I competed this last Saturday and took the silver at the No Gi Mundials. It was the first time that this tournament has been held. I'm glad it's the last tournament for the year and I have some time to rest.
Since late September, I had a cold and then some strange symptoms that never went away in addition to being tired all the time. I was finally diagnosed with Epstein Barr Virus after Thanksgiving.
For those that don't know (which included me until I got it), almost everyone has it. I've read between 70 and 95% of the population has it. If you have ever had "MONO", you have the virus. Most people get it as a kid. But not everyone that has EBV gets Mono. Just most. The main "symptom" of EBV is Mono. The virus never goes away. It just goes dormant. For some people, they will have Mono once and never have to deal with it again. For others, it can be a long and (literally) exhausting journey. (DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor. If you want more info, google it) I'm hoping mine will be the former and that it will just be a part of the end of the year 2007.
So, I think it definitely affected my performance this weekend. I was not able to get to where I wanted to be in the weeks prior with my conditioning and that had a huge effect on my performance both mentally and physically. I usually taper off and rest for a couple of days before competition to give my body a chance to recover from the hard training. When you are in great condition, you can go as hard as you want and not worry about gassing. This time, I didn't get to train as hard leading up because of the exhaustion and yet the muscles were even more tired than if I had trained hard!!!
On top of that, I had to make weight, which again, is never usually much of a problem if I can train the way I want and know. But this time it was a struggle.
There are always things that need attention and can make you lose focus. Hopefully, the distraction can be made into a positive distraction or be used re-focus in a better way prior to competition.
I tried to stay as close as I could to my usual gameplan and made adjustments when necessary. I made weight and went in and fought. My body had some unusual reactions to the stress of competition. It was difficult and I hadn't experienced it before. Even now, two days later, some parts of my body are in a lot of pain...like having done the worst workout of my life and having no energy on top of it. It feels like every ounce of life or energy has been sucked out of me.
Would it have been wiser to not have competed because of my condition (or lack of condition)? (pun intended) Who knows? I guess that takes us back to the question of why someone competes. That question always rears it's head.
But now I will rest a bit and maybe do more relaxation and meditation. I've noticed that my body has been carrying a lot more tension in the past few months. I try to notice it and relax but it keeps sneaking up on me.
And more research on EBV...
If you have had experience with EBV and want to share, please do!