Friday, September 3, 2010

A tough decision, but the right one for me

WOW. It certainly has been a rollercoaster in Emma’s World this year. In one month I will be all packed ready and waiting to take the night flight and start my trip to Kona. I set my sights on getting my slot last year and finally achieved it this year but not without battering my body in the process.

It has now become abundantly apparent to me at just how much damage I did and how the combination of work load and my inability to balance and cope with stress now means that I shall making that trip alone. Alone as in without George.

I will not be on the start line, treading water with the masses this October 9th. I will be there to support my friends because I am in dire need of a holiday and I cannot think of any better form of healing than to be around the sport and people I love on the world’s biggest triathlon stage.

I do not think I will be sad. Honestly, I have cried enough over the past two weeks. I do not think I have any more sad tears left in me to spill. Any more tears are going to be tears of happiness. It is after all just a race. And one where I know I will have another chance, on another day.

So what happened? To save repeating myself, explaining the situation for those who want to know you can read on here. I know myself I have been blogging very infrequently this year. It is never my intention but perhaps the lack of blogging itself is a symbol of my state of mind and well-being?

I finished IM MY and was in a mess. When I started to get moving again I struggled with a hip flexor problem and running was extremely painful. Do not worry I told myself and was told. It will be ok. And so I carried on. It never got worse but my inability to train my run totally meant I lost my ‘run’ legs.

Since March I have been ill 3 times. That may not seem like a lot for some, but for a person who had not fallen ill for over two years it was a shock to the system. So much so that I thought the first bout would magically go away if ignored. HA! Nope. One month later after suffering in silence I finally got my stubborn arse to the doctors. It took two rounds of antibiotics to clear up that episode.

I started my training shorter stuff but things just never seemed to come together. I have felt something was always not quite right. Being unable to run without discomfort was equally frustrating; especially when you have told yourself the run is going to be better than before!

The next hiccup was a nasty head cold. One minute I was feeling fine and then WHAM. Just as I am instructed to step up to phase two I fall sick. Well this time I was taking no chances and went straight to the doctors. It took two rounds of antibiotics to shift it and another week to ease back into training. Camsur was now 4 weeks away and I was feeling far from peppy. But I also know that this is all about one session at a time. While 4 weeks seems like nothing, in training time a lot can change.

All the time I was training for Camsur I still had congestion and was constantly clearing my sinuses (sorry for such graphic detail). There was no infection so I just put up with it. Because of my asthma whenever I have a head cold or sinus problems it always takes longer to recover and in the process I suffer with excessive dehydration and even more difficulty in breathing than normal.

I am used to it, so I just carried on. Camsur was to be the litmus test. See how the body was fairing. And I felt pretty ok when I got there. The week leading up to the race I felt like I had hit the familiar wall of fatigue so I backed off. I was just completing a four-week period of consistent training – the most consistent training I had been able to complete all year. So I knew I was due for a bad spell. It was just bad timing that the bad spell came when I had a race to do.

I went for a light run with pick-ups on the Saturday night before the race. When I got back to my room, my roommate mentioned that I have a race to do the next day. No worries I smiled, ya know what after so long I feel quite perky I told him!

I remember being very relaxed, having a good Skype chat with mum and dad and then having an early night. My plan was to hammer the bike, let the swim be and see what I had left on the run.

Race day. The swim was not good but I felt good. I sighted well and while not fast it did not bother me at all. You see this race I did not even bother to start my watch. It was never going to be about time. I just wanted to let my body tell me what to do and go by feel. It was training.

On the bike and I hammered. I felt pretty good and comfortable but my heart rate if I was honest probably felt higher than it usually is when riding aero in the big gear for most of the way. Cadence was fine, bang on what it should be.

I got off the bike having made the same split as last year. I did not expect to do that. I knew I was nowhere near as fit as last year. And then I found out the bike was 3k longer this year. Last year was short. So actually I went faster!

On the run and it was a death march. The weird thing is, I thought and felt like I was going ok; I was overtaking people. But then 8k or so in I lost the hearing on my right side. You know when in the plane and your ears go, well it was like that. I frequently tried to clear it, pop it but nothing. And then the old mental battle of oh crap I have had enough, don’t want to play this game anymore came to visit.

My mind kept telling me to walk. You know you want to, go on. Just walk. Just stop and then walk. Boy, I cannot tell you how much I wanted to walk. But then I started smiling to myself because actually I probably was walking, it was that bad. I got over that finish line and felt ok. Crap, but ok.

