Towards the end of March I started feeling less than100%. I had some massively swollen lymph nodes on the side of my neck, and after workouts I felt absolutely dead. It wasn’t the good “dead” feeling that you get after a good hard work out. It was a “holy crap, I can barely stand up, I need to lie down and feel like there is nothing left inside of me” type of dead feeling that lingers around for the rest of the night.
A few weeks went by and not much changed, I stopped working out hoping my lymph nodes would return to regular size. I figure if my lymph nodes were no longer swollen I’d be good to work out again. Well not exercising did nothing for my lymph nodes. In fact I woke up one morning and had nearly an egg size bulge below my jaw/side of my neck…time to head back to the Doctors (I went earlier and they said take Advil and see what happens…great medical advice). With the third and bigger bulge on my neck the doctor suspected mononucleosis (mono/the kissing disease) and decided to get my blood tested.
Tests came back positive, I got mono. I won’t bore you with all the symptoms and how shitty mono is, but it kept me at home on the couch for 2 straight weeks. Thankfully my amazing girlfriend stuck around and took care of my sickly self.
Once I was feeling a bit better I was able to return to work. Even though I was able to get out of the house and head back to work mono takes a huge toll on your body. Going through all the stages of mono can take upwards of 10 weeks. With the worst of it over I was anxious to get back to exercising, and the only advice doctors gave me was “take it easy as you begin to be active again. If you go too hard too soon you can slip back into the symptoms.”
Even as I write this (~5 weeks of mono), I feel much better but I am know where near 100%. This is drastically shown by my return to exercise. I’ve returned to running but I’m being sure to keep my HR (heart rate) at 150 BPM (beats per minute) or lower. Before I got sick getting up to 150 BPM often took a km or two as I began to warm up. On my first run after being sick it took me like 2 seconds to get my heartrate to 150 BPM! I “ran” for 15 min and it was incredibly hard to keep my heartrate low, every little hill (< 10 m) made my HR jump like I was running up a 30% grade. And I say “ran” because during those 15 min I managed to hold a 6:09 minute km…Which is hard to fathom as I typically would run closer to a 4:50/km at 150 BPM.
I have since built back up to running ~60 min at my target heartrate but am still much slower than before. Indicating either A) my body is still fighting the disease and I should stop running, or B) my body is just tired from fighting the disease and the fitness I have lost. I like to go with option B, my energy levels feel good and I’m itching to run faster but I am taking great care to keep my HR low, so if that means walking up hills and running 5:30 km’s that’s what I’ll do.
This really was some shitty timing to get sick. I was hoping to fill April with a lot of long runs, and OCR specific training (heavy carries, and monkey bars) and I haven’t been able to do any of that. And with the Montana Beast, and X Warrior Titan looming on the horizon I’m simply hoping not to make a fool of myself at these races. I signed up for these races with the mindset that these would be good training races to prep me for Toughest Whistler. So I didn’t have any specific goals, but I always want to perform the best I can, and my best right now isn’t my true best.
Honestly I still don’t know if I’ll even run X Warrior Titan. I’ve only run for 60 minutes, and X Warrior Titan is 6 hours. I figure if I survive the Montana Beast and Sprint weekend, then I should be able to survive 6 hours at X Warrior Titan…?
I need to have the right mindset heading into these next two weeks and not be too concerned with my performance. I truly need to take these races as training days. Don’t race, just go out there have fun, and make it through. Don’t worry about being passed or trying to catch the guy ahead of me. I say this optimistically now because once in the middle of the race it’s hard to hold back when you know you can push harder and pass people ahead of you. I almost have half a mind to change my Beast registration to Competitive or Open, as this would relieve some of the competiveness inside me. X Warrior Titan on the other hand I’ll just try to survive hours, and if I survive these next two weeks hopefully that means I can turn up my training again and head in Toughest Whistler ready to kick ass…relatively….you know personal goals and stuff.
P.S. I played a shit ton of Zelda while I was sick sooo that was pretty sweet…