The Plague

The Plague is what I caught on the way home from Sea Otter. Well, maybe not the real plague because I think the real "Plague" of medieval times was some kind of pox, which I don’t have. I have probably something closer to pneumonia. Nice. Lots of greenish goo coming out of my lungs. What is to blame, you ask? Hmmm, let me count the ways in which I made myself susceptible to said illness….

The areas of primary concern right now….

Okay if I think back, here are all of the things I did wrong last week which have likely led to the fact I have now lost an entire WEEK of training because I am sick. I am also not a little bit sick, I am the donkey braying cough of green goo kind of sick. It is getting old really. Poor Ross has to listen to me coughing until 3 am at which time I am so exhausted I basically cough myself unconscious.

Okay so the list:

1. I did not bring enough warm clothes to Monterey anticipating freezing cold weather. It is CALIFORNIA… it is supposed to be warm and sunny! I brought clothes appropriate for Victoria in April and they were not warm enough.

2. I was breathing in large quantities of the parking lot since high winds and very dry temperatures meant the Sea Otter venue was one big cloud of dust. I could feel grit in my teeth at the end of the day it was so dusty and dirty. I should have worn a smog mask. Of course, I never thought I would need a dirt mask since it is always muddy and raining at Sea Otter so no matter what, you just don’t ever prepare enough for this crazy event. I was only a fraction as sand blasted as the rest of the BMC crew. Ben had the reddest eyes from spending a day in the dustbin and Scott went from coughing a little to coughing a lot by the end of the week.

3. I drank a glass of wine four of five nights when we were out on various business-like dinners. Generally I was the only athlete at these dinners, except for the last night after the race was over when we chose the same restaurant as Trek. I didn’t finish the whole glass on two of those nights but I still had some wine. Normally that would not be a big deal but in hindsight, I am sure it did not help given I believe alcohol helps push respiratory illness into the chest. Anything acidic, in fact, really makes a sinus infection turn into a lung infection, like vinegar and wine. Try it, you may find I am right. On second thought, just trust me on this one.

4. My hotel room was absolutely freezing cold. I am not sure what I could have done since I had the heat on maximum but maybe if I had more wool socks I would have been okay. Should have brought thicker jammies for night time.

5. I did not drink enough water last week because it was cold. Rookie.

6. I forgot my vitamins. Rookie.

7. I did not sleep enough. That was a calculated decision. I did a lot of dinners and events with the marketing staff deciding that being involved in that stuff was more important than going to bed early like an athlete should. On Saturday that was evidently not hurting me but by Monday I was done for so I am sure the late nights caught up with me after all. Even if I am not looking for my best possible performance I should have realized that no matter what, even if I am training hard versus racing at peak performance I need lots of sleep. I could have slept in more and didn’t so again… rookie.

8. I shook about a million hands without walking around with my hand sanitizer. Rookie. (sidebar: Ross was sick when I left so I am guessing I just got this six days after him and none of the nice people I shook hands with actually infected me but at the end of the day, shaking hands is scary stuff)

I think that if your immune system is down you are going to get sick. That is that. I don’t know why I was susceptible, could be that I never really kicked the last bug. I sure hope not to get this again so I thought I would try something new.

That leads me to the most interesting part about this week -my trip to the Chinese Medicine Clinic. I figure a lifetime of antibiotics and asthma drugs are just not good for me so I would prefer to try something a little more holistic. So my friend and swim coach Pat Kelly booked me an appointment. The appointment started with some history including normal stuff related to respiratory illness including how long have I been sick, questions about colors, do I have a fever etc and digestive questions. The weirder stuff was examination of my tongue and taking my pulse on both sides. They said that my pulse on the left side was very strong and that on the right was week. WTF?? I guess the right in your ENERGY and the left is BLOOD so my conditioning is strong but my energy was weak. Makes sense I guess.

So then I am stuck full of painful acupuncture needles. Apparently when you are weak they are painful. The one she stuck in my shin at the "PHLEGM" point was excruciating. She left me for 20 minutes and whenever I coughed the phlegm needle killed me. Crazy.

The funny thing was before my visit to the Chinese clinic I would cough infrequently during the day and then really start coughing when I lay down to sleep at night. The Chinese medicine practitioner said I would cough a lot more in the next few days but then I would get better. Sure enough, since my visit I have coughed non stop, all day and all night. But slowly, despite the fact I sound worse, I am getting better. Not better enough to run the 10km race I was planning tomorrow (I haven’t slept in a week!) but better enough that maybe I can start thinking about training again.

I needed a rest week anyways. I had a chance to clean my garage, do my taxes, got fit by Bill down at ProCity Cycles on my brand spanky new TT02 (there is a 70.3 in my schedule this year) and lollygagged around the house doing a lot of nothing.

My flowers are pretty though.

Hopefully a lot more interesting training sessions will be on the schedule next week! Ross is busy down at the new bike store. Pretty exciting stuff in the works right now. I will fill you in when it is all official.

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