Getting sick is usually a fear that borders on a phobia for most athletes (I include myself in that statement!). If a family member had contact with a sick person, out come my special dishes cutlery and glasses. I wash them myself, let no-one else touch them, and only store them away from the potential germ carrier.
Ok, those previous two sentences are vastly exaggerated, but I do try to keep contact with germ carriers to a minimum. Don’t touch handrails in public, press elevator doors with my knuckle or elbow, open doors with my foot (push) or elbow/wrist (pull).
Over the top, I know. But I hate being sick. Worse still I hate that feeling of getting sick. The really early signs: throat awareness, lethargy, slight lung tightness. The early signs: fleeting lung itching, ‘ahem’ cough, tighter throat. It’s that feeling where I know it’s already too late. Then come the thoughts of those lost training sessions. The missing intervals and the short training weeks. Not to mention being the person with the chesty cough who everyone else tries to avoid contact with.
I feel incredibly lucky that I haven’t been sick, at all, since late December 2013. I almost made it 15 months. Winter training has been really good. I’ve had no interruptions to training and have been able to take a more relaxed approach. I’ve taken more rest days, but importantly I’ve taken them before they’ve been forced. Slightly more fatigued one day, with a lethargy in my body has resulted in at least a half rest day. In some cases a full one. The days after, training has been amazing, with a feeling of invincibility during intervals.
With such a great run of illness free training, I was expecting to get sick this year at some point. A colleague at work was coughing on Monday, and almost flu like on Tuesday. I didn’t think much of it, as said person often has a sniffle or a splutter. They were kind on Tuesday and left when I arrived. I should have taken that as a sign said person was actually sick.
Luckily it coincides with a 14hr recovery week. It’s no problem no for me to stop training for a couple of days, so hopefully this will just breeze past. Already on Wednesday I felt lethargy. There were tears before intervals, but HJ consoled me. He just told me to grow a pair. I stopped after 3 reps rather than the four planned as it just wasn’t working. My times were good, technique okay. It just didn’t feel … normal.
It’s not bad yet, getting more noticeable (worse), but I guess this weekend will be a snot fest! I decided not to go to Beitostølen for the fatbike race tomorrow, that will definitely make things worse. Given that this one has started in my chest, it’s ok to take life really easy for some days.
So, for the coming days, I’m on sickness protocol. Stay warm, stay dry, train easy, draw lots of maps, order some bike parts, build some bikes, book a flight and hide in bed. After some hard months of high volume training, it’s actually nice to be forced into taking it easy. It’s nice because I know my brain needs the time to mentally recover for the next round. It’s nice because I know I’ll get stronger afterwards.