May 15, 2013

Deathly Ill

Just as my training was ramping up and feeling good I hit a major bump in the road. Last Thursday's long run was misery. I just felt off. Afterward I was in terrible pain and could have slept the rest of the day.

Then I woke up Friday with a fever of 102.5. By 8am it was in the mid 103s and by 1pm it was 104.5. I checked into the ER at 3:25 and wouldn't return home until midnight, and only because I demanded to leave and signed out AMA. After numerous physical exams, blood and urine cultures, a chest X-ray and an abdominal CT, which involved drinking a liter of the most foul tasting solution on earth, there were still no answers and I still had a fever.

This went on all of Saturday and Sunday, although with a lower fever threshold each day. Monday marked major improvement, but still no recovery. I had additional blood tests yesterday and more exams, but no diagnosis. Then today, on day six of my mystery illness, I finally feel "normal." I haven't had a fever (yet) and am not taking any ibuprofen or Tylenol. I don't have any lingering body aches or pains. I have a decent energy level and mental clarity.

I hope this is the end and I hope the beginning of my wellness is just around the bend. I'm so anxious to move. I don't need to go out guns blazing and dive back into training, but I've seen enough of my couch and bed to last a lifetime. Fingers crossed.

May 2, 2013

Train Like Somebody's Watching

I always race far better than I train. There are many reasons, of course, including fitness gains from prolonged training, stored energy from taper and race day adrenaline, but there is also another reason: people are watching me. They are waiting for me at designated spots with estimated times, or tracking me online. Knowing this makes me pedal a little harder and keep running when I'd really love to walk.

I have logged some pretty epic training over the years for my four Ironmans, but I definitely don't put the same level of energy into most solo workouts. I recently hired a personal trainer for this reason and I've accomplished more in four weeks with him than I did in six months on my own because he stands there and makes me do the hard work.

Last weekend I joined a friend late in his long ride and halfway through my short ride. He is so much faster than I that I wondered if I'd even be able to keep up, but I gave it a try regardless. It was only my fourth outdoor ride of the season and my first longer ride in weeks due to travel. I had to ride near my max HR for over an hour to even keep him within sight, but I managed to do it. Could I have done the same on my own? Not likely. But if I could, just think how much better my races would be.

For this reason, I recently switched to a local coach after having a remote coach for three seasons. My coaching is private, but I will have access to group training if I want and he monitors my weekly progress on Training Peaks so I feel far more accountable. He also happens to be my personal trainer, so I have two hours of one-on-one time to chat about goals, plans and progress while I'm being tortured.

It's still early, but I'm feeling good about the season and can't wait to see what's ahead for me.


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