Friday, March 14, 2014

Tapering is fun, tapering is fun....

I keep trying to say these things to myself. You would think after all these months of training I would welcome the extra days off 2 weeks before a big race like IM Melbourne. However, preferably on my terms, not the damn sickness fairy's one!

The head cold of Monday turned into paranoia on Tuesday as I felt sicker and the cough started sounded like the familial seal bark that only a true "Stites Clan" member can relate to. Even my sister Linda had it last week, in sympathy for her poor little sis Down Under I suppose.:) Tuesday I set out to find a local doctor, which made me nervous. I finally looked on my BCBS Plan from home and they actually have an Internet list of Docs on the "International Referral page". I had found about about this before we left the US, thank goodness my paranoia follows me everywhere, because I needed a doctor here after all..OK, random Dr. found in clinic in the middle of the city and all we had to to was get there. Given my not so stellar history of Tram riding to the CBD, H went with me, bless his Hart (pun intended) because by now, he too had succumbed to the dreaded Taper Germ. He was about as sick as I was. I was being too cautious I suppose, hitting the medical field so quickly. However, after my encounter with Pneumonia in the middle of training for a bike ride last year, I was not messing around this time. The Dr.'s office was friendly, efficient, doctor professional and I walked out with an prescription for antibiotics. It was painless. I had to pay out of pocket for the drug and it was far cheaper than the US. Go figure!  I am on day 4 of the Aussie version on the "Z-pack" so hopefully it's doing it's job..Today I feel much better energy wise, the hacky cough still present, but tolerable.

The most challenging part about being sick, away from home two weeks out from Ironman is well quite honestly, the depression.  My mind has been playing tricks on me, mostly because of being in shut down mode and feeling couped up and not in control of my destiny momentarily. I miss my own bed, I miss my family, home, and well honestly when I am sick, I still miss my Momma. So I can just talk to her anytime really, as she is always close to my heart. :) I am feeling much more positive today, not quite IronReady but as good as it can be when tapering off of heavy duty training starts happening. "Taper Blues" is actually a real name for something that really happens to athletes as they slow down the couple of weeks before an athletic event. I am in that way normal, as normal can be when we are preparing for such a big day! Anyone who says "Ironman is just a long training day" is wrong. I have said it myself, I think it helps to put it in perspective but when you have been training for months and months for One Big Day, where many variables can affect the outcome, when you have sacrificed time, money and energy to do this One Big Day, it is a big deal! Anyone who arrives at the starting line healthy, is able to face the elements, equipment variables, potential GI issues, other athletes, large supportive crowds and the satisfaction of completing something so long and laboriously challenging...well they are amazing!! I fully expect to be absolutely positive and ready to go come race I have in the previous 5 times I have stood in the water listening to the "Star-Spangled Banner" or the Australian anthem (I should know this by now, right?!) before that gun goes off on race morning. Past behavior is the best predictor of how we will react in any given situation. That's what Dr. Phil says anyways..:)

I have been doing nothing but rest for 3 days, per Coaches instructions. We have our main coach Michael and the head Coach Xavier looking out after us. I have never had such interactive pre-race coaching race before. I check in everyday with the Coach how I am feeling and he gives me instructions on the training to do. It's really amazing-I feel so taken care of and calmed by this hands-
on approach coming down the stretch. Thank you coaches!!! I ran into Coach X today at the massage therapists office and he reminded me this is so normal, this whole Taper Bug thing which I knew intellectually but when you hear it coming from a Kona athlete, it just sounds so much more reassuring! Better to take it slowly now, better to go into the race at 95% than at zero %..Right on Coach! I am following instructions to a T which is difficult now that I am feeling almost human again and the temptation to go "just a little longer" today was strong. But I didn't. Better 95% than zero...period..

We rode to our 3rd bike store today, which we found late in the game here, to have our bikes tuned up for the big day. This is a "Specialized dealer". Who better than to tune up Mr. And Mrs. Venge? I feel assured they seem to know what they are doing. I had my last aero bars fitting there and my sense is wow wish we found these guys sooner! It only took us many bucks later and stressful moments of bike mechanical issues to discover and learn I guess.

I took a little field trip to the local triathlon store yesterday per cab ride to save energy for shopping. I managed to score some discount Ironman Tri shorts and some arm warmers, just in case it is cool on race day. I lost one arm warmer one of our first rides here..never to be seen again..I asked for the "American discount" and I'll be darned if they didn't give it to me! Maybe the dude felt sorry
 for me, the hacky cough, hoarse voice and all. Hmmm, will have to remember that strategy! Ha!

Been eating as healthy as ever and still managed to gain 2 lbs. My wetsuit still fits, which is my only real concern at this point. Eating no dessert for a week has been rough when chocolate is my comfort food when sick. I wasn't even hungry for a couple of days there at all but now, I want to eat mainly out of boredom and well, comfort! Starting late March 23rd, all bets are off. I will be eating mucho
chocolates and carrot cake and anything decadent I can get my hands on...being it.

Soon the Ironman athletes will be descending on the area and it will be a bling fest around port Melbourne. I have met several folks online that I have or will meet that are here to race. How small our world has become..I can meet people across the globe either here or in the US and just like that, we are bonded! I never would have imagined such a thing even 10 years ago when I started all this
Ironman triathlon craziness!

I hear in the distance the buzzing of loud car engines as they are warming up for the Formula One Grand Prix this weekend, a mere week before IMM. The race track is around our Melbourne pool Club a couple of miles away so we will be hearing lots of "buzzing" in the next couple of days!

The weather on race day is predicted to be perfect (10 in advance). High in the 70s, no wind, nice cool evening temps..this is a joke right? I shouldn't even look. The weather forecast this far out is about as accurate as if I would be predicting the weather right now! As my Aussie friends remind me, this forecast could change many times before March 23rd! The weather since we have been mostly home bound the last few says has been, as if the cruel joke has already begun perfect-seas calm, no wind, temps in the 70-80. If only only I could capture this in a bottle for race day!!

So Team Wess is on the mend. The Taper Sick house will be the Ironhouse once again very soon!!

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