. Then I had some errands to complete. I got home and needed a dang nap, which worried me. Has the cold returned? Are the allergies attacking? What’s going on?
I got up, did a few laps around the building for my steps, and my little voice whispered, Y’know, you took one day of rest after the craziness that was this spring. One whole day. That’s not what athletes do.
And then the little brat added, Maybe you should write about rest for your blog post.
Okay, subconscious. Message received.
I know about athletic rest. I really do. I even know that it’s divided into two categories. They are short term or active rest and long-term recovery.
They’re not as self-explanatory as they sound. Active rest is the kind of exercise someone can do after intense exercise. So, say, you have a long run or do some incredibly hard training program. The next day, a short easy run or a walk might be in order or maybe swimming (but goofing around swimming, not hardcore swimming). Anything to move muscles but not continue the micro-tearing that heavy exercise can cause.
Long-term recovery is what it sounds like. But it’s not defined. It’s one of those wiggly things, as noted in an article on UCHealth (which is out of the University of Colorado Health Newsletter):
The duration of a recovery period depends on factors such as your age, sport, and training regimen.
Well, yeah. Duh. Okay. My age is older than most athletes they’re talking to. My main exercise is running, but I upped it this year to return to Pilates and train for a teeny tiny triathlon (seriously, it was a micro-tri. That’s what they called it). And then April, and May, and…yeah, okay. I’m doing a lot.
So, I got grumpy at the UCHealth article, and looked up recovery periods for runners. Not that these stupid things talk about runners in their sixties, mind you. They’re happy to tell middle-aged people that they’re past their running prime, but they can still enjoy it. And to inspire us with 90-year-olds who still run marathons. But the sixty, seventy, and eighty year olds? We’re invisible on these sites.
Runners World published an article in 2022 titled, Six Reasons Why Rest Days Actually Boost Your Running, and it actually contained this lovely annoying paragraph:
In other words, rest right, and you’ll run faster and be healthier. Skip it, and you might be forced to take time off due to an injury. Here’s exactly why you need to take a break sometimes to build a stronger—more rested—you.
And then, to add to my annoyance, Self had an article that listed six signs that your run day should be a rest day. What is with the number six? And enough already! I’m getting the dang message.
I went through the six signs and did an assessment. Those six signs are:
- Pain that won’t let up. (Nope. Don’t have that one)
- Your resting heart rate is higher than usual. (Okay, yeah. So?)
- Your runs feel lousy. (Just Saturday’s. And again, so?)
- You’re sleep deprived. (Well, yeah. But I taught a dang workshop and had a final and have deadlines. You try to sleep with all of that going on.)
- You’re stressed out. (See above.)
- You’re not feeling yourself. (I am too! I’m always grumpy, sarcastic, and defensive. Always. So bug off.)
Okay. Okay. I’m getting the message. I need some rest.
But I applied these six things to the writing and the deadlines and found they only apply this way. I need more sleep. I’m not feeling stressed about finishing the book. I want to. I’m not even stressed about the other deadlines.
Plus…naps are possible during writing times.
So, yes. I need rest. I need to consume some storytelling in the form of novels and shows and movies. I am (obviously) no good at doing nothing.
But I am good at naps, and my cat Gavin is a great assistant on that part.
Plus, I have nothing scheduled for the next two weeks. (That’s totally weird.) I can go to Pilates if I want to. I can skip it if I need to. Hmmm.
And I need to get rid of this dang cough, which can’t be done actively (according to WebMD and its online friends). It must be done passively.
Okay, then, subconscious and blogs and articles and “experts.” Message received.
It’s time to rest and do things that recharge me.
And to realize that I had a heck of a busy spring. I suspect those “experts” would have told me that one day was not enough recovery time.
I really do prefer to be superhuman.
Even though I’m not.
“Business Musings: Rest,” copyright © 2023 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © 2023 by Kristine K. Rusch.