Huh? It’s September? (sigh) Bitter-sweet. This summer has rocked so I’m definitely bummed for it to be coming to a close. However, I love all things fall and am getting pretty sick of my wardrobe. Plus, it’s officially racing season! Let the games begin.
Also coming in with the new season is my absolutely insane travel schedule for September. This month, Tour-de-Kate will be coming to a city near you, including:
Philadelphia (obv), Pittsburgh, Boston, Manchester NH, San Diego, Las Vegas (baby!), Baltimore, Edison, NJ (meh), and Washington, DC.
Did I mention I’m racing a half marathon somewhere in there?
I am not complaining. I love it. I love traveling, I love running, and I love what I call “leading a full life.” I find myself getting antsy when I have nothing to do. Actually, my 2011 New Year’s Resolution was to “relax more,” which I definitely feel I’ve improved upon. My husband and family are always on me for having too full of a plate. However, when my schedule is full of things I enjoy doing – I see no problem with it, as long as I can keep up!
When I mapped out my travel and activity schedule for the month, the first thing I thought about was preventing sickness. You see, I don’t get sick. I don’t like being sick so I just don’t get sick. Simple, no? (knocking on wood…) I have even created a cold-prevention program that I follow self-entitled “Katie’s Plan to Wellness” which is implemented at the immediate sign of that “I think I’m coming down with something” feeling. The plan includes 3 steps:
1) Go to the gym and run 30 minutes on the treadmill HARD.
2) Take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C.
3) Take a hot shower, go to bed in sweatpants. Sleep 8 hours.
Works like a charm. You’re welcome.
Hoping I can avoid the aforementioned “I think I’m coming down with something” feeling altogether, I know I need to be hyper-aware of my health this month in order to keep up with… myself. And since I have the Philly RNR Half in 17 days (huh??) these tips will be practiced along with my steps to avoid injury:
Lots of healthy foods this month to maximize my immunity. This article from Livestrong.com suggests some foods that may help prevent sickness including deep colored fruits and veggies, yogurt, and legumes, all of which can boost the immune system.
Although I get tons of vitamins from the foods I eat on a daily basis, I decided to pump up my vitamin intake this month. Every time I fly, I take 1,000 mg of Vitamin C, to help boost the immune system. It is also suggested to increase levels of Vitamin D (also helps to increase immunity) as well as Zinc. Check out this article from the Harvard School of Public Health for more information on these vitamins and their benefits.
Some other supplements I take now and then include Melatonin and Lysine. Melatonin is a hormone that may help control sleep patterns. You see, I sleep terribly in hotels, especially when I’m alone or have an important meeting in the morning. And if I get two bad nights of sleep in a row, you can almost guarantee that I’ll get sick. I have tried Ambien before, but that stuff seriously freaked me out once when I started hallucinating while watching TV as I tried to fall asleep. My friend turned me onto this more natural alternative, Melatonin, that I only take when I need to. You can learn more about Melatonin here.
When I don’t sleep well, am super stressed, spend too much time in the sun, or actually do get sick, you can also guarantee that I’ll get a cold sore. Yup, I’m one of those unfortunate people that get cold sores about twice a year. My dentist actually suggested Lysine, which is an essential amino acid that can help prevent or reduce the duration of cold sores. My dentist also mentioned this can help to heal the dry, cracked corners of my mouth that seem to occur more frequently when I’m running a lot/becoming dehydrated.
(Note: Please do your research when considering taking supplements, vitamins, and multi-vitamins. Characteristics of vitamins such as fat-soluble versus water-soluble qualities effect amounts and frequencies in which they are safe to take. Also, combining certain vitamins with medications may cause adverse health reactions. As always, consult your doc!)
Cocktails / Hydration
Gotta cut back on the booze a bit. (wah, wah.) Hydrate or die.
I’m a total germ-o-phobe and I blame it on the two years we spent in NYC. Subway, subway, dirty, dirty subway. Anyways, I’m trying to become less of a germ-o-phobe, however, when I travel, I continue to pull out all the stops. I’ve read a lot about how hand sanitizer may actually be bad for you, but what’s a girl to do here? Airplanes are nasty. Almost as nasty as water parks. However, Burt’s Bees makes this convenient spray-on hand sanitizer. The label says its “all-natural antimicrobial formula combines Aloe, a moisturizer rich in Vitamins E, B, and C, and Witch Hazel Extract, a natural skin antiseptic, with Alcohol to kill harmful germs and reduce bacteria on hands.” So, I figured a natural alternative was a happy medium. Win.
Sometimes when I have too much going on, I come home and am a legitimate psychopath. I started meditating about a year ago when I had to deal with a daily horrendous hour-long commute home from work that left me angry, drained, and… psycho. Sitting in quiet, by myself, for just 15 minutes allowed me to become a sane person again, ready to enjoy making dinner and a glass of wine with my husband. I find myself being much less stressed these days now that we live in the city and my “commute” is now a breezy 10 minute bike ride. Nonetheless, some alone time is still necessary now and then. Meditation can be very different for many people; I don’t believe you necessarily need to be at a Zen Buddhist temple to achieve your meditation objectives. (Although I totally have a mini Buddha statue and incense – what can I tell you – it’s my former hippie self trying to come through.) Just sitting alone with some quiet music or enjoying a walk outdoors are both effective types of meditation.
Sleep must come as a priority. Like I mentioned earlier, if I don’t sleep well for more than 2 nights in a row, I’ll get sick. Sleep is our body’s means of rejuvenation. This article from WebMD indicates that during sleep stages, “the body repairs and regenerates tissues, builds bone and muscle, and appears to strengthen the immune system.” I have never been the best sleeper, but during this month I’m going to do whatever I can to ensure I’m getting my rest.
Okay, friends: Any other suggestions to avoid sickness?? Do you supplement your diet with vitamins? Do you ever meditate?
Have a great Labor Day weekend!