I wrote the following entry a year ago and then decided not to publish it given the uncertainty over how COVID would affect everyone. I didn’t want to publish an entry talking about going to the swimming pool when it might have been safer to stay at home. It seems okay to publish it now as a way to look back at this time last year.
I am the last person who should be giving medical advice. Except maybe for Doctor Who, who’s neither a medical practitioner or a PHD, just a conman with a phonebox. Or perhaps Dr Hannibal Lecter, who’d eat you as soon as cure you. So, when I try to answer a medical question, can you still train with the coronavirus, I’m not being too serious…
Can you train with the coronavirus? If it was a cold or flu or a broken leg then, for most runners, the answer is “yes, just run it off!”.
Amateur athletes are notorious for training and racing while ill. We assume any cough or headache or Ebola virus is just a sign that the training is working. “Of course, I’m not well,” we say “I’ve been training!”.
But, yesterday, I went swimming and I thought: “Should I be here? Should I be in a swimming pool that’s a coronavirus cocktail of sweat and spit and whatever else has washed off the bodies of a thousands swimmers?”
And what about the changing room? Do I need a hazmat suit to change out of my birthday suit in a room filled with perspiring bodybuilders?
Or do I assume that this is no different to any other cold or flu or bug and live life normally until the government says otherwise?
It seems as if many have already started to panic. There are no toilet rolls or pasta on supermarket shelves. Personally, if I was stockpiling, I’d be stocking up chocolate biscuits and cake. Stuff fusilli pasta, if I’m coughing and hacking, I want a KitKat.
I don’t get the obsession with pasta either. After the virus started in China there were numerous people saying they wouldn’t eat Chinese food. Now the virus is in Italy, we’re eating Spaghetti Bolognese like our lives depended on it (literally). It seems we’re only suspicious of our food when it doesn’t come in a cheese sauce.
We’re also washing our hands for 20 seconds. The Government says you should sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice. I don’t think you need a song though – just wash your hands like you’ve just killed a man and don’t want to get caught. You don’t need soap to clean hands, just pretend you have a guilty conscience.
But, if water and soap is effective, then all you need to do if you want to swim in a swimming pool is pour some liquid soap in the pool. Turn it into a sink. That way 2000 metres will leave you cleaner than an hypochondriac throwing out his Kung Pow Chicken.
And, if you’re adding soap, then why not also add conditioner for your hair? I was told by a hairdresser that if you want to avoid damaging hair with chorine then apply some conditioner before you swim. Now, you’re not just training, you’re protecting yourself too. With all the soapy water, you’re immune from the coronavirus. And you have great looking hair.
However I’m not a Doctor and this is definitely not medical advice.
[Postscript – it turned out this was the last time I was in a swimming pool]