This week, I went to Bermuda for basically a long weekend. Four days really. A work reporting trip that was supposed to include a lot of triathlon-ing.
And then I got really sick. Maybe five hours after I landed, around 4 a.m. Really, really sick.
Sometime around the start of the 12 hours of throwing up, I passed out and hit my head on the shower stall. At least, that’s what I assume happened because I came to in the act of vomiting on myself, laying in blood on the floor of the shower. (When I told the PR staff for the trip that I was too sick to do anything and probably wouldn’t be leaving the hotel room, I downplayed this part. People sort of freak out when you say things like “passed out and hit my head.” But #realtalk guys, it was bad.)
Eventually, I was able to call down to the front desk. They wanted to send me to the hospital, but I didn’t even want to spend the energy having the argument. There wasn’t anything the hospital could have done, other than wait it out. I had food poisoning or the stomach flu, the cut on my head was bloody but small and shallow, and there’s no treatment for medium-sized concussions anyway. I say this not cavalier-ly, but from experience. The only thing to do was wait. For maybe seven hours, I waited on the floor of the bathroom, where I made myself a bed of towels, so I could throw up, lay back down, fall asleep for 20 minutes or so, throw up some more, writhe in stomach pain, pass out again on the bed of towels (which was quite handy, since it made a very soft cushion), and mostly just lay there. At one point, some hotel person asked if I was comfortable on the floor. “Actually, I am,” I told him. Around noon, I finally made it to the bed (and changed my clothes). Eventually, I stopped throwing up. Eventually, I ate a cracker and drank a glass of apple juice and a bottle of Skratch, and kept it down. Which was good, because, if I couldn’t keep fluids down, I was going to have to go to the hospital at some point and demand an IV. But it didn’t come to that. Eventually, around 8 or 9 p.m., I finally showered and cleaned out my head wound. You know those scenes in the movies when a character stands in the shower and blood water washes down? Yeah, it was like that.
Eventually, like the next day, I made it out of the hotel room and actually into Bermuda.
The whole point of the trip was that I needed to report a couple stories, about Bermuda as a training spot, but also about the country’s most famous athlete, Flora Duffy. So the premise was we’d do a mini-training camp. Only problem was: I still had to focus to even walk forward; trying to keep up with a world champion was out of the question. At first I managed 30 minutes of light floating in the pool, and eventually rode two hours and easy ran about 50 minutes over the weekend. But I still struggled to eat and if anything touches the back of my head it still hurts. So it’s been up and down.
Somewhere underneath the weakness and exhaustion, though, I think I felt a flicker of resolution. A glimpse at how the very best become the very best. And let me tell you a secret: there isn’t a secret. I could do this. (Not be a world champion, but you know, be faster.) Not today, or tomorrow, but eventually. The workouts are the same workouts we all do, just a little better, a little more focused, a little less blurry around the edges. I felt that for a second, under the throwing up. Lately, I’ve been waiting for some kind of resolve to sharpen, and maybe this was what I needed and now I feel it in my gut again. Or maybe that’s just my stomach still hurting.