Back in October or so, I decaffienated.
For a long time, I enjoyed consistent energy levels; I woke up, I went through the day, I sat with Ethel in the evening or went out to meeting and errands. Alles klar. No huhu, cobber.
Then I got a cold, then bronchitiis, then pneumonia (although it really felt like the same old monia).
Then, after the symptoms seemed gone, I started jogging again, and doing core work.
Now, I’m still way below the level of volume and intensity of training that I was doing before I got sick, but I can’t seem to make it through most days without some 5 Hour Energy.
And I’m not completely decaffeinated any more – some days I have to have (I say “have to have” but what I really mean is “seem to have to have”) one of Ethel’s diet cokes to make it through the afternoon.
This is because I am trying to get my body back to the point that it was at the first of January. And my body doesn’t want to do that. My body wants to lay on the couch and eat Cheeze-Its and watch Buffy reruns. (It’s true. Sometimes, like today, I’ll have to take a short nap, and when I wake up, there’s a notepad by the bed, and I have a message: “Dear Jim. Please stop this silliness and get me some Cheeze-Its and we’ll hand out on the couch and watch Buffy. Sincerely, Your Body”).
This is the “Valley of Fatigue” – I once read that phrase in a marathon training book, and it sure seems descriptive. It’s what one’s body goes through while ramping up training – mileage or intensity, or both. It means that most of the rest one gets is used up by the body repairing itself, so not much of the rest goes into refreshing the mind or spirit. At least, that’s the way that it seems to me.
At the end of this process, when one climbs out of the valley of fatigue, then life is wonderful. I turn a corner and have plenty of energy and vim and vigor. (What is ‘vim’? – there it is: energy, enthusiasm. Yep). But down in the valley – valley so low – it’s often hard to remember that that is the end result.
It’s like August in Arizona – yeah, I KNOW that it’s going to cool down. No, really, it will – by early October, life’ll be great again. But, as John Cougar Mellencamp says,
“It’s a sad, sad, sad, sad and lonely feelingWhen you’re living on the in-betweens”
That’s what the Valley of Fatigue is like – living on the in-betweens. In between the rest of illness and the recovery from the climb.