Editor's Note: This is a first-person account of a runner's experience of an illness that is believed to be the coronavirus and should not be interpreted as a guide to others. For the latest information, contact your local health department and trusted news agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the NHS, and the World Health Organization (WHO) ] regularly.
Like many other runners out there, I didn't think the corona virus would affect me until then.
The biggest impact of the pandemic on my life was initially to cancel the spring races for which I had registered. Apart from that, life remained a little the same. As a packaging engineer, I'm lucky enough to be able to work from my apartment in Lebanon in New Hampshire. From March 1
The next week I continued to train as usual. I was going to do the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler and the Brooklyn Half Marathon. For the first three weeks of March, I ran between 60 and 65 miles a week. This was the same mileage I did before the California International Marathon last December (I ended the race with a PR of 2:52:51). The only difference I made in 2020 was adding more hills to my runs, which made them more difficult than usual. Looking back now, I may have been working a little too hard in early March, which may have contributed to my overall fatigue and weakened my immune system.
Around 8 p.m. I felt sick on Sunday, March 22nd. I had just finished dinner when my throat felt sore as if something had gotten stuck in it. I assumed that I had just had dinner too quickly and had indigestion. The next morning I woke up to a scratchy throat and felt extremely tired. I usually take days off on Mondays anyway, so I didn't run and relaxed at home because I thought it would wane by Tuesday. But the next day my sore throat and tiredness were worse and I started to cough and felt sick.
At this point, on March 24th, I decided to stop walking for a while to focus on healing. Under normal circumstances, I would probably have walked through my illness, but I was very aware of how serious the coronavirus is from what I had read on the news, and I also felt that there was really no point in being hard on it train when races have been canceled for the time being.
After five days of rest at home, things got worse. After lunch on March 27th, my chest contracted and it became very difficult to breathe; It felt like I was living high up. I checked the symptoms of the coronavirus and found that I had most of them: coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, body pain, sore throat, nausea, loss of taste and smell, and fatigue. The only symptom I didn't have was fever.
Unfortunately I could not test the virus because I did not meet the New Hampshire test criteria. When I called the screening hotline, I was told that I could not be tested unless I was a healthcare worker, contacted a confirmed coronavirus case, or was hospitalized.
I spent the week on the couch from March 27th to April 3rd. Since my chest tightened for the first time on March 27th, it never subsided, making it difficult to take a deep breath. I remember eating scrambled eggs and toast on March 29th, and gasping for 30 minutes afterwards. At that point, I felt terminally ill, but I still didn't need a hospital bed. I called my doctor on April 2nd and received a prescription for an inhaler that made my breathing much easier.
Although the stubborn runner in me wanted to run during this week, any exercise was out of the question because I barely had the energy to get up to cook and get dressed. Along with shortness of breath, cough, sore throat and nausea also continued, which made it really difficult to talk to people on the phone. Because I live alone, it was a pretty lonely and scary time.
Fortunately, I was able to distract myself a bit during this terrible time with Netflix and video games. I love trashy television, so I watched Love is Blind . I also played Call of Duty with my friends, which helped me to feel less isolated.
On April 6, I started to feel better, more than two weeks after I had my earliest symptom. My chest had loosened up a bit and I had more energy. I was still careful to run again and decided to run until the following Saturday, April 11th. That day, I ran at 8:00 a.m. for 20 minutes. I felt like I was dying, but then again, I hadn't run for about three weeks. Later in the afternoon I felt that I had completed my hardest training that morning. I was totally wiped out.
The next day I tried to run again, this time slower on the flattest loop I knew. I ran 20 minutes at 8:50 pace and felt a little better. I had no difficulty breathing during the run. Nevertheless, like the day before, I was knocked out later in the afternoon. I felt the same type of nausea and fatigue as after a marathon. My legs seemed to be functioning normally, but my lungs couldn't keep up.
After two more weeks with easing and flowing symptoms, I finally started to walk a bit normally. From April 23 to 27, I ran 20 minutes every day. I was nominated for a virtual 5km race by one of my friends, so I clocked one in 26 minutes, which felt so difficult. (For comparison, I ran 17:31 at BAA 5K 2017).
From April 29th I. I started to feel more like myself. I appreciate every run I do, even if it's not the same as before. My big goal this summer is to break 5:00 a mile, which for me would be a PR of five seconds. I have many friends who told me that if I pause at 5:00 a.m., they would donate a certain amount of money to Coronavirus relief funds. So I agreed to add up to $ 800 to each donation.
I look forward to regaining strength on the track – and training my lungs to breathe better. I know my lungs are still reaching their full capacity, but I have no idea how damaged they are. As a runner, that's one of the scariest parts of it all: I don't know how long it will take me to recover.
This experience has taught me not to take my health for granted. Although older people are at higher risk of developing a serious coronavirus disease, young, healthy people can still be at risk, especially those with underlying health conditions. The problem is that you may not know that you have an underlying problem. For example, I have a common heart condition called minor regurgitation or leaky heart valves. There is a possibility that my condition was worse due to this condition, but nobody knows exactly.
So, for all runners like me who believe that their robust fitness makes them immune to the corona virus, don't let your guard down. Be sure to stay healthy and remember that relaxing now is not a bad thing.
The information in this story is correct at the time of publication. As we try to keep our content as current as possible, the situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic continues to develop rapidly, so some information and recommendations may have changed since its release. For concerns and current advice, visit the World Health Organization . If you are in the UK, the National Health Service can also provide useful information and support, while US users can contact the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.