I was on vacation last week. In Tulum, Mexico.
Now that I’m more experienced and wiser (read: older) I don’t usually stress about training too much on vacation weeks. I try to run and if I’m gone over a weekend I try to get a longer run in. I’m actually pretty confident in my fitness level at the moment and I was pretty relaxed about it.
I mean of course I biked 100 miles the day before I left … I mean let’s not be silly here or anything of course I was going to bank a big workout. And again of course I’d be back for the next weekend of workouts … I mean my family is well trained for this Ironman gig.
Tulum is a little beach town on the Yucatan peninsula about 90 minutes south by car from Cancun. We’ve been there twice. Last year we stayed at La Zebra. This year we stayed at Ana y Jose. It’s a good vacation spot. We preferred La Zebra as a hotel. This year we rented a car which was an adventure. We even got the federale shake down on the way out of town so the experience was complete.
There was a plan. It didn’t work but there was a plan.
There is one road and the traffic is super pedestrian friendly so my plan was to run daily for about an hour. And swim in the ocean and play with my kids. We’re fairly active so it would all be fine.
Sadly, it didn’t go according to plan. Well it did go according to plan for 2 days. Then I got totally laid flat with Montezuma’s revenge. I think it’s officially called travelers diarrhea. Anyway, on the third day we had a breakfast reservation at a nearby resort and I didn’t get up early enough to run so I figured I’d run later. I mean that probably wouldn’t have happened because of happy hour but anyway I didn’t even get that far. But then I couldn’t eat breakfast my stomach was in knots. After breakfast we went zip lining but my stomach was still all sorts of queasy and I had to quickly find a bathroom which was basically an outhouse. But boy was that a welcome site. I skipped the zip lining and instead passed out for 90 minutes in the car in the parking lot. My family rushed back thinking I was waiting for them only to have to bang on the window to wake me up. And then when we got back to the hotel I was basically stuck in the bathroom. It was terrible.
*** warning *** from here on there is talk of poop for a few paragraphs skip ahead if you don’t want to know ***
Do not drink the water
This probably happened because I got some local water in my system. We are pretty good travelers and know that we shouldn’t drink the water anywhere we go. So my guess is that it was in the shower or something. Tulum – like several parts of Mexico beaches doesn’t even really have any water system. It’s all trucked in and all of the water comes from filtered bottles and the ice comes in in bags. But they do have tanks that give water for showers and flushing toilets and stuff and I guess we got some into our bellies. Bleh.
Anyway, that limited my activities for the duration of the vacation. I did a lot of sleeping and not any exercising or much eating. The next day my daughter got it. To be fair hers is worse than mine – she even got a fever. And then on the last day even my son got it. I’m no stranger to GI distress … what endurance athlete is but this was crazy. We all literally pooped in our pants at one point or another. Disgusting but true and not like the end of an Ironman where you are gassy and afraid your fart can’t be trusted. Nope just all of a sudden … poop in the pants. Like an untrained toddler.
I kept it to myself when this happened. I was stunned because it caught me by myself but luckily I was alone in the hotel room and didn’t have to share my issue with anyone. It caught my daughter while she was falling asleep and was super dramatic – like 13 year olds can be. Still we were lucky because we were both in the hotel and while it was gross we were only near family and near the bathroom and fresh clothes. But my son got it in the airport on the way home. He’s 10 and has no shame. We were at Margaritaville eating a totally revolting breakfast when he rapidly stood up and said, “I think I just pooped in my pants!”
It was telling about my week that none of us were stunned at the table. He turned around and I inspected the outside of his shorts and told him I couldn’t see anything. Then I sent my husband to the bathroom with him to see if they could get him cleaned up. Of course, there was a brief marital battle over how I should have to deal with the poopie situation but in this instance I was a winner because they are both boys. Sadly for him all the clothes were already checked and we couldn’t find any “Viva Mexico” shorts in the airport. So, we had to make do. He tied my sweatshirt around his waist. It went straight into the laundry when it got home. And luckily it’s a short flight.
Home sweet home
I was hoping that I would be miraculously cured by being home. Not so much. Saturday I got up to go run with my friends. I was delayed with getting out of the house with many trips to the bathroom. But at this point I figured the colon was clear. I was wrong. I jogged half a mile and then urgently shuffled/ran a half mile to the bathroom which had not been cleaned and was super gross but I was so thankful to get there in time. And then I walked the mile back. Pathetic workout. Still I got home and slept for 2 hours after. Clearly still under the weather.
Sunday morning I got up and hid the eggs for the kids. Ate breakfast and took my time. Then intended to do an easy 60 minute spin. However, I only made it 45 minutes. I was exhausted and my stomach and my leg muscles were cramping. But at least I didn’t need a 2 hour nap after so I took that as progress.
I actually feel okay as long as I’m not doing anything. I ate a small regular meal for dinner tonight and while I did get abdominal cramps after I ate they didn’t last long. I have heard this lasts about a week. So I might have one or two more days. Bleh.
Mind over Matter
Today I woke up determined that I would be better. Just taking control of the situation. Mind over matter. I’m an Ironman and I can do this. I’m better.
I had pre-emptively cancelled my trainer session because I didn’t know how I’d actually be and my trainer has Ironman Texas this weekend. I think it’s from drinking water but in case it’s a virus I don’t want to share.
So I did my own weights in the garage and that was fine. It was sort of lame because I was cleaning and organizing the garage in between sets – this is why I can’t be trusted to work out by myself — but I did get some done. Okay fine – I skipped the push ups.
Then I swam at noon. I was nervous because I hadn’t had a good workout and I knew that I was still recovering. But I figured I’d give it my all and see what happens. It was long course. That was a nice surprise. I’m an oddball and I love long course. Love it. I miss all the intervals because I’m slow but I love the longer distance between walls.
I was fine. Totally fine. Swim swim swim. Totally fine. At the end in the last 3 50s of the kick set my feet started to cramp so I limped my way to the wall and called it a day. I hope this means I’m back on track.
Training for an Ironman is a long process. Or a half ironman or a marathon. I guarantee you something will happen. Sometimes they are show stoppers (severe injury – major life changes) and you can’t do anything about it. Sometimes it’s just life and how you roll with the unexpected is what makes the difference.
I hope you had a healthier week than I did. I wish you a healthy and productive training week this week! Thanks for reading.