So this is a tough post to write. This week I should have been going to Kenya for a block of altitude training. That’s not happening now so here is a bit of an explanation.
After the best winters training of my life over the summer I didn’t perform as I had expected and complained of recurrent bouts of mystery illness. Runner’s are usually pretty in tune with their bodies and I felt like mine was slightly giving up on me, great sessions were followed by terrible races and vice versa. Each day I had no idea whether my body would perform or not.
Looking back I am quite proud of some of the things I achieved over the summer, especially considering that recently a blood test came back saying that I have had the Epstein-Barr virus (the virus that causes Glandular Fever) and given my symptoms at the time it is not unlikely that I was suffering with this.
Now is a different story though, I spent September resting, recuperating and then steadily getting back into running. October should have been a ‘build’ month and so it was until the week before the XC relays when I got a strange chest infection which meant I was breathing like an asthmatic donkey and (with hindsight) foolishly completed a grass session while hyperventilating and missing out a couple of reps as I tried to get my breath back.
The week of the XC relays I felt better, a session on Tuesday confirmed I would be ok to race, and the relays themselves were a success. My breathing wasn’t perfect but it was nowhere near what it had been the week before.
The Abbey Dash a couple of weeks after was a similar story, not a car crash but not where I had hoped to be, and my breathing was laboured throughout (but again not quite as bad as the session I did in the weeks before).
Anyway the Monday and Tuesday after the Dash I trained as normal, feeling like I needed to put some work in to get back to where I felt I should be (bad runners logic).
But on the Wednesday post Dash I was floored. I struggled to get out of bed, at work I was useless and by the end of work I went to bed. For the next week my routine was get up, work, go back to bed. I didn’t run a step or exercise in any way for 2 weeks. The weird thing was I didn’t even care. I wasn’t itching to exercise, all I wanted to do was rest.
The other weird thing is that after all that rest I actually began to feel worse! My chest was tighter and I was getting mild chest pains on and off – still am.
So here I am, it is the 11th January and I am still scuppered. I have seen Dr Rogers (who knows pretty much all there is to know about Sports Medicine) and am going for some heart and lung function tests next week. I have also chatted to another runner who had very similar symptoms for 7 months last year, while she was very confused and frustrated about it all then (as I am currently!) she now puts it down to some sort of virus. Talking to her was really helpful and even though there was no magic cure it is good to know I am not the first person in the world to feel like this, and there is hope at the end of the tunnel. Virus or not time is a healer and be it months or years at some point I will get back running again.
I have also got to know my bodies ‘triggers’ a little better. I am finding that if I elevate my HR (accidentally, usually running up hill) over 150 during a run then it is very difficult to bring down and I become very tired. Likewise I can’t do short HIT or circuit sessions as again my heart must become too taxed and I get dizzy and will usually feel crap the next day too. A couple of times I have started sneezing (usually a sure indicator that I am getting a cold) but instead of any cold symptoms I will just get really tired and feel unable to exercise or do much else.
I am trying to do a little something everyday, either 20-30 running at a low HR, a core routine or a turbo set. At the moment I am finding that turbo training is my best friend, it’s something I can do on the days when my chest feels rubbish and my HR generally sits at about 120 spinning and 135 on efforts which is great as it means I can do mini sessions during my 30-40minute work outs (3mins effort of 2mins spin is my favourite).
On the positive side the time I have spent out of training I have put into my art and illustration, setting up a facebook page, having a stall at the Otley Victorian Fayre, getting on with some commissions and starting on some designs for a proper website that I hope to work on with pro website designer and one of #Baxtersfavourites Adam Stacey. It’s all very exciting and no matter what 2016 holds running wise I am very lucky to have another passion in life to enjoy.
Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/rachealbamfordart/
While it feels like everyone else is posting about their winters training, cross country, indoor racing, or even their #ROADTORIO, this post is probably a lot less inspiring. But I guess the lesson to take home (and one I try to remember when I am feeling depressed) is that EVEN WHEN YOUR ROAD IS GOING NOWHERE YOU CAN STILL ENJOY THE VIEW.