Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things I Can Blame on Celiac Disease Part 1: My Lackluster Wrestling Career

As a wrestler, I was, shall we say, a bit frustrating to my coaches.  In practice I showed great potential, but when the time came to actually perform I habitually disappointed.  I generally felt terrible most of the day on match day, couldn't stay hydrated, had a fraction of the stamina that I had in practice during the actual match, and generally lacked the motivation to do what I was supposed to be doing.  I just wanted to go home.  At the time I chalked this up primarily to nerves, which I'm still certain played a role.  But in hindsight I think something else was going on as well.

At the time (early to mid 90s), conventional wisdom held that, nutritionally speaking, the best way to prepare for a sporting event was to "carb up" a day or so beforehand to build up some reserve energy.  As such, it was not uncommon to have team pasta dinners the day before a match, or at the very least to eat a hearty dose of pizza or somesuch.  Since this typically came after weigh-ins, these were pretty substantial feasts, and certainly the most food we'd get at one time all week.

This, in retrospect, was not the smartest thing to do given my celiac disease.  Couple that with the immune-boosting effects of the fight or flight response and it's not a huge logical leap to conclude that this had a lot to do with my lackluster performances.  Eventually, in an attempt to reduce this effect, I started "eating light" on match day, which for me at the time meant eating a lot of crackers and toast.  Oops.

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