Germis (TM) for the Dermis
by, June 2nd, 2009 at 01:14 PM (4036 Views)
First, a quick recap of the attempt to exercise every day without a break for a month. The numbers refer to yards in the pool; weight and tennis refer to Nautilus circuits and either doubles or singles or both, for a minimum of 2 hours (though it's usually 3 hours 15 minutes, and on Sunday it was 4 hours).
Here are where we are so far. If it doesn't rain, and I play tennis today, I will have technically satisfied my self-imposed challenge, having made a continuous month without a break, the month being a non-leap year February's 28 days.
- 3150 sickish
- 500 weights
- 525 tennis
- tennis if it doesn't rain?
I began this quest by accident. After Colony Zones, I came home, swam the Monday practice, but by Wednesday was too sick too move. I didn't return to any form of exercise whatsoever until the following Wed., May 6th (note the adjective "sickish" above.)
Leslie had by then convinced me to try weight lifting, plus tennis season was upon us, and my self-disgust was so high after 9 days of being a lallygagging layabout slugabed that I decided to try to catch up by exercising everyday for a while. After 11 days, I recognized I was on a streak.
I continued onwards, almost like when I quit drinking: each new day of sobriety (or, in this case, abstinence from slugabedding) only inspiring me to keep it up.
All went well until last week. On Thursday, my throat was sore, my lungs filled with sputum, and my muscles achy. I'd arranged to play singles at the high school with my friend John Delaney at 4:30. At 3, I fell asleep on the couch. At 3:30, I woke briefly to the sound of thunder, realized tennis would be canceled, told myself I could weight lift instead, fell back asleep.
John called me at 4:15, waking me again, and asking if we were still on for tennis. I told him it had rained and the courts were drenched. He told me it hadn't rained where he lived, five miles away, and the high school courts were bone dry.
I met him at the courts and played for 3 hours 15 minutes, and actually played the best I had all year, despite sickness.
The next day, I felt much, much worse, and was ready to skip practice, but the streak wouldn't permit it.
I went and swam slow. But Bill got me to race him on the fast push-off 100 (he'd just done a 1:57 on the fast push-off 200). I did a 59; he did a 52.9.
Then, on the fast push-off 50, he did butterfly, which forced me to try. He did a 27 flat. I did a high 26 for freestyle.
Saturday, I woke up at noon, feeling awful. I forced myself to go do Nautilus, came home, went back to sleep, spent the rest of the day watching True Blood reruns and the French Open.
Sunday, I played tennis for four hours, which was very fun, though my shoulder is a bit sore now. Yesterday, I swam our "distance" practice:
600 warm up
8 x 100 on 1:20
6 x 50 kick
4 x 500 descend
200 warm down
I am a wreck today, and it's threatening to rain, but I am absolutely committed to playing tennis or doing Nautilus to keep the streak alive.
Could this be my cure?
Regular readers of this vlog may have noticed that I am sickly.
Some have suggested hypochondria, the "some" here being pretty much everybody I have ever met since sliding out the abdominal C-section of my beloved mother in 1952.
Finally, the reason for my regular bouts of illness have become clear. I refer your attention to a recent AP story, some of which I shall excerpt here for your edification:
Scientists find bacterial zoo thrives in our skin
May 28, 4:25 PM (ET)
By LAURAN NEERGAARD
WASHINGTON (AP) - Eeeww. There's a zoo full of critters living on your skin - a bacterial zoo, that is. Consider your underarm a rain forest. Healthy skin is home to a much wider variety of bacteria than scientists ever knew, says the first big census of our co-inhabitants. And that's not a bad thing, said genetics specialist Julia Segre of the National Institutes of Health, who led the research.
Sure they make your sneakers stinky, "but they also keep your skin moist and make sure if you get a wound that (dangerous) bacteria don't enter your bloodstream," she said. "We take a lot for granted in terms of how much they contribute to our health."
The skin research, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, is part of that project. Scientists decoded the genes of 112,000 bacteria in samples taken from a mere 20 spots on the skin of 10 people. Those numbers translated into roughly 1,000 strains, or species, of bacteria, Segre said, hundreds more than ever have been found on skin largely because the project used newer genetic techniques to locate them.
Topography matters, a lot, the researchers reported. If a moist, hairy underarm is like a rain forest, the dry inside of the forearm is a desert. They harbor distinctly different bacteria suited to those distinctly different environments. In fact, the bacteria under two unrelated people's underarms are more similar than the bacteria that lives on one person's underarm and forearm.
Mom's advice to wash behind your ears notwithstanding, that spot contained the least diverse bacteria - 19 species on average. The most diverse spot: the forearm, which averaged 44 species....
... Segre hopes knowing there are so many bacteria alters how people think about the relationship.
"I'm a mother of two small children; I believe very strongly in sanitation, washing your hands," Segre said. But, "we have to understand that we live in harmony with bacteria and they are part of us as super-organisms ... and not just conceive of bacteria as bad and germs and smelly."
You may suspect I am joking here, but I am not: swimming, I am convinced, is what is making me sick. (It's also making me healthy, and I don't plan to stop, but the sick-inducement part of it needs some sort of remedy. More on this in a moment.)
Actually, it isn't swimming per se that makes me sick, but regular immersion in the chlorinated water. The delicate ecosystem of my germ-riddled skin is being thrown out of whack by the germ-killing powers of chlorine, allowing evil flora and fauna to attack me once the protective flora and fauna have been felled.
For years, I have not "needed" to use soap or deodorant provided I swim every other day. To me, it seems impossible to believe that any dirt can survive on a body that thrashes about in water for 1.5 hours at a time. At this point, soap only dries out the skin and makes me itch. Good riddance.
(Note: I have also avoided brushing my teeth for decades, fearing I might tamper with the delicate ecology of my mouth, but that's a different story and the topic of a future vlog.)
But it looks like a complete lack of hygiene is not enough to keep me healthy. I need some way to re-infect myself with skin germs post-practice.
You know those new types of yogurts that supposedly add "probiotics" to your digestive tract? Probiotics is a code word for health germs.
I need a skin moisturizer containing all sorts of probiotics--a witch's brew of thriving bacteria evolved to live on my skin and protect me after practice. Perhaps I could trademark such a product myself:
Germis (TM) --for whenever you are too clean for your own good: Germis for the Dermis!
Alas, I will need seed money to pioneer Germis for the Dermis, which I imagine at this point will be a dirt-covered slathering salve filled with all manner of healthful E. coli and other strains we need to feel our best and smell our worst!
Until then, I must come up with another solution.
Along these lines, are there any filthy women out there that would be willing to give me a full body rub down apres workout to restore to my skin the pestilence I need to stay healthy?
It's 1 o'clock--only three and a half hours to tennis...
If there's one good thing about land sports in the summer, they do keep your skin nice and germ-riddled, provided, that is, you can resist the urge to shower afterward.
Alas, if you can't resist such an urge, I urge you to slather yourself dun-colored with Germis for the Dermis (when it becomes available)--and until then, find a filthy member of the sex you are oriented towards and try to coax a germ exchange pronto.