For a couple of years after college, I lived and worked in the mountains of south-central Colorado at 9000 feet at a conference center. I had charge of a herd of 20 horses and a small staff of wranglers. We led rides into the mountains, and I teamed up with a rancher-friend to offer range rides to our guests in the valley. What I took from this period of my life was of course much deeper appreciation for thin air, but I also gained a deeper respect for my health. See, as a side job to my wrangering duties, I house sat for people with cool houses on the sides of mountains. I loved their animals and I always left their home a little better, cleaner, than they had left it. The compensation was generous. Even if it hadn’t been I just wasn’t into having wild parties while I had the place to myself; instead, I simply read their books. 

The house where I spent the most time had all of these health books. Like, the entire Bragg collection—google them if you’re unsure—that ran the gamut of how to breathe to how to fast to why you should consume apple cider vinegar (ACV) to cure anything. I thought had the breathing thing down and fasting sounded like a terrible idea so I started with ACV. Soon I was about as homeopathic as you get. I even overheard one of my wranglers on a trail ride tell my then fiancé now husband that he wanted to move out here and find his own homeopathic honey. I didn’t fire him. I took it as a compliment. To this day, I always use ACV in vinaigrettes or just take a shot of it when I feel a cold coming on. Not sure if it will cure absolutely anything but I am convinced that it’s one very easy way to help the body stay healthy. 

Running, I’m sure you know, can wear down the immune system. Through trial and error with various homeopathic remedies such as ACV, I have found a few other things that help to ward off the sniffles by boosting the immune system. For instance, two weeks before I ran my fastest IMT Des Moines half marathon, we were vacationing back in the same place in Colorado where I used to live. 

It was a glorious week; however, the whole time I could feel a cold coming on. Knowing that I had a goal race coming up, I worked hard at staying healthy. I kept hydrated. Extra important at altitude. I avoid sugar. Extra important all of the time! Interestingly, I also took an herbal supplement that I’ve found to be amazing on the immune system. I’m not a doctor. I’m not an herbalist or naturopath. I have no idea why it works but I am telling you that I have found that goldenseal root to have helped me avoid a cold many, many times. Do your own research. I’m just throwing it out there. I ended up keeping healthy and running my best half marathon to date. 

One last thing I have for you is not a food or an herbal supplement but a technique that you must try. I stumbled upon this after I developed a sinus infection that lasted 90 days. Not even kidding. I flew four times in one day: Granada-Madrid, Madrid-Amsterdam, Amsterdam-Atlanta and Atlanta-home. Never again. All of those extreme pressure changes sent all of who-knows-what up into the recesses of my brain or so it felt. It was May and by the end of summer, I finally got over it. What finally seemed to do the trick? Lymphatic drainage massage. No, you don’t need a massage therapist for this; just your fingers and about 45 seconds. You simply tap for a few seconds above your collarbone and then with light pressure from your fingers trace your sinuses all over your face from the center to out toward your ears and then your chin down your neck. I know it sounds absurd but this has saved me several times from getting sick. Look it up if you’re confused about what in the world I’m talking about and thank me later. 

We’re down to the last couple of weeks and nobody wants to get sick just before a big race. In addition to staying hydrated and avoiding sugar, you might do your own research on these three natural remedies. They are three of my go-to alternatives to, I don’t know, NyQuil? 

Thanks. I’ll stick to vinegar. 

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