A little post-Cozumel 70.3 update

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Posted by: Heather Leiggi 10/17/2013 1:53 AM

Hindsight truly is 20/20. When I look back on everything that happened post-Syracuse 70.3, I don't know why more red flags didn't go off in my head. I'm gonna use ignorance as part of my excuse. I've been fortunate through most of my racing career to have suffered very few illnesses and injuries. I've had the occasional cold and flu and a few small injuries here and there but nothing that's really affected me for more than a few days. So when my recovery from Syracuse took extra long and I ended up losing most of my July training to illness and fatigue, I didn't really react. Sure I was annoyed and frustrated and antsy to get back to training but I but that was it. I probably should've been more curious. I mean, a month is a long time to not be feeling 100%. August came around and I was finally able to get back on a consistent training routine, but things still weren't right. My training days were up and down. I ran a few 5ks and my times were way slower than normal. I didn't feel like I was recovering well. Still more signs but I ignored them. We as athletes are all taught not to dwell on the bad days and focus on the good training days. I had enough decent days to convince myself I was fine, perhaps just a little tired from my lack of training in July and I did jump back into training pretty hard. So, I pushed on. I raced Timberman in the end of August, finishing 6th. Not a terrible result but I remember saying to my husband that I didn't feel great and I didn't have that next gear or any “spunk”. It was probably just because I hadn't raced in while, right? 70.3 Worlds Champs came before I knew it and we all know what happened there....DNF. This might be the first time I started to think that more was going on than just the typical training fatigue or an off day. But even then, when my coach suggested getting some bloodwork done, I scoffed. But I got the bloodwork done and since I still wasn't too concerned (plus I already had the trip booked) I headed down to Cozumel 70.3 2 weeks after 70.3 Worlds.I was so excited for this race too. Cozumel is beautiful, the race vibe was amazing, and the course was just the way I like, windy and flat. The transition area was set up in amongst palm trees. The water was so clear it was like swimming in an aquarium. I had a decent swim. And as I headed out on the bike, I hoped and prayed that my legs would feel better than in Vegas. They didn't. Then I flatted...then I crashed. Fortunately I had not been going very fast so I only ended up with some road rash on my hip and a few bruises. But it was enough for me to call it day. And that DNF really hurt! I cried a lot. My season had started off SO well with lots of PR's and a 2nd place at Syracuse. Now it was spiraling down the drain. I was staying in Cozumel until Wednesday so I swallowed all my feelings and did my best to enjoy Cozumel and some quality with my parents. I was lucky to even be here after all. And we did have fun. I took a snorkelingtrip with my dad (the snorkeling in Cozumel is amazing!), did some paddleboarding, drank lots of margaritas and explored the island. Then it was time to make the long trip home. Cozumel is a beautiful island but definitely hard to get to. The trip home was a taxi ride from the hotel, a boat to Playa del Carmen, a shuttle bus to Cancun airport, a plane to Newark and a 2hr car ride home. I'd still do it again in a heartbeat because I love the island and the race. So, what happened with my bloodwork...anemia. I was honestly shocked that anything showed up. There was probably more stuff going on this summer too (still working on that part) but of course I waited a long time. Lesson learned! When I got back from Cozumel and had a long talk with my coach, we decided to call it a season. I agreed it was probably the best decision but it was not the way I wanted to end the season. And it gave me no chance for redemption. I take a little solace in the fact that the beginning of the season started out well and I realize things could be worse. So, I am making the best of my downtime, catching up on life, spending time with friends, and enjoying a little extra wine...oh, and planning my comeback for next season :)

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Re: A little post-Cozumel 70.3 update    By Jennifer Harrison on 1/9/2014 7:58 PM
Heather: Glad you got blood work done and now have an answer....one you can fix. The R&R, good beer and some good iron-laden foods will help a ton. :)

Re: A little post-Cozumel 70.3 update    By Dawn on 1/9/2014 7:58 PM
I know I have not known you for too long, but you are an amazing athlete and such an inspiration! Get well, take care of yourself and I am sure you will be back next year stronger than ever!!!! We will even make sure you have a sign at Timberman, now that is a reason to race!!! LOL Dawn

Re: A little post-Cozumel 70.3 update    By Nancy Smith on 1/9/2014 7:57 PM
So sorry to hear Heather, but I know you will be back stronger then ever. As I read your story I can relate. Had all the same symptoms, had blood work, and lymes test, and nothing showed up. 3 weeks ago I ended up at the Dr with some spots on my low back and butt, and Dr told me I had shingles. "No, thats an old peoples disease" I told him.. "It is a stress response he told me" So, I feel alot better now, but energy is low. I had already signed up for Austin along with my son that lives in Denver, so I am going to try and do this,, and see how it goes. For you, enjoy your down time, and the trip to Prague if you go. Maybe I will see you at Fernandos. Hugs Nancy

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