Last Christmas, having had a long winter training period, I went on holiday with my family expecting to return relaxed & refreshed and ready to continue my training schedule. However instead I felt completely fatigued & desperately tired. My symptoms became progressively worse – dizziness, rapidly changing body temperatures, fainting episodes at the university gym & even an uncontrollable fit. By this time I knew there was something very wrong and so I took myself off to the doctors’s surgery where after several false starts & misdiagnosis I eventually got to see a doctor who actually listened to me. I had glandular fever!
Apparently my blood tests came back as some of the worst results the doctor had ever seen. My liver enzyme level was similar to that of a heavy drinking alcoholic & she was surprised I was still walking and not flat on my back in a hospital bed. I was ordered complete rest & sent home from university, causing me to miss weeks of lectures.
Five and a half months later, after many blood tests, care and rest, I was finally given the all clear but had missed the entire indoor season and the start of the outdoor. I had already returned to Uni but not allowed to train. It was agony watching all the other high jumpers and athletes hitting PBs and smashing records whilst I had been forced to rest, rest and yet more rest.
Getting Back in Action
It was after my return to Uni that I made a very poor decision. I was starting to feel normal again but depressed at my enforced inactivity. So stupidly I started to train and do circuits in my room. But this just hindered my progress and made me feel ill again. I had to stop. Eventually the day came when I was allowed to train 3 times a week, 1 hour at a time which was a miniscule amount in comparison to my usual week’s training schedule. But with this training plan I saw improvements to my general mood and get a slight “spring” in my step again which really made me take a more positive look at the situation.
My training sessions were increased to 4 times a week, however I was not allowed to let myself get out of breath or push my heart rate too high as this would trigger the illness to kick in again. Following more blood tests I was allowed to increase my training sessions to 90 minutes, however the illness was very much a presence and I found the sessions tough going. My squat weight fell down to 50kg to from 120kg and dead lifts falling to 60kg from 100kg. But by now I knew I just needed to be patient, my strength would return.
I am now back to full training and am working through this season in preparation for next season; make a full recovery and strong comeback. It was incredibly upsetting to have to withdraw from BUCS indoors & outdoors, European Junior Championships and both the U20 and Senior British Championships this season. But I am now looking forward to next year and to what level I can push myself to achieve after missing out massively this year.
Working with Cedar Hall helps to keep my body working at its beat and throughout my illness the team have been hugely supportive of me and my progress. Now that I am able to train fully again I will be having treatments to ensure my body is well looked after and functioning properly.
by Poppy Lake – High Jump