Monday, April 27, 2009

A bad chest cold, a weightlifting competition, a surprising diagnosis

I returned home from California on Friday, the 24th, feeling tired from the long day of traveling. When I was out there towards the end of my stay, I caught a nasty chest cold with fever. I was still coughing but the fever had been gone for about two days. The following Saturday I went to the club to determine the extent of the degradation having last lifted Monday at Myles-Ahead in CA. However, unless I keeled over, I was still intent on competing on Sunday in Fairfield, CT for the Sacred Heart University Olympic Weightlifting Competition. Also, I felt the platform experience would be worth it regardless of how much I lifted.

I woke up Saturday morning feeling tired and still coughing. After coffee and breakfast I felt better and headed up the club. My plan was to work up to some heavy snatch singles and a few light clean and jerks. I started very light with a long bar-only warmup. I then moved on to light hang snatches, some snatch balances and squat snatch drops. I even PR-ed on a 45kg muscle snatch and 55kg hang power snatch. At that point, my Tee shirt was completely soaked, so much so that I had to change it. I started doing some full squat snatches and worked up to a few 60kg singles. When I missed badly with an attempt at 65kg, I didn't panic knowing I was still recovering. Instead I completed the session with a few c&j stopping at 70kg single.

Normally the day before a meet, the lifts should be very light but in this case, not lifting since Monday, I had to push a bit so I wouldn't' be too shocked from the heavier weights when I got the competition platform.

I didn't sleep very much at all Saturday night as the weather turned unexpectedly very hot and my upstairs bedroom was steaming. Also, I was dry hacking again. Once more coffee and a solid breakfast got be feeling much better. I made it to the weigh-in on time, weighing in at 82.68kg just .02 kg less than my last meet. I also introduced myself to jovial meet director Gary Valentine and was able to extend a warm greeting from Paul Marini, one heck of a nice guy and fellow master lifter that I had met at Myles-Ahead. Paul had trained in Gary's three car garage a decade or so previously and they remained good friends. Gary of course remembered Paul and gave me a huge smile and big hug for him.

Unfortunately, Coach Fuller was a no-show and as I found out later that evening, his car was still in the shop. To his credit, he had sent an email the previous day containing both his suggested openers/warmups together with a warning about his car problems and the possibility of not making it to the meet.

Furthermore, I got so completely involved watching the women lifters compete (there were some spectacular lifts), that when they announced the combined the 77 and 85 weight classes (no lighter men's classes in this competition) I didn't realize I would be called so soon .. for some knucklehead reason I thought they would do all the 77s first.

With only a couple of lifters before me to start this session off, when they called my name for a 64kg opener (I had planned to adjust this depending on how my warmups went), I had just gotten my lifting shoes one and had finished a few bar warm-ups and one 40kg power snatch when the one minute timer started .. hardly enough to get these ole-bones moving and build a little confidence.

I went out and badly missed my first two attempts. On the first attempt, I almost dropped the bar on my head before ditching it. For the second one, the pull was very weak .. the 64kg also felt more like 90kg .. ugh! Denis Reno, the meet announcer, who knows me will from the Excel club, asked where was my coach was .. I replied "you're looking at him" and proceeded to explain what happened. He cut me short, smiled and said no problem, and with the two minute clock running, told me to just relax and gave me some cues (none of which I remember). With the only one at this weight and feeling extreme pressure, by a some miracle granted to me by the weightlifting gods, I made my third attempt with a big pull, wide stanced, mini-squat power snatch .. VERY ugly but legal (three white lights) and a meet PR nonetheless. I will pay MUCH more attention next time!

With plenty of advance notice for the c&j, and a well timed set of warmups this time ending with a decent 80kg, I opened with 83kg which I made easily. I then hit a meet and overall PR with 87kg. Continuing to follow the template we discussed, I went with a third attempt at 90kg which resulted in a messy clean (I pulled it very high and didn't squat under it enough) and came close but the missed jerk.

In all, a reasonable showing especially in light of how poorly things started off. I do know now that 70/90 is around the corner with proper trainiing and a focus on good technique.

Finally, having had the great coaching and lifting experience at Myles-Ahead that even with the issues of a bad cold and less than optimal day-of-the-meet handling, I was still able leverage off it and perform under pressure.

On Monday morning I was still hacking away and getting very concerned. The news about a possible swine flu epidemic didn't cheer me up either. As a result, I called my doctors office and got the nurse. After explaining my symptoms, she insisted I get over right away and see one of the other doctors available. When I got there, they asked to wait outside the main waiting room and gave me a face mask to wear. When I finally saw the physician and was examined, he insisted I get a chest xray and gave me a subscription for a powerful antibiotic to take for ten days. He explained that he felt I was beyond the influenza stage since I didn't have a fever but he could hear fluid in my lungs and was concerned that I had pneumonia. I was very surprised at that diagnosis but went along and got my xray shortly afterwards. I did ask the doctor that if I did have pneumonia could I still exercise. He said only if I felt well enough.

The next day the nurse from doctor's office called and explained that the radiologist had discovered a small dark spot on the bottom of my right lung indicative of pneumonia. She told me to continue with the antibiotics and that should clear everything up. I was feeling very upbeat and my cough had almost completely subsided. As a result, I decided to attend the Tuesday evening Olympic lifting session at the club. This turned out to be a mistake as I did way too much and that evening I had a relapse of a bad case of night sweats. In the morning I was hacking again .. no more lifting until I get a lot more rest.


Colin said...

Rest up and do all you have to to get well again. My brother had a case of it a few months back and it really knocked him sideways.

It's astounding that you were able to set PRs!!

Franklin said...

Thanks, Colin, I'm feeling better but its still too soon to resume lifting .. maybe next week if all goes well.

Taikei Matsushita said...

Rest Well Franklin!

Franklin said...

Thanks Taikei, I'm doing much better with the additional days off.