The OTHER Sickness

Normally, when I talk about “The Sickness”, I am talking about Jens Boom, my 29’er boyfriend who lets me ride him as hard or easy as I want and lets me get a little wild.

Lately, I have been having to talk about some other sickness and I cannot lie, it has crawled right into my mind and given me the sads.

The first week of November, during the Cincy3 CX festival, I started to get sick.

At first I was just a little run down, then it grew bigger/worse.

Because I am me and not all that brilliant at times (and grossly selfish during cx season), I did not take a break and kept up with the traveling and racing and the all-around not resting of self and body.

I was at my old company and things were ugly and cx made me happy on weekends that my daughter was at her dad’s.

Well, I ended up with walking pneumonia.  I have written about this before.

I went to State CX Championships anyway, inhaler, antibiotics, and all.

I was on so many meds at the time that I would have been happy to stay in bed.  I didn’t.

On the day of the Championships, I realized I had made a truly awful mistake the day before…

I had left some items in the back of the velowagon after that day’s race and they were now still very wet…including shoes and gloves.

My skinsuit was fine because I had a spare, but ummm…so what?

I lined up freezing, wet, and miserable, and tossed the idea of taking my gloves off back and forth until I decided to just go with them.

Big mistake.  HUGE.

If you have ever seen the SAW films, you will know that there is one scene where people have to put their hands in a box and let the saw slice through until a certain amount of blood fills a container. Click here to see that scene if you have an iron stomach; ignore link if you do not.

(Nice image, huh?)

Yeah, well that is what my hands felt like after 2 laps in the freezing wet that was the Championship race.

What’s worse, I kept seeing that scene in my head as I was racing and that was not really a good thing.

I started crying from the pain in my hands and lungs and the gasps were strong enough to cause me to lose my breakfast, which was a pretty spectacular way to end a race, so that is all I am saying about that day.  I hated that day.  That day was the entire 2009 cx season in 30 minutes.  That day sucked.

I now have what is potentially permanent nerve damage to my right pinky, constant acute pain, and limited function of the digit.  Good stuff.  I’m pretty excited about it myself, because you know how much fun I have with my malfunctioning and/or rogue body parts.

*semi-dramatic sigh*

OK, so I took a break and forfeited some racing and mentally shredded myself while trying really hard not to.

I got back on the bike a few days before Christmas.

I got on The Sickness to kick the ass out of my sickness.

Now sure, I had gone to some spin classes and had been swimming and doing some funnish things at the gym, but to really ride….well, that was pure happiness.

I had to take it easy and went out with some good people who wouldn’t let me do anything stupid.

And while I maybe started with a more challenging ride than I should have, I was over the moon excited to have had my ass kicked and couldn’t wait to measure my health and wellness by returning to that final climb.

I felt the sparkle returning to my eyes and the mischievous smirk playing on my mouth.

We continued to go out…somewhere…anywhere…almost every day.  My addiction had returned.

Fast forward to the week of CX Nats.  A trip we had always planned and one that had never included me actually racing.

I spoke to Kirk just before the weekend and he said there was no point in me racing after how sick I have been and missing the races leading up to the event.

He was of course right and said that the only benefit I would receive from racing that race would be for novelty. He told me to take my bike and ride the course with Jim and get my workout that way.

I agreed that that was a great idea!  Originally, my travel partner-in-crime was also going on the trip and we were going to run while out there; no bikes.  Once a schedule glitch kept Suze from traveling with us, running didn’t seem all that fun.

So we went out to Madison and I decided I was absolutely without a doubt not racing and said it out loud to anyone whom would ask.

Nope, not racing.

At pretty much the 11th hour (because why would it not be?), I looked at Jim and told him I wanted to do the novelty race.

The novelty race being the Women’s Elite race.  My first Elite race and not at all intimidating, right?

No stress.  Just fun, heckling, and counting the minutes before Katie F’n Compton lapped me.

Jim looked at me in that way that Jim does because he knows I am like this.

(Yes, I routinely feel for my friends for having to deal with my spontaneous whims of doing things”just for fun”.)

So, I registered, looked oddly at my number fully absorbing how many women were in my race, (93) and then very oddly…I did all the right things!  I hydrated, didn’t party, took it easy, and went to bed early.

(Technically, right there should have been a sign that I was still sick.  Just saying.  I almost never do the right thing the night before a race.  I am very bad at the night before.  Mostly because I over-think it and I stress out, so I do stupid shit to keep me from doing the stressing/thinking thing.)

I bought that HotHands/Feet stuff so I could be a ginormous pussy with snuggly warm hands in the race (because we all know I would not be going fast enough to stay warm) and some red Swedish Fish for post-race and I was ready.

The shortest (and bestest) race report EVER from the 2012 CX Nats Women’s Elite Race is below:

Yep…Kirk was right…and in being right, he allowed me to get my spirit back.

I did my novelty race and was excited by all the new year held.

He put my plan together and man was I excited!

At the end of the plan he wrote, “Small steps – stay healthy.”

So that brings me to now.

Last week I jumped into my plan and rode mostly indoors.  On Thursday, I decided to do my intervals outside because I was going nuts in the house.  It was 37 degrees, but I layered up and wore super warm lobster gloves (because I am just that Pro!) and the HotHands/Feet thingies.

I even wore a hat.

Immediately upon getting off the bike, I went to the steam room and sat inside making sure to loosen up any gunk that may have crept in while I was outside.

I took a steamy hot shower, and felt pretty good about things.

I felt alive.

SOOOOOO alive and good and happy.

I almost did a naked podium stand in the locker room, but…you know, I get a little tired of those ladies judging me, so I didn’t.


Friday, I felt less alive…and each day since has been worse.

Now I am back on the inhaler and antibiotics and feel worse than I had during the worst of the walking pneumonia.

When I look back at the year, I have been some version of sick since the end of June when I kicked my own ass in Colorado.

I cannot seem to get it together with this whole breathing thing and every time I turn around I am sick.

I have taken breaks. I have rested. I have hydrated.

I have been off the bike for four (FOUR) effing days.  FOUR!

Now, I am crawling out of my bleeping skin because I want to ride my bike and while I know that technically I could do it, I wounder…should I?

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