from walking to running for health

my entire family just had a bout with some major virally and bacterially transmitted diseases this previous month, except for me. what kept me from catching their viruses i have yet to confirm.

This year we experience our second rainy season in Los Banos. Here in the Philippines, rainy season is also flu season, dengue season, typhoid season, and the season for almost every other common disease you can think of. Unfortunately we failed to keep track of that, barely a year ago, it was about this same period when the kids started getting sick left and right. And then this year it was the same trend, still we were unprepared.

It started with Uri getting fever that lasted 2 days just when the monsoon rains started getting hard. Then Turo and Ari both had fever the day after Uri got well. After chilly nights and splitting headaches, Turo went in for a blood test and we learned it was Typhoid fever. Typhoid is bacterially transmitted from the feces of an infected organism to contaminated water or food. We were not able to confirm the actual cause but we presume it was from either drinking water, being exposed to flood water, food we bought from outside, or pests lurking near where we live. Regardless of the cause, Turo was treated immediately.

And almost as immediately, we sent the children to my parents’ for a week, and to Turo’s parents’ the following week because we didn’t want to risk them getting infected as well. Uri received an anti-typhoid vaccine around this time. But Ari, who still had fever had his blood tested, twice. Thankfully, dengue or any other threatening disease had been ruled out after the second CBC showed that his blood levels have gone back to normal.

And as if this situation hadn’t been going on for long enough, Uri had a second cycle of fevers the following week, and was diagnosed with gingivitis, his gums bleeding and his mouth sore in too many places at once. At about the same time that his fevers stopped, Ari again had his second cycle of feverish nights, this time due to tonsilitis.

All of these happened within a span of one month. My children missed their classes for an entire month. I skipped work for at least two weeks. Turo had to recover for at least two weeks as well. We had nothing but viruses circulating inside our house. Worst of all, I sent our househelp on vacation at just about this time. So it was practically I who did all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, disinfecting, keeping track of taking medicines, and tending to everybody sick in my household the entire time. At the same time I was trying to meet work deadlines in between all the housework.

It was one tough test of motherhood. But you know what, I was able to do all of these things just when I needed to do them. And I didn’t get sick or too tired from doing all of them. It was exhausting, really, but certainly a good kind of exhaustion that I’d be willing to go through again if situations require.

I certainly would like to think that I’d reached a point that I am at the healthiest, fittest, most energetic state that I’ve ever been. I owe this to eating well, more discriminating food choices, taking effort to find food sources and constant exercise. To be honest, the word exercise did not exist in my vocabulary until two years ago when my son practically dragged me to burn some extra calories (see story here). Since then, and because my children turned out to be very active little boys, physical activity has made its way into my sedentary lifestyle.

Moving to Los Banos was one of the triggers for our healthy, happy lifestyle. Walking is a way of life in this town. There is no way you can exist in this community if you find much comfort at the back of a steering wheel. So from being a quick-drive-to-the-office-type, I am suddenly a walk-30mins-a-day-to-the-office-type of person. I truly enjoy walking to work. It clears my mind of domestic matters and contributes to my increased productivity in the workplace.

Because of the recent health-related turn of events in our household, however, I decided I needed to step up my regular physical activity a notch higher. I swore I am going to be healthier, fitter and stronger than I now already am. And this comes alongside a realization that I am getting older, and my body is no longer as efficient as it used to be.

This morning I started Day 1 of my self-imposed running training. I thought it would be easy to transition from walking to running, considering that I walk at least 30 minutes each day. You guessed it, it wasn’t. At all. I was supposed to do a 60 second walk-60 second jog cycle for at least 20 minutes. Before I was even on the 15-minute mark, I felt myself turning pale from lack of oxygen. It wasn’t as easy as I thought, but I was glad I gave it a try. And I vow to continue on with this self-designed training for as long as I can still run.

Today I covered 1.5 kilometers in 15 minutes. And I still have enough energy left to cook and go to work. I am so going to do this until my nth kilometer. Cheer me on!

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