Lucky Girl. . .

 28.5 hours.  My biggest week in nearly a year!  As someone who loves the volume, there was a time when this would’ve seemed like a pretty standard week in the office.  For the majority of last year, though, I had a completely different perspective.   I wasn’t training anywhere close to 30 hours a week–in fact, I wasn’t really doing anything that would constitute as training.  Not because I didn’t want to. . mentally, .there was nothing I wanted more, but physically, I was completely cooked.  In the course of a few weeks, I downward spiraled from peak Ironman fitness to literally not being able to run ten minutes.  I went from an ‘up before dawn and train more than I sleep’ schedule to barely being able to maintain the activity level of a 70 year old, sister Madonna Buder, non withstanding.  In short, it was ugly.    

 

Setbacks are an accepted part of any sport.  They give us a chance to reflect, and almost always make us better athletes in the long run.  I had the opportunity for a lot of reflection last year—a solid 10 month’s worth of reflection, frustration, blood tests, and doctor’s visits.   There was never a definite diagnosis, but adrenal fatigue/failure, glandular disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, parasympathetic overtraining syndrome were some of the unfulfilling labels doctors came up with–none of which had a short term fix.  Long term rest and management were the suggested treatment—a less than ideal solution for an ironman athlete!  After talking to lots of other athletes, I found a few that had gone through the exact same science fiction-like experience:  6 to 18 months of severe fatigue, seemingly unexplained by other medical maladies and unresponsive to days, weeks, or even a few months rest.

 

Mid-December, the clouds of the preceding 10 months lifted, and health and energy steadily returned.  With a few months of good training on the books, I am optimistic that the lessons I learned last year, while quite frustrating and sometimes painful, will serve me well in the upcoming seasons.  Just a few months ago, I was only dreaming of the workouts we’ve done in the two weeks since I’ve been here n Australia.   Now, I’m back to living them.

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