Covid and Running

After 2+ years of avoiding Covid, it caught up with me.  Not at an opportune time (if there ever is one!) as we were in Boston for the week to do a variety of things and had to high tail it back to Vermont, leaving Covid in our wake with two of our friends.

My symptoms included a pretty deep cough.  Perhaps because I had been vaccinated and boosted, within five days most symptoms were gone.  But it did set me back. This was two days after running the National Masters 10K race in Dedham MA and to be honest I felt a little tanked then.  So, after walking easy for several days I began running 3 miles, then 4, then 5.  All very easy, though none of it felt that good and I was as tired as if having done a tempo run.  Nevertheless, I pressed on, and the following week picked up the pace and distance.  All clear?

Maybe not!  10 days post symptoms I did my first track workout.  All seemed fine, ran pretty good splits, and I was thinking of running a local five-mile race on the weekend to test my fitness.  After stretching and doing some weights at the UVM gym, I walked back to my car.  I was wobbly – not a good feeling.  I sat down to let things settle and realized I could not hear anything in my left ear.  I’ve had ear wax buildup over the years resulting in muted sound before getting cleared out.  But this was entirely different – nothing!  And, of course, it affected my balance.

Much is being learned about Covid.  And it’s entirely possible this sudden loss is not related.  But it certainly seems circumstantial.  The ear specialist prescribed prednisone in case the cause is inflammation.  At this point it’s a process of elimination.  But after eight days still no return of any hearing.  Now I’m hearing (with one ear!) many stories from people who have had sudden hearing loss.  Many, if not most get their hearing back, at least partially.  Hope springs eternal but time will tell.  I’m finding it’s best to focus on what I do have, rather than what I don’t.  And interestingly, I’m finding in this short while becoming a more intent listener!

Meanwhile, I’m taking it pretty easy on the running front.  Going out for four or five miles most days – once again at an easy pace.  Races I’m registered for in June (half marathon and 10K) are not going to happen!  Until this is resolved, I do not want to risk losing hearing in my other ear!     

If I had it to do over, would I have been less intent on preparing for these races and allowed a couple more weeks to pass before pushing it.  Of course!  But us inveterate runners seem to think we can outrun any kind of malady.  And that may be true for the most things.  But the longer-term effects of Covid are unknown and no doubt depend on such things as the Covid strain we’ve been afflicted with and our individual immune system’s response.  Who is to know?  In any event, my takeaway is that even if we’re careful, Covid is lurking.  And while I don’t fear fatal effects from the virus, it’s safe to say I have greater respect for it and will be more wary about diving back into full activity. Tough way to learn, though!  

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