I had been drinking plenty and started chatting to friends and then had a craving for french fries. We went in search of the savoury goodness and then got caught up chatting with some other people. I remember I had to keep sitting down. I was beginning to feel rather sick.

When my friend finally said come on lets go, all I could squeak was “Paul, I don’t feel too good.” He took one look at me and said go and get an I.V it will sort you right out. “A-ha, ok.” I said. The medical was a few steps away. Off went Paul. “Wait”. He turned around, “I don’t think I can manage that,” I said. Vinnie from Ironguides was in shouting distance and basically he ran over they caught me and they both carried me to the tent.

My blood pressure had dropped to 80/50, I still could not hear but just wanted to lay down and sleep. I ended up not having to go to the hospital, they were all ready to take me but the hearing slowly came back and I went to my room and just chilled for the rest of the day.

Awards: I was almost T-total!! If there was any warning sign – that was it. I was in no mood to party.

Monday: day on the beach: NICE.

Tuesday: A swim and run was planned and that is what I did. How? I do not know. It was cut short and shrugged off the dry mouth and dizziness.

Off to Manila for the day and all I wanted to do was curl up in bed and sleep. I had a sore throat and was started to feel decidedly dodgy and very weak. By the time I boarded the flight that night I must have had a soaring temperature. I was also freezing cold. When we landed at LCCT I half expected to be taken aside when we went through the screening process my temp was that high!

And so there you have it. I spent the next 3days in bed. My temperature hit 40, and I was on so much medication I felt like a junkie! Last Saturday was the first time I had ventured out. I had since been tested for Dengue and Malaria – both were negative. The doctor said rest. He knew what I was doing and I am ashamed to admit I also broke down and was very tearful when in his office – oops.

I met Julie on Saturday for a coffee. I just had to get out. I told her my plan to go to Kona and run/walk the marathon. Yes she said just go and have fun. Honestly. I knew in Camsur I would never be making the start. My heart wanted to but I knew I would not be well enough.

Well after running. Sorry shuffling with Julie yesterday, she now sees that I have made the right decision. I had to keep stopping and catching my breath. I cannot explain how fatigued I feel. I just have nothing in me. I am supposed to be running 3hours now for IM training – just the thought of that alone tires me out.

And so yesterday I formally withdrew from the competition. I don’t feel sad anymore. I have gone through feelings of numbness and anger and now I just want to be healthy. I want to get up in the morning and go for a run because I can, because I am healthy.

I have a couple of goals for next year. Yes China is one of them. But I am not thinking about anything other than exercise for the rest of the year. Hawaii is now going to be a fantastic holiday and from there I am going to ride in the Napa Mountains, and from there I go back to Hawaii, Maui to watch Xterra World Championships.

So there is a silver lining in this big Ol’ grey cloud of mine and hopefully by the time I board that flight in four weeks the sun will be shining through. I am pleased as punch that Carmen is going to support too, what fun we are going to have. I have a condo lined up smack bang on the beach, so all I need to pack are my runners, swimmers and sunnies!!

Thanks all of you for your support over the past couple of weeks, and I hope you respect my decision that I have made here. Believe me if I felt I could do the race I would be there with George ready to rock it. But if anyone knows Emma, you know that I do not do anything by half! So I am not going to risk my health even further only to add more disappointment by coming away with a DNF.

Happy training, and I will see you on the road J


Cheong said...

A sensible decision. Have a good rest and enjoy.

K3vski said...

Definitely a very difficult decision, that followed on from a very emotional rollercoaster ride. Enjoy your holiday in Kona. And will see you bouncing back soon enough!

Don said...

sorry to read abt ur health concerns, emma. the body has its ways to rejuvenate itself after what you've gone through. enjoy this deserved break & you'll be back to form soon enough.

bon voyage & happy holidays. cheerz

jaimev said...

So sorry to read that but you´ll be back to Kona next year - racing .
I hope i see you soon , Phuket ?

Have fun and enjoy Hawaii .

Jaime Menendez de Luarca said...

Hope to see u soon too Emma!

We will swim together to te expresso boat

Emma said...

thanks Guys,
Jaime, ok its a deal, think I will need a head start though :P

yipwt said...

Not an easy decision...hope you'll enjoy Hawaii nevertheless...

Anonymous said...

hi Emma. a tough decision even if its for the best. coz sometimes we think we don't know what's best for us.. sometimes we do.. anyways, have a good time there ok.. take care ya. :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Emma

Sorry to hear your news. If its any consolation I think you are doing the right thing. Wishing you lots of rest and relaxation. You will come back stronger for it. Have a wonderful well deserved holiday