I have had a number of set backs over the past six months, but I have let none of them stop me from doing everything I can to follow my dreams.
I haven’t done an update since September when I competed at the Junior Road World Championships in Florence, Italy. Apart from being able to say I achieved my ultimate goal for 2013, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for me at my first ever world championships. After a solid two months racing all over America and Canada, I was able to use all the racing fitness and experience that I had gained through the trip to build up for the Junior Worlds only a month after I returned back to New Zealand. Over those weeks leading up to the championships, I trained harder than ever before. Every training session I did, the closer I came to being in the best form of my life for the event – until a few days before the time trial.
It was just my luck to come down with what I thought was a flu virus just before my time trial at road worlds; luckily I was able to manage it for that day. Apart from feeling a little under the weather, riding a time trial at a World Championship event equipped with a team radio, a lead motorbike, a follow car and screaming spectators lining the streets, it really is one of the most thrilling experiences you will ever have.
Being bed ridden the day before a Road Race is not exactly the best preparation I had in mind for a race that I had been dreaming about racing since I started cycling. There was nothing else I could do except hope for the best.
Warming up, I was not feeling great but I tried not to think about how I was feeling and wanted to just focus on the race ahead. The first two laps of the race up the climbs I knew something was not right, I couldn’t even push myself to get up the front on the climbs. It seemed like my body just wouldn’t let me push past that pain barrier. I just didn’t have the fire and drive of determination that I usually race with. I was pretty disappointed with how the race went for me, after knowing that I was capable of doing better if I had been in my proper race form that I had trained for.
After a bit of time off the bike, I was back into training and doing some races for fitness. My next target was Elite Road Nationals in my home city of Christchurch.
After only a few weeks of training, I seemed to be getting extremely tired every afternoon and having to have a nap of two hours everyday to get through the afternoon or else I would feel like a zombie with no energy at all. I thought maybe this was because I was training reasonably hard and doing some longer rides.
It wasn’t until I was racing Tour De Vineyards over New Years, that I had the same feeling in the racing as I did at Worlds, minus the flu virus. It wasn’t long before I was barely hanging in on the stages and having absolutely no energy afterwards. I made the decision to not do anymore damage to my health and pull out of the Tour on the second to last day. This was highly disappointing for me as I didn’t know why I was feeling the way I was. I took a few days off the bike and got back into some efforts for the nationals the following week. Again, I had absolutely no drive and energy to push myself in any efforts that I did. I’m normally a very determined person and I never need any pushing to do my training or efforts to the best of my ability. I knew that this wasn’t just the usual tiredness from training, so I decided to get some blood tests done.
Two days before the Elite Nationals I was diagnosed with Under Active Thyroid Syndrome, a lifelong condition that can be managed with a synthetic hormone medication. Its basically a condition where your Thyroid gland has been attacked by a virus that has caused it to stop producing the hormone that controls your metabolism causes fatigue and weight gain. I was un-aware that I had this condition since mid 2013, I had still been pushing myself through training despite feeling these symptoms to cause a state of Chronic Fatigue that I thought was a flu virus when I was at Worlds.
To be honest, although having this condition is not a positive thing, I was relieved to finally have answers. It was definitely frustrating not knowing why I was so fatigued all the time and gaining weight to be the heaviest I had ever been right before Worlds, despite a strict diet and loads of training!
Since the diagnosis, I have been taking it step by step to get back up to full training, so far its going good and I’m getting closer to being able to get back into racing and goal setting. Onwards and Upwards!
Until next time,