DIARY: Illness 3–René 0

2013 has not gone to plan and neither has my transition back into the type of training that my body and mind thrives best on – at least 10 hours of steady running (and daily). It’s ironic, haven’t made myself “injury free”, the last 3 months has shown that is not enough if you’re not also “illness-free”.

A hat-trick of bad health began to unravel the plan I set out in late November – to be back mid-January to normal levels of training with the goal of a peak race before our wedding on April 5th. The Wicklow Way Trail was high on my list but I had yet to commit when disaster #1 struck mid-December – food poisoning. Some contaminated pork (it seems) had both Aoife and I in a terrible state for 24 hours and it took a week or so until we recovered our full strength.

By then, December stress was at it’s peak and I had barely touched down in my native Denmark before being laid low for the holiday season with “Businessman’s flu”. This meant 10-12 hour long sleeps and general lethargy. I did manage to “arise” to do a short run on the 28th, the first 3km bare foot on the freezing pavements. It was my two fingers up to the health problems.

January – paleo, weightloss, backlash

January things where going well in terms of technical training and consistency almost said in before it was scuppered late in the month with the most volatile flu I have suffered in years. Three days of burning hot night’s and two weeks later I’m only barely feeling my old self. Going Paleo beginning of the month meant I lost 2.5 kilos in no time, after a week of bed-rest, I lost more than desirable. Trying on my wedding suit for the second time, the difference was there to see – the first time I tried it on I looked young and healthy – this time I looked old and haggard. As Aoife said when she returned from Wexford after my first week of illness “I returned to Gollum!”

The greatest curiosity was my lack of normal appetite but this makes sense. “The hunter” type of human that I belong to needs rigorous exercise and a high calorie diet to thrive and during these two weeks even basic movement has been very minimal – nevermind exercise. This weekend, with a “free” wedding dinner tasting and being away in Wexford again, I decided to do my best to “fatten” myself up. I also threw in some supplementation with Vitamin D and Selenium. Vitamin D is always in short supply in winter and the key for a healthy hormonal balance in the body – after two weeks mainly indoors I had a feeling part of my apathy came from vitamin D deficiency. Selenium is an important trace mineral with a key role to play in immune function, so I felt it was worthwhile to see if I any deficiency after the recent triple entendre of diseases.

Adrenals on a break

My body continues to have lost it’s gusto for tea and coffee although it’s slowly getting better again. This is a key tracker for me – my personal theory is that the less I enjoy these, the more my mind is trying to keep my adrenal gland function suppressed. Stress levels reached a new high last week and I think this is a defensive response to keep me “locked” in “low-energy mode” until the body is fully recovered. Aoife and I are doing things the hard way at the moment in relation to realising our goals and making the fundamental changes we need so the honeymoon in April will provide a great opportunity to recharge after the long haul we began down this road almost 2 years ago.

I’m in London next weekend and then have a fully packed weekend with activity the following weekend as well, so with the wedding now very close I am not planning to throw myself into any race goal. Rather I’ll continue to just do what I can and when we return from honeymoon I hope to be in a position to do the 6-10 weeks of 100km plus weeks that it usually takes to have my fitness spinning at normal levels. On the plus side, it may mean a rare chance for me to race during the summer, something that I have not really done much in latter years (excluding Snowdon and the Lakeland 50 mile).