Sunday, January 29, 2012

Change of Pace

It's that time of year... Smack bang in the middle of the Nationals season. In fact, just yesterday it was National Champs in Nelson - congratulations everyone on what I have heard was some pretty hard racing, great battles and even better weather! 

From a personal point of view, it feels very odd being in the middle of a season and having raced only once - In November, and in more recent times, I have only ridden my bike a handful of times over the past couple of months. Suffice to say, it has been very quiet in the biking department lately. Riding my bike everyday is like having a right hand, without it I don't feel like myself. While I'm still in touch with everyone, I miss being a fully functioning part of the extended family that seems to form around XC racing in NZ. 
Reason being for all this - I am injured yet again, but not in the traditional sense.

Periodically and sporadically, last season I had episodes of training where I could only ride 30 minutes then physically not be able to pedal. My heart rate would sky rocket riding slowly on flat terrain, I would sweat a lot more than usual, get strange chest pains and generally feel awful and severely fatigued. This happened one day training in Rotorua, I went back to the backpackers and fell asleep for 6 hours and didn't remember the morning! I never got to the bottom of it at that time, and it usually disappeared within a few days.

Lately however, this started happening more than once or twice. When it did happen, I'd take a few days off, try and ride, and feel terrible again. This had been going on for four weeks before our mountain biking holiday in Taupo at New Years, but it was here I realised something was truly wrong. We planned to ride the W2K, but I couldn't even pedal downhill let alone up - and my vision would blur every time I pedalled up hill. It was here that Harriet suggested I get a blood test. Finally I realised that this was not just fatigue - it was something a bit more deep-rooted. So I booked in with the Doc I met while out riding in Dunedin to see what was up.

After going through my symptoms, Dr. Medlicott was stumped and decided that indeed it would be a good idea to have a blood test. He ordered a full blood count as well as Electrolytes, Ferritin and the Eppstein-Barr Virus (to eliminate the idea of glange). My tests came back fine for everything - except Ferritin. 

I can see how this all happened now and I should have known better, I'm a bit pissed at myself I guess. Being a female endurance athlete, my iron is never really too shit hot. But what happened that tipped me over the edge was that I gave blood a couple of months back. Naturally, me giving blood would have reduced the level of red blood cells in my body and when these cells were slowly replaced, the new cells had reduced hemoglobin because I don't have enough iron to facilitate the process. As they were being replaced and trying to find iron, my iron stores went downhill and the process repeated. So at this point in time... My bods got shitty bloods with bad oxygen carrying capacity which explains all my symptoms. Dumbass me. Can't even walk very far without getting exhausted.

So what am I doing about it? I'm not anaemic, but iron deficient. So I'm taking some supplements, kicking back a bit more and eating a bit more red meat. I don't know how long this process will take to rectify itself but it could be a couple of months yet. I'm aiming to race the Crazyman in May with Sam as the runner, so will start training for that once this episode is over. 
So while this has written off my season, I'm focussing on my induction into being a Medic for Wellington Free Ambulance. This is something outside of biking that I'm super excited for and keen to learn as much about as I can and get good at it.

I'll be on the other side of MTB racing for once - patching up all you buggers who come a gutser!

Enjoy the ride..