How Much Can The Body Take?

Pate NeumannJanuary 13, 2012

This is what I had to ask myself on Wednesday night when I was contemplating starting the 30km pursuit yesterday. If you look at the results from the race you will see that I started, skied 3.75km, and then pulled out. It was pretty clear that my body wasn’t ready to race yet, but I had to give it a shot. I had to hope for a miracle that would leave me fighting in the lead group.

To back up a few weeks, I returned home to Canmore from a great Christmas in Ontario and immediately got sick. I spent 5 day with a bad cold (stuffy nose, sore throat, chest congestion and cough… the works). It was clear my body was run down and needed some time to heal. I spent those five days sleeping, stretching and being as quiet as I could. Eventually things came back together and I rejoined the team and started training again. I slowly built into it, and did my first intensity session since Rossland four days after being deemed healthy. It went well, and I recommitted to my original training program. Unfortunately, that only last two days.

This past Monday our team did a time trail in Canmore. 9km of classic double poling on rocket fast tracks. Again, things went well and I was finally feeling some confidence heading into Whistler.
I left the workout pumped, I went home and ate, slept, and had a massage. After my massage my stomach started gurgling. I walked home and just as I got to my house it all came out. When I say “it” I mean all the food I had eaten that day, strewn across my driveway in a disgusting mess. I made it in side, cleaned myself up and immediately got in bed. My stomach settled down, and the hot/cold flashes hit me. My awesome girlfriend came to my rescue and went out to buy the usual flu remedies; chicken noodle soup, ginger ale, Gravol and some bread. She urged me to eat, so I did. Little bits at a time but it wasn’t much use because a short while later I saw all that food again, this time in my bathroom.

Sorry to give you the complete play by play but I figured it would give you a better idea of what actually happened! And don’t worry, that was the last time I puked.

So there I was, a sick mess huddled up at home, not being able to digest any food since before the mornings time trial, on the night before our team was scheduled to fly to Whistler for trials. Great.

I woke up the next morning feeling quite a bit better, but needless to say I wasn’t on my way to Whistler. I stayed home, sipping Pedialite and chicken noodle soup. After talking with Mike and our team doctor it was decided I had caught a bad 24hr flu that has been making its way through Canmore.  The plan was to try and eat as much as I could tolerate that day, and try and fly to whistler the next day (Wednesday). Wednesday rolled around and I was up early and heading to the Calgary airport. I was feeling much better, and eating my first real meals in two days, but a long way from 100%. It was a busy day, lots of waiting and shuttles, but by 4pm I was skiing at the Whistler Olympic Park, trying to decide if I should race.

I decided I had nothing to lose. I may as well start the race and see what happens. My body felt fine off the start, but by the time we got to the high point of the course, it was clear it wasn’t meant to be. My heart was beating at 2,000,000 beats per minute and I felt a bonk coming on… at the 3km mark. Only 27km to go!

That was the end of my day. Frustrating for sure. 30km pursuits are my favorite races, and they usually only happen once a year… at the U23/WJ trial races. For me, the 30km and Sundays 15km classic race are qualifiers for the OPA tour trip. Having already not finished 50% of the qualifying races I need to produce something incredible on my classic skis.

The plan from here on out is to continue to eat and rehydrate myself as much as possible. My body is obviously still in the recovery stages, and yesterday was a good reminder of how much recovery I still need. I am going to take it race by race, hoping to see improvements along the way. I will start tomorrow’s skate sprint, and reevaluate after the qualifier. I have decided to throw the pressure and the expectations out the window, and just focus on getting healthy. Next weekend we have the Western Canadian Champs in Canmore and I want to be ready to go for that. Selection, team trips and race starts will be decided, but I don’t need to waste valuable energy mulling over what could be. I just need to go out and race.

This year I have been plagued with sickness more then any other year. Underneath it all there is a fit skier just waiting to break free. It will happen soon, I know it. It will just take a little time.

Thanks for all your support. I will keep you posted on what unfolds this weekend!


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