“I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Fannie Lou Hamer
I wish I could say everything was going according to plan. That after my awesome 15-mile run last Friday, I was able to resume my original training plan and find my pre-half-ironman strength. But, alas, it hasn't been as simple.
Sunday, we planned on doing an awesome Olympic distance triathlon in La Quinta(http://www.kleinclarksports.com/deserttriathion.html). I was really looking forward to it. I was going to use it as a gentle workout, knowing I had run long on Friday and been under the weather previously.
We drove up to Palm Springs on Saturday and picked up our registration packet. Drove to the race site and walked around the gorgeous park. Such a beautiful venue. Clean, calm lake for the swim. Flat, pleasant bike ride around lots of resorts and gardens and golf clubs. Nice, easy run around the lake. Seemed like such a great place for a race.
Checked into our hotel. I stretched my sore muscles religiously and laid out all my race clothes. Woke up at 4:30 on Sunday. Didn't feel so hot. Pushed that thought aside and continued getting ready for the race. Ate breakfast, drove to the race site, laid out my transition area, got body-marked. Ignored the stabbing pain in my head that was ebbing into nausea. Downed some Sudafed and Tylenol. A worried little voice in the back of my head protested. "It's not good if you have to race after taking all those drugs. Hard on your liver. Predispose you to hyponatremia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyponatremia)." I continued to push these thoughts aside. "I'll feel better once we start." Still I couldn't help but feel worried that my body felt tired and my head felt like it was in a cloud. I was dizzy, tired, congested, and had a terrible, pounding headache that was pushing on a migraine.
I got in the water and "warmed" up. Only I couldn't warm up, even though the water was a balmy 65 and I had my wetsuit on. I had been fine in 60 degree water in Oceanside a few weeks ago. Still, I thought I'd feel better once the gun went off. Waited at the back of my wave. The gun went off. I was in a daze. It didn't feel like a race to me. I kept trying to picture how it would feel to bike and run but I couldn't wrap my head around it. I started swimming. The stabbing pain in my head got worse. Tried a few more strokes. Nothing. Dismally, I stopped, turned around, and headed to shore.
I dejectedly handed in my chip, peeled off my wetsuit, gathered my things and headed towards the car. I have never quit like this before. I've been depressed all week. I know I quit for the right reasons. I know I was/am sick and racing would have made me much worse. Still. I really wanted to do it. My body just wasn't up for it.
Jason drove us home. I slept the entire 2 hours in the car with my mouth hanging agape and my head flopped back and to the side. Dragged myself to bed without even showering once we got home and slept another 3 hours. Woke up to shower and eat and then went back to bed for another 10 hours.
Tuesday, I went back to the doctor for a second time. By now, I've been sick for 6 weeks, including 2 weeks before the half-ironman. I'm dizzy and exhausted and feel like I'm in a fog. I'm completely congested and can't even blow my nose. Allergy meds did nothing and neither did 10 days of antibiotics. He sent me over for a CAT scan. Pretty cool. Called me this morning and said I was severely blocked in all of my sinuses. (CAT scan image to right is not mine but example of another patient with blocked sinuses). I'm now going back on the antibiotics but for much longer--3 or 4 weeks. Ugh. I hate the side effects of the antibiotics. But I hate being sick more.
I know dropping out of the race was the right thing to do. Basically, I think I had a cold going into the half-ironman and the extreme conditions of the race pushed it into a sinus infection. Afterwards, deep fatigue from the half-ironman combined with marathon training has not allowed the sinus infection to be defeated. I thought a week of rest after the HIM would be sufficient. Apparently, it wasn't. After the first week, I took the 2nd week very conservatively, only running twice and doing weights once. Last week (the 3rd week), I tried a little more, running twice, weights once, swimming once, and biking twice. This is still very conservative compared with the volume I felt comfortable with during the HIM training. But it felt too much last week. Basically, I feel overtrained with minimal training right now, probably from the infection and deep fatigue from the HIM.
I'm having a much harder time bouncing back than I thought I would. Boy, I feel like a weakling! I can't believe how much it took out of me! Regardless of how I wish I felt, I have to listen to my body (new nickname: The Boss). I have to stop judging myself for how I feel and just accept my body for what it is and then take care of it. Okay.
A. I'm sick and need to get better.
B. I want to do the marathon in 6 weeks (my doctor said it would be okay if I trained conservatively--he's manning the med tent at mile 25; very cool! I love my doc!)
C. I can only withstand minimal trainig right now without making myself sicker.
D. I need lots of rest and good nutrition.
Based on these needs, I've decided to only focus on running and weights until the marathon is over since I'm afraid my body can't handle much else. If I start feeling a lot better later on, I can always add back more. But for right now, I'm going to let my swimming and biking slip and hope it will come back quickly when I pick it up again after the marathon. Sigh. It's so hard to relinquish any fitness but I think it's what I have to do. So I'm going to try running 3x/week and doing weights 2x/week along with daily stretching. I'm going to start there and see what happens. 2 small runs (4-6 miles) and 1 long weekend run. When I start to feel better, I'll slowly add back the biking and swimming--swimming first since it's easier on the body. I would like to be able to handle 2x/week biking, swimming, weights and 3x/week running but this is overly-ambitious right now. On the plus side, running should help loosen up my sinuses. I hope the Boss will approve of my new plan.