Yesterday I visited Dr. Uma.
Dr. Uma is a hematologist.
I have been looking forward to this appointment, and also fearing it, since it was set up five weeks ago. I never suspected that my blood counts would be off when it was revealed that they were. I never expected once they were revealed to be off that things might not immediately right themselves. Likewise, when I went to see Dr. Uma yesterday I didn't expect things to not be corrected. After all, it's been close to 10 weeks now that I have been resting. However, lurking inside my brain was the knowledge that this was my third doctor's appointment dealing with my poor blood counts.What would I do and how would I feel if things STILL weren't back to normal?
The nurse took my blood. A resident asked me tons of questions. Then Dr. Uma appeared to tell me that everything looked just fine. My low WBC was likely not caused by over-training. I simply had a bad viral illness and my WBC had dropped as a result. It is normal for it to take 8-10 weeks for the body to fully recover from a very bad viral illness, she said. But now my WBC was fine, my RBC was fine, my iron stores were fine, my hemoglobin and hematocrit were fine. I was free to go and free to train. I think Dr. Uma was surprised at how thrilled I was with this news. There is nothing wrong with me! IMLP -- here I come!
In hindsight the worry about my low WBC was helpful to me. Most of you knew even more than I did how tired and burned out I was by the end of this season. I needed a longer break than the three weeks I originally allowed myself, and I was forced to take longer--forced to slow down. That is good. In my desperation to stay active during those long weeks I walked and jogged slow miles with my dogs in the woods. I also took up hot studio power yoga. (Thanks, Linda!) I've now attended five yoga classes in the last two weeks. I didn't know that yoga was missing from my life. Now I feel relieved that I no longer have to go without it.
I also feel less urgency. Stopping allowed me to contemplate other things that I have not exactly shelved, but casually neglected for a long time. Realizing my neglect felt both good and sad. It saddened me to realize how far adrift I had become from my other loves--gardening, walking in the woods, reading and writing. Triathlon requires a singular focus, and it was all I could do to maintain that focus and still be genuinely present for my kids and Andy.
The hard part now will be to integrate what I gained in the last 10 weeks into a more intense workout schedule. At first I thought to just add on... to ask myself to commit more hours per week with the addition of trail jogs with the puppies and yoga classes.
But I don't think I will do that.
I think I'm going to try to stay chill; try to accept that I may not be able to give triathlon such singular focus ever again. This may mean that I won't achieve certain goals I have set out for myself--like qualifying for Kona or ranking in top few percent of my AG nationally. Or, maybe, this is the attitude I need to achieve those goals... which is to say, the attitude of letting go of them.
I don't know.