Writing Again and Reassessing Goals

It’s been a while since I’ve written in either of my blogs – there’s been a lot going on in life… So I apologise to my dedicated fans – of which I know there are at least two (thanks Mum and Dad), and will endeavour to make up for it and write of all my adventures since January soon.
But let’s start in the here and now: today I am just a few days out from my first half ironman event: Austria 70.3.

I race on Sunday. In general, training went well over the last few months. My new bike is fast, I was managing my work time well enough to get in the training I needed, and I had a great week in Andalucia at Tridynamic’s triathlon training camp.

After the camp I realised I needed some guidance (i.e. I realised I had not idea how to prepare myself for a half ironman), so started working with a coach again. He was giving me some really hard sessions, and I was getting a lot out of them. It was great!

And then, two weeks ago, I got sick. Really sick. What felt like some swollen glands and the familiar aches and pains of the flu turned into tonsillitis, a fever which I couldn’t shake for days, and some very unfamiliar pains shooting through my body.

So instead of having one last hard weekend of training and then two weeks of tapering, I spent the last weekend resting, trying desperately to fight this illness, and then the rest of the week succumbing to it.

The fever was affecting my body so much that I was getting shooting pains through my head and muscles. I was in so much pain some nights I was in tears, considering whether I should go to a hospital. (To be honest, the only things which were stopping me were the facts that since I am in Amsterdam, I actually have no idea where a hospital is, and even if I did, I would need to cycle there … and I wasn’t sure I was up for that challenge.)

The antibiotics the doctor prescribed on the Monday had had no effect by the Thursday – I woke up in agony and tears. I went back to the doctor, and was given a different course of antibiotics, and told they should start to take effect Saturday night.

When I reported this to my coach, he advised me if I wasn’t going to start to get better until Saturday night, then I shouldn’t race.

I was devastated. I have worked so hard all year for this – and it felt like it was gone in an instant. More tears. My mind started picturing the race that could have been …

And then I suddenly felt a change as my body and mind rallied together for the first time all week: I felt the same energy I feel when I’m close to the end of a race and someone tries to pass me – my body says no, and grows stronger. Suddenly I was fighting this illness properly.

Within two hours my resting heart rate had dropped 10 beats per minute, to close to a normal range. My temperature dropped half a degree.

“I’m getting better! I can still race!” I emailed my coach. Of course, it took a lot more to convince him than just that … On the Friday night we had a skype chat that almost led to a break up – as if I hadn’t had a hard enough week already! Thankfully, we agreed to stay together, but reassess my goals for the race.

It’s about finishing, pacing, learning … and getting through the 70.3 miles without damaging my body. So Sunday morning central Europe time, please send some positive thoughts my way.

I’ve spent the last week preparing mentally for what’s to come, and I feel I’m ready to race this new race. And as Gandhi said, “Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.” And I’m pretty sure that anyone who has ever lived with me, worked with me, trained or raced with me, or even played a board game with me knows: I have an indomitable will.

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