Every year or so, usually after a few months of running myself ragged, I go through a two-week period of serious enthusiasm. I mean, I am JONESED. I’m getting stuff done. I’m up late, sans caffeine, and then up early again the next morning with a big smile on my face. I tell myself that I must be doing something right; I must be eating right or doing really well with whatever exercise regime I’m on, or that maybe I’ve just biologically hit my stride, because, clearly, all this energy is so great.
Then I get the Plague.
What kind of plague varies, but it almost always looks like this: fever, chills, headache, stiff neck and general hit-by-a-train feeling. And so on Friday, after almost two weeks to the day of not sleeping at all, after just an insanely chaotic morning, I got in my car to start driving to my monthly clinic in Southern Virginia and felt my throat start to tickle. And I sighed. Because I knew what was coming.
Things have been going great. I was on the road almost every weekend in April, with the first show at Morven, then one weekend off, then my Tri, and then a clinic in central Virginia. I was scheduled the same way for this month, at a show at Morven last weekend (where my students were brilliant), then this weekend’s clinic, then Lexington, Va., next weekend.
I’ve been teaching like a fiend, just the way I like it. I’m showing a wonderful client horse next weekend, who is going smashingly, and Johnny has been an absolute hoot to ride, making oodles of progress in such a short time. We’ve had some incredibly beautiful weather days, so triathlon training, part 2, has been going great. And I’d planned on coming home from this clinic Saturday in time to host a dinner party to introduce my friends to the new man in my life, who I’d had my eye on for a while before he asked me to dinner about 3 hours after I wrote my last blog (proving the Cosmos has a pretty quirky sense of humor, but I’m learning to roll with it).
Until I felt that little tickle in my throat.
I stopped at a CVS along the way and got some Airborne, which I knew wouldn’t work, but I did it anyway. By the time I arrived at Sally Run (it’s about a 4.5 hour drive) I was feverish and cold. I fought my way through five lessons, which I can’t tell you anything about, other than that my students there are super nice people who didn’t give me any crap about performing at half my best. I skipped dinner, went straight to bed and woke up 10 HOURS LATER with my body saying, “Nope, we’re done. Park it.”
Caroline, my host, is one of the nicest people on the world, and she was not only extremely gracious about canceling the second half of the clinic, but also forbidding me to leave until I’d parked my tail back in bed. (Total hours slept: 12. Insane.) I finally did feel well enough to drive home, where i parked myself back on my couch for another 12-or-so-hours, did teach a little Sunday, and then sought refuge at a mercifully-open-til-6 Doc In A Box shop, because at that point I couldn’t hear anything out of my left ear (a new symptom for the annual plague).
The diagnosis is Strep, probably the third time I’ve gotten it in my adult life. I’ll be on antibiotics, and I’ll be fine. My left ear is normal again. I’m going to press on a little bit today—I’m going up to New Jersey to ride Ella with Michael for two days, which will be easy, and I’m SO EXCITED because she’s going BRILLIANTLY, wahoo, and that’ll perk me up. But I’m not doing anything other than that, even though it is stunning running weather, even though I am DESPERATE to get some exercise, even though there are ten thousand other things I need to get done. I am going to be a (mostly) good patient, so I can get better as expediently as possible, and then run myself ragged some more.
I don’t find it hilarious at the time, but once I start to recover, I always get a chuckle, because this has been happening to me on a regular basis since I was a teenager. And it’s almost always this time of year. As a kid, I’d push like hell through the end of the academic year and then leap right into horse show season. As an adult, it’s the last few weeks of Florida, then hitting the ground running through the chaos of every-weekend-on-the-road in April and May that sets me on my back.
What’s Einstein’s definition of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result? Color me crazy, Albert. Maybe I’ll learn for next year.
(Wouldn’t count on it.)