I had a headache yesterday evening, and briefly debated either skipping my run, or taking some Tylenol and powering through. Then I remembered that I had recently picked up a natural headache remedy in the form of a peppermint oil stick. Couldn’t hurt to try, right? Right?!!!!
The instructions said to simply rub the oily mixture into temples, forehead and back of the neck. I did so, and was quite generous about it since I was hoping for some immediate results. I smelled wonderful, and the mild tingling I felt on my skin was actually quite pleasant. I had no idea how short lived this enjoyment would be.
I hopped on the treadmill and started off with a short warm up. My headache was fading and I was feeling psyched. I picked up the pace, cranked up the tunes and began to run. My body felt great, so I pushed even harder; a decision I now regret.
I started to sweat. Tiny drops of lava gathered along my hairline and slowly burned their way down my face. My forehead caught fire first, followed closely by my temples, and then the back of my neck began to melt. That lovely tingling feeling I had felt earlier had morphed into a giant fireball of pain. My eyes began to burn as I flailed around wildly, trying desperately not to fall off of what had now become The Treadmill of Terror.
In a final attempt to salvage what was left of my run, I ripped off my shirt and began to scrub my misery away. It was enough to bring the burning down to a manageable scald, so I carried on. I ran in spite of my suffering, or perhaps because of it. I am, after all, a survivor.