It was a strange week last week. I felt in limbo, but wasn't sure why. Tired, listless and waiting. Friday morning the tiredness turned to exhaustion far beyond what a normal working week with a little riding should evoke. Dragging myself around Hereford from site to site did nothing to help and by the time I was home it was clear the weekend would be a write-off.
Proper viral illness, the kind that chills you, burns you and makes you feel like you have been through the wringer.
The annoyance of a lost weekend turned to gratefulness when, by Sunday, solid bed rest (rather than having to work through it) had progressed the virus beyond systemic and I was able to get up and feel on the mend, albeit with that 'underwater' feeling of a head cold.
Monday, however, threw another challenge in, when the time of the month arrived all singing, all dancing in a 'I'm going to make you wish you were dead' way. The lack of riding had robbed the system of all those natural painkillers. No lovely endorphines left, just asprin. Oh, how it was needed. Luckily, with enough reporting to fill two days, I waded through the paperwork in batches, trying not to throw up when the cramps became some of the worst. Having experienced a lot of intense pain through injury, I can concur, menstruation is becoming a major issue in my later years as month by month the agony worsens. I never thought I could become scared of my own body.
Finally though, the tides began to turn on Tuesday and I was able to get out. I had to get out, as I was behind at work and knew I needed to be back, up and running (around) Wednesday. Feeling constantly dizzy, almost drunk, I went for a short walk in the VFFs, to feel the fresh air on my face and cold ground beneath my feet. Totally empty legs, but getting moving helped ease the last of the cramps, ease the pressure on my sinuses. It was wonderful to be on the hills for 20 minutes under a blue sky. Plasticine mud squeezed between my toes, short stubby grass felt like carpet and I felt free as the VFFs moulded around the rocks of North End Hill.
By 7 pm I was caught up, prepped for the week's site works and feeling like normal life was taking back over. Still dizzy and pondering whether it was partly an inner ear issue due to the head cold, I headed out to trundle about in granny gear on the 29er. People are often so critical of others 'you should be resting' 'you shouldn't be riding' 'you should listen to your body'.
Well I was listening to my body and I knew, through years of experience, that it was time to get moving. Not race around getting out of breath, just moving without heavily breathing, just moving to get the blood flowing and aid the immune system do it's work, just moving to relieve the stiffness from sitting around, the stress from work, and to be out there.
By the time I was home, the dizziness was gone.