Road to Vietnam, Week #5: Why, Body, Why?

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Lying in bed sick can make you re-evaluate what you spend a lot of time working on and thinking about.

I’ve got a sore throat and splitting headache bedeviling me after last week’s training schedule. This is what happens when your mind gets ahead of your body and you think you should be doing more than you can actually handle.

With my disordered sleeping patterns lately, I probably did it to myself. This week was the last straw with not getting anywhere close to seven hours of sleep any night. Training proceeded as usual in between bouts of driving through horrendous traffic to get to a few events.

Friday I knew I had pushed too hard when I had trouble regulating my temperature and heart rate during a long run. It didn’t help that I’d forgotten my Flipbelt and had to carry phone and car keys in my hands. After 30 minutes I cut out, drove to the gym, and completed the remaining time and mileage there. And then went for a swim.

Road to Vietnam #5
Ticking off the sessions.


It was still too much. On Saturday I got on my bike and rode out in Nuvali. I suppose I was already feeling out of sorts, but three near misses from cars just compounded my foul mood. Thankfully I had a bit of company riding around with Gail the last few 20 kilometers before I was done.

Road to Vietnam #5
Was a brilliant day but I hated life.

After a quick shower at a gym in Alabang and a pizza lunch, I headed back to Nuvali for the Nike Epic Run event. I had no idea we would be running on trails on loaner Nike Epic Flyknits, which definitely spiked my heart rate and stress levels. I’ll tell you more about this later this week, especially how nice those shoes were. But I cut out midway through the run.

Road to Vietnam #5
with the awesome 5:30 pace group

The next day I had a race kit for the Takbo.ph RunFest, but despite setting a really loud alarm I slept right through it and woke up 30 minutes before scheduled gunstart. Good thing I missed it, though; I went back to sleep and when I woke up I was nursing a sore throat and body pains.

It was Challenge Roth weekend and I was glued to Twitter and the official website for live results. I remember being crazy strong and never getting sick in the lead up to when I raced there in 2014, but since then my body has just been saying “Nope” to everything.

Road to Vietnam #5
Maybe sheer willpower drove me to do the things I did then.

I watched as Jan Frodeno set a new world record over the iron distance, as Daniela Ryf whipped the women’s field and came so close to breaking the world record for women, as the Filipinos who had signed up for this race crossed the finish line. And I really felt no urge to do another Roth. Maybe spectate, sure (it is EUROPE, after all!). Maybe do the marathon in a relay. But one finisher medal is just as good as another for my body, at this point.

As for half distance triathlons, I have been futilely chasing faster times for the last six years, but it’s not fun anymore. Especially when my body rebels like this — and when I look at my training and racing trends, it has been rebelling for quite a while. I just haven’t been listening.

I took a breath, and looked at my baby nephew who wasn’t around when I had raced in 2013 and 2014. He was wearing a Challenge Family t-shirt. The FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) receded, and I felt very glad to be right where I am.

Road to Vietnam #5
It’s about the athlete and the family.

At the end of the day, it’s all just exercise. I am so thankful I don’t need to make a living from racing, because it is a tough gig! At this point, training should be about taking care of myself and ensuring I am healthy, regardless of how fast or slow I can go. When I do that, then I can get from start to finish happy. The times are just a bonus.

Daniela Ryf said after she won Challenge Roth: “I’m just a girl who likes to swim, bike and run and that’s what I did today!” I’ll take that to heart as I continue my preparations for Challenge Vietnam.

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3 comments on “Road to Vietnam, Week #5: Why, Body, Why?

  1. Been reading assiduously all the logs and enjoyed them all or learnt something out of them. Today, it confirmed Long conversations I have had notably with Yo, we simply ought to be happy to do the sport we love, just to be there at the starting line of great places to discover! Hope you ll enjoy Nha trang and South Vietnam! Will follow you up on live track and on your next post

    1. Thanks! The airline is stressing me with baggage allowance but I hope to get that sorted :)

      Sometimes we get so caught up in the churn of races every year (aforementioned Fear of Missing Out) we forget the simple joys of this sport. :)

  2. I have found this app to be useful… Sleepbot. I found it useful in tracking my sleep pattern as it can be customized to shut off my wifi at night when on sleep mode. A goodnight sleep will reduce stress. Stress is the cause why our immune system bog down and makes us sickly. Take care Noelle. 😊

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