A Bug, A Silver Lining and a Smile – What a Week!

When I woke up a week ago Sunday morning, I already felt a little off.  I figured it was from the previous night’s dinner when I succumbed to my pizza craving and dined at my local favorite pizza joint.  I should have known my workout wasn’t going to be a good one when I realized I forgot my Clif Shots as I was on my way to the running trail.  Luckily there’s a sporting goods store nearby so I ran over and picked up a couple of GU shots.  And then I was off and running…well I was sort of off and running.  I still wasn’t feeling great and by mile two I realized my upset stomach was determined to take over.  But my body should know by now that I only push myself harder when I begin to struggle.  And as rough and ugly as it was I managed to complete my entire run.  I kept telling myself just get through this and then I’ll decide if I can complete my assigned ride as well.  Well after the run my stomach felt even worse.  After taking a short break I felt somewhat better, so I told myself to just get on the bike and go for as long as I can.  It’s an easy ride; just shake out the legs.  Once on the bike I focused on keeping the legs moving.  I managed to complete my entire workout, albeit slowly and sloppily.  However afterwards I found myself with nausea on the couch where I pretty much stayed for the next two days.   By mid-day Monday, I realized that while I didn’t eat very well that Saturday night, I was dealing with something a little bit more serious; I picked up a bug from somewhere.

So, looking back, I admit I was guilty with doing exactly what Ilene and I discussed – ignoring my body’s signs.  I should have stopped at mile two.  I definitely should not have continued with the cycling session.  Shame on me!  However once I landed on my couch that Sunday I did start to listen to my body.  I guess I cheated a bit because Monday was an official recovery day so taking that day off was a no brainer.  But as upsetting as it was I did take all of Tuesday off as well.

Being sick stinks.  I really tried to maintain a positive attitude during this time.  I tried to not worry about how this will impact my training and ultimate race goals. I tried to distract myself by reading and watching videos on TED, PBS and Netflix.  But lying down for two days allows the mind to wander.  I found myself riding a very intense emotional roller coaster.  I missed Noah a lot.  I felt guilty, sad and at times even sorry for myself.  If I can’t train and be ready for my races then I’m a failure, right?  I was disappointed in myself for not training.  Noah dealt with major GI issues and much more pain and significantly more serious challenges than this and yet I can’t handle a little bug?  On the flip side I found myself thankful that it’s just a bug and nothing else.  Thank goodness I didn’t pass out on the trail or during my ride.  And I’m glad I experienced this earlier in my training and not right before a race.  I even managed to find a silver lining:  I ran eight miles and biked 15 while my stomach was wreaking havoc!   I’ve heard of athletes encountering major GI issues on race day.  Sometimes these issues force the athlete to slow down or even worse end up in the ER.  I now know what it feels like to endure such a problem.  I’d like to think I learned from this experience and I’ll handle it differently next time.

I felt a lot better by Wednesday.  Trying to find a balance between pushing myself and respecting my body, I opted to go on a very short, slow run (instead of my assigned swimming and speed work).  I felt even better on Thursday, so I completed my assigned workout.  I did maintain some discipline by holding back a bit though.  And by Friday I felt like I could resume my training in full force.

Being able to fully train again is wonderful!  During both of my long workouts this past Saturday and Sunday I felt reinvigorated.  During Saturday’s hilly 35 mile ride and two-mile run, I actually felt genuinely happy!  Chrissie Wellington is known for her big smiles during her races.  Well, I felt like her when I ran.  I was in a zone and found myself smiling to the very end.  Then on Sunday as I ran outside in 44 degree weather for nine miles I found myself in that same zone.

What a week!

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