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Feeling sorry for myself

The misery of being ill

Being ill sucks. 2011 hasn’t gotten off to the racing start that I had hoped for. Struck down with the Magicalia office bug at the end of last year, I spent the two week Christmas break very much under the weather. I didn’t mind so much though: the roads covered in ice, freezing temperatures and many family engagements meant being unable to ride actually worked in my favour. So I concentrated on resting and readying myself for the New Year.

The New Year duly rolled around, and with it a keenness to get out on the bike and start preparing for the year ahead. Still recovering however, I ventured out for a couple of tentative rides. I didn’t feel too bad, but I knew my body was still recovering. I could feel it in my lungs. But the legs felt good so I plodded on, hopeful that some light exercise might help the body.

I was wrong (of course I was wrong). But it was too soon. I made the fatal error of doing too much too soon, and a week after declaring myself fit; the illness struck me down again. I suffered a relapse.

Only this time it hit me even harder. A case of sinusitis caused serious agony and cycling was once again pushed to the back of my mind, with all thoughts turning to recovery. And, as I write this it’s been nine days since I last turned a pedal. The height of my current exercise routine is the run for the bus in the morning.

It feels like forever. It might as well be forever.

My increasingly pessimistic mood hasn’t been helped with having to listen to friends, colleagues and forum contributors of RCUK talk about how well their riding/training is going, how good they’re feeling at this time of year. How many miles they’re getting in. the excitement of planning the year ahead, talking excitedly about sportives to be entered, races to take part in, cycle challenges to be penciled into the diary.

I’ve run completely out of motivation. It’s at an all-time low. I can’t even begin to think about the year ahead, make plans for epic challenges and holidays and plan a sportive and race season, while I’m not even able to be out on the roads ‘getting the miles in’.

But here’s the thing. It’s not all doom and gloom. Well, not quite. All my time not riding, not worrying about how many hours a week I’m managing, has actually allowed me to assess what I really want out of this year. I’ve realised a few things about myself, realised what I want out of cycling.

For a while I worried that the year is over before it has really begun. January is nearly out and I’ve logged a measly 11 hours. But the season ahead is a long one. While I realise now that I will have to be more realistic and reassess the fitness gains that I had hoped for this year, I feel like this isn’t the setback I originally thought it would be.

Far from being a setback, this period of sickness might, and it probably sounds odd to hear me say this, be the best thing that has happened to me this year. Then again, I could be completely wrong and I have a nightmare of a season.

If one thing is for sure, I know I’ll have fun finding out.


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