After a week of feeling crappy, I finally dragged myself to the doctor. It turns out that I have walking pneumonia, which as far as I can tell just means that I have slightly less severe version of the disease. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs – which if you are training for an endurance sport like XC mountain biking, is basically a death sentence for your workouts.
One morning this past week, before my illness had been officially diagnosed, I thought I was on the road to recovery so I did a light spin on the bike. My lungs were definitely not at full capacity and there was no way that I could train with any sort of intensity – at least not without coughing up a lung.
Today is Februrary 22nd. The first race of the year is March 22nd – 4 weeks away. This is definitely primetime for preparing for that inaugural event, and despite that, I am going to be spending at least another week off of the bike trying to let my lungs heal.
It’s not like the first race is an easy one either. The OMBC race at Mohican Cabins was a huge stumbling block for me last season when we raced there in the championship race. It is one of the more technical courses and it features many LUNG-BUSTING climbs. If I don’t take the time to heal properly now, then my lungs won’t be able to handle the rigors of the course. It’s still early though and there is a lot of racing left to do.
Even when I do get back on my bike, there is going to have to be a bit of a build up. I won’t be able to jump back in and push myself right away like I was.
So here I lay. In my bed. Lying as still as possible.
Hoping that my lungs appreciate all the tender love I’m giving them.
Hoping they will heal quickly.
Hoping that the boredom doesn’t drive me mad.
I’m a little mad at myself for not going to the doctor sooner. I almost went to the doctor last Tuesday, but I thought I just had a bad head cold. It seemed like it was getting better, so I opted to just try and rest as much as possible (which can be tough to do when you are a stay-at-home dad). When the congestion in my head cleared and some of the fatigue went away, it was hard to ignore the tightness and wheezing in my chest.
The doctor prescribed Azithromycin (also known as a Z-Pack). It is a 5-day treatment of antibiotics and if I had gone to the doctor on Tuesday I might be almost finished with my recovery by now.
I’m still planning on racing in the first race, but I have no idea where my fitness level will be. It probably won’t be horrible, but it definitely won’t be at its peak.
This has been a frustrating experience. Obviously, I had put a lot of thought and effort into preparing for the 2014 season, but despite the best plans in the world there are still things that are beyond my control. This is the worst illness I can remember having in decades (maybe I just have a bad memory though).
I have a few things to keep me busy while I rest. I am reading Dirt Rag #175 from cover to cover. For you Ohio / West Virginia guys there is a cool article about West Virginia that mentions Pete & Meredith, the owners of Athens Bicycle Shop. Make sure you check out Quickdirt’s interview with the editor of Dirt Rag, Mike Cushionbury.
Season 2 of House of Cards was just released on Netflix and that has been eating up a lot of the time too. I also started watching Friday Night Lights, which I had always heard good things about, but had never watched. So far it’s great. I’m looking forward to watching more episodes of that while I sit in my own private purgatory.
I’ve also been using my time to learn more about running – which is the new cross-training sport that I am trying to work on in 2014. I just read Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield. I don’t have any plans to run a marathon, but I wanted to learn about how to handle the miles without getting injured (Here’s the secret: Good shoes. Build the mileage slowly).
The Ultimate Runner: Stories and Advice to Keep You Moving by Tom Green and Amy Hunold-VanGundy is also sitting on my nightstand. I am still reading this one. It’s a little bit like Chicken Soup for the Soul for runners. It has a lot of inspirational stories. My favorite part of the book is at the end though, which is 70 pages full of practical tips and information about training, stretching, weights, nutrition, injuries, etc…
Well, I have to go for now. It’s time to rest some more. Looking forward to making my next post a more positive one. If you would like instant updates when future articles are posted, then you can enter your email address in the right column.
Also, make sure you follow along on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook is where I post interesting information and articles from the web that I find about mountain biking and training. Plus, I will post information about upcoming mtb events. I use Twitter more like a training log. You can track what I am doing during my workouts and see how that translates to race results later in the season.
Hopefully, you have been blessed with great health. If so, I want you to get on your bike and take advantage of it. Now is the time to build the fitness you need for this summer. Embrace those healthy lungs and work them hard on my behalf.
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