First things first:
There is a massive Smashfest Queen sale going on RIGHT NOW! Today (6/28) is the last day of this event where you can use code AGODESKYFRIEND to get 20% off (Excluding current warehouse items). Look fast, race fast. Obvi. (oh, and apparently size medium fits 58 pound puppies. Just FYI!)
Good news folks: whatever it was that seemed to infect me earlier in June is officially gone!
After Raleigh, I did in fact feel like…..crap. Nothing felt terribly awful, and yet everything just felt slightly wrong. It was as if a switch had flipped, and overnight I lost my entire ability to be an athlete. I could still function as a human being (whew), but doing anything hard athletically went out the window. Which is kind of a problem in my profession.
I went to my doctor and we went through the gamut, but nothing came up. A variety of physical symptoms were present, but nothing super clear, and all bloodwork was okay. In essence, I wasn’t fine, but I wasn’t dying of anything that we could pinpoint as obvious.
So, that was the good news. The bad news is that the prescription was rest, and waiting. Sure he could have pumped me with some things that “might” have helped, but without knowing exactly what was going on I didn’t want to mask anything with medication.
I was actually swimming decently still so I kept that, but the rest of my program went off the deep end. Hillary did a great job keeping me distracted so I didn’t really notice exactly how much time was passing as we waited. And waited.
Being an athlete (well, probably just being a human actually), when something is wrong, you want tangibles. You want to KNOW so at least you can be doing something to fix it. What is wrong? What are the things I do to fix it? What’s the time frame? Typically, on any given day you spend 2-8 hours thinking about your body and how it feels. When it feels so bad that you can’t do most anything you’re used to, it’s easy for your mind get a little crazy.
And for a while my mind did drift to those crazy places: I’m going to have to retire. I’m never going to get to podium. I’m never going to race again. I am sure I have a crazy disease they haven’t detected yet. I probably have West Nile. Maybe Zika. I’m never traveling out of the country again, I’m tired and overtrained from the jet lag.
But eventually, I got tired of the worrying. So, I turned to denial. OF COURSE I’ll be okay soon. So I booked all my travel and accommodation for IM Canada and IM Copenhagen (YAY!) because I’d be racing there come hell or high water!
And I kept waiting. I waited for 17 days. I even missed my birthday smashfest activities because I couldn’t run or ride hard to save my life. I doubled up my Sound Probiotic dosage and did everything I could to stay hydrated and flush this sucker out. Then, I woke up one morning, and it was as if the altitude tent I was living in had suddenly popped. I wasn’t 100%, but I felt like finally, a step in the right direction. Same with day 18, and 19, and 20. And here I am day 25, and while I still feel a bit is lingering, I know I’m on the other side of it. As Hillary said when we discussed this: PTL! (Praise the lord! – you get quite good at acronyms working with Hillary).
Of course there is a silver lining to all of this: it gave me time to reflect. What if I DID really have to retire? Would that be okay? Would I be okay if something happened today and I could never race again? Could I move forward and be content with my rack of 4th place trophies?
On a high level, the answer was yes. At this point I can honestly say I have already done more than I really thought I would be able to 3.5 years ago. But at the same time, everything I’ve done in the last 3.5 years has also shown me how much more I can do. And so for that reason, it would be quite bittersweet. So, over the last few weeks I spent a lot of time looking at the things I’m doing and making changes to do them all a little bit better so I can accomplish more before my time in sport does end (hopefully not for a long time though!). Eating better. Sleeping more. Planning my weeks so I’m not running around like a crazy lady. Making the effort to do training sessions in the way they are intended – even if it means it’s a bit inconvenient.
So yeah….I’m back. And, moving forward smarter and stronger than I was a month ago!