Summer 2020 Part 1: River, Running, and Ticks

You may have noticed that getting River basically signaled the end of our writing. This is pretty representative of what our summer was like. Essentially, we have been spending all of our free time with the dog and when we do get some time to ourselves it is primarily spent not moving and being thankful for a break.

Britt and I are very fortunate to be working full time from home due to the pandemic. This is unlikely to change much until next summer or fall, as the University of Minnesota isn’t forcing anyone back who is able to do their jobs from home. As River has become progressively lower maintenance and we have grown more accustomed to our new lifestyle, conscious effort is being taken to reintroduce hobbies and self-care into our schedule.

For me, this means running and photography.

My running had mildly dropped off when my planned marathon was cancelled but I was still planning on ramping up my intensity and distance as fall approached. This was halted before it even began when I developed a headache and body chills. My symptoms presented just like COVID but the 3rd party test I got at CVS meant I would have to sit around for about a week with a splitting headache and a raging fever of nearly 104 degrees with no real answer about what was going on. Eventually my neck ache was enough of a concern to my doctor that she sent me to the ER to get checked for Meningitis.

At the ER, they immediately dispelled concerns about Meningitis but they were also able to give me another COVID test that came back within 24 hours as negative (I had to wait several more days to get this good news from the original test I took). The test that DID come back positive was for Lyme Disease.

I always expected to get Lyme when we moved to Minnesota, but I surprisingly never really encountered ticks until we got River. Our first trip up north after getting our new furry companion led to TEN ticks; seven we found on her and the rest were one me. So, the fact that I had Lyme wasn’t exactly a shock, but the timing was very unfortunate because the symptoms are almost identical to COVID 19. If I hadn’t had such extreme body aches that I was sent to the ER, I could’ve suffered through another week just assuming no treatment existed until I finally got my negative test back.

Once I had a diagnosis, mild antibiotics cleared up the symptoms within a couple days. By this time, however, I had completely stopped running for weeks and, without an upcoming race, motivation was hard to come by for a return to form. I am an instinctively lazy person, so it takes a huge amount of willpower to get me off the couch if nobody else is involved.

River makes an excellent recovery nurse… Or maybe she just felt guilty for sharing her ticks.

As of this writing, I have gone on 5 runs over the past week, so I am finally on track to build my running back after only running intermittently for the past few months. This is nothing compared to the recovery I went through in January, but it’s still annoying. I will be back up to distance and speed soon, but I guess I am just glad this illness didn’t happen when I was actually preparing for my first marathon as I had planned to be doing right now. Also, while we thought otherwise, I am very grateful that the precautions Britt and I have taken throughout the pandemic have so far paid off and we have both stayed healthy.


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