I could tell Sal wasn’t feeling well during our training ride on Tuesday. He was lacking snap. He was too quiet. Even after a monster pull on Willamette, I knew something was up.
What followed was four days of 100-101 degree fevers. He has not been this sick in all the time that I’ve known him. His normal sickly grumpiness gave way quickly to a genuine desperation to be well.
He suffered terrifically and is only just now beginning to recover a little.
Unfortunately, his gain is my loss.
I woke up in Newport, Oregon on Saturday morning to prepare to run a 5k race as part of a triathlon relay team. My lungs didn’t feel good. My legs didn’t feel good. My head didn’t feel good.
Everything was off.
I shook the bad feelings away and overrode them with my magical mind superpowers for long enough to put in a solid 5k effort for the team. I was not my fastest, by far, but I put everything that I had that morning on the table. I left it all on that grueling, short course. The majority of me was left scattered and shattered across the 659 feet of climbing that the three mile course included.
The 5k is a violent, explosive race. Fast, fast, and fast. There’s no settling in to a pace, no finding rhythm. It’s nearly flat out for as long as you can stand it. It’s the ultimate pain cave experience. Condensed and concentrated suffering.
It was raining lightly for the duration of my race and by the time I finished my swobo baselayer was soaked through, along with everything else.
I was cold.
I bought a skully at the nearby Fred Meyer and wrapped up in my sub-kilo sleeping bag when we got back to the cabin. The crash started mid-way through my soup and sandwich.
I wanted to take a nap, but I wanted to be home more, so I packed up and hit the road, bidding my team goodbye.
The drive back hurt almost as much as the race. Body aches set in and my head was throbbing. I coaxed myself mile by mile through the final 50 until I pulled up in front of the house and lay my forehead on the steering wheel.
Inside with my gear unloaded, I took my temperature.
Delirious and frustrated I spent the rest of the night dozing off and waking up in cold sweats.
Fevers are funny things. And not Funny-Ha-Ha. Funny like your insides are burning and your mind shuts down.
I’m back to normal (temperature wise) this morning, so I’m hopeful that I will not have the same four-day experience that Sal did. Only time will tell. I am learning to be patient and forgiving with my body because I probably ask it for too much sometimes.
It’s not so much the workouts these days as the back-breaking work schedule that I have set up for myself. I’m burning the candle at the both ends to get things rolling that will bring me closer to big, dream-worthy goals.
The pressure is good for me, but the cumulative effect is physically taxing.
In the struggle to walk the delicate line between health and ambition, I’ve strayed a little to far to one side. Now is the time to re-assess, restructure, recommit and regroup.