Last Thursday night, after months and months of trying to get my swim times a bit lower, they finally went down – significantly. After syncing my swim and looking at my splits, I felt my jaw drop. I knew that I was pushing myself in the water, and I felt like my pull was starting to feel like an actual pull, but I was honestly shocked….and very happy. “Maybe there is hope,” I thought.
As is usually the case after longer or more energetic swims, I swallowed a lot of water in the pool. And just like any other swim, it left me without much of an appetite. A few hours later, I went to bed, anticipating that I would wake up in the morning with a fierce hunger.
Instead, I woke up at 2:00 a.m., feeling like there was water in my lungs. “I must have swallowed water the wrong way,” I thought. My lungs felt tight – as though there was a rope tied around my bronchial tubes. “This is dry drowning.” My mind spun. “There is water in my lungs and I am going to die in my sleep.”
Needless to say, I didn’t die. But a few hours later, I woke up again with a deep cough. “Either this is dry drowning or I have Covid.” My chest was tight, I couldn’t breathe and the coughing was non-stop. How? How did I have my best pool swim ever and, hours later, feel like a bag of dirt? I got up, waited to feel better and did, but when the coughing started again, I opened an antigen test: Positive. Ugh!
This didn’t make any sense. I am the one who always wears a mask: at work, in grocery stores, in change rooms before I swim…. I had my vaccine and my boosters….. How did this happen? But, like all things Covid, the only thing I could do was accept that I had it.
A line that I often use is “You don’t have to like it, but you have to be able to accept it.” This summed up my feelings perfectly. I was frustrated that I got sick. It meant that I was about to lose at least a week of running and cycling. Public Health measures also meant that I would miss at least ten days of swimming and yoga. With 3 races in the next 10 weeks – Robbie Burns, the Chilly Half, and the New York City Half – I was not happy about being sick. It just wasn’t in my training plans.
But plans change. That is one of things that we have to be able to do in our training: adapt, be flexible. On Thursday, I finished my unexpected week of no running or cycling and, today, I am able to return to the pool and yoga studio. I realize that I am at the start of what is likely to be a slow 2 – 3 weeks of return to sport – not what I wanted but it is what it is. In the end, I still have my health, and I am grateful for that. If nothing else, Covid’s visit has forced me to take a step back and rest, to give my body the break that it needs before I start to move into the spring and summer race season. While my getting sick still does not make any sense, I do believe that things do happen for a reason. One day, I will figure out what that is.