Do The Things.

All this down-time with my STUPID ITB Syndrome is allowing my brain to go into overdrive. So here’s yet another blog. Yay.

It is slowly dawning on me that, as I’ve grown up, my answers to choices have gone from “NOPE, I’m quite happy being average, thank you” to “Fuck it, yes. I wish to be fabulous”.

Why? Because every day teaches me that life is short, that’s why. I’m only here for a tiny tiny bit of time (y’know, in the grand scheme of things) and while I’m here, I want to do as much as possible. So, why wouldn’t I challenge myself, test my limits, improve my strength, stamina and self-belief, do things that make me really fucking happy?

Should that take balls? I dunno. I don’t *think* so though…. I am often described as confident, outgoing and gutsy. Truthfully, I’m horribly conflicted and believe me, I spend more time questioning my own decisions than anyone else does(I’m awfully good at making awfully bad decisions…)! Although I appear to have “confidence” in myself, in some respects I really properly DON’T. I think it’s quite common to think that if you lack this quality, you can’t DO things. Well. I think that’s bollocks. Everyone has the inner strength to do anything. It’s just a case of finding that strength and using it to Do The Things you want to do.

What even IS confidence anyway? The following sentence keeps going round in my head and I can’t work out if it makes sense or not… Confidence isn’t knowing it will all be ok, it’s knowing you’ll be fine if it’s not.

I am almost certain it makes sense. That’s definitely my take on it, anyway. Because in reality, you never know what is going to happen. But you can, at least, reassure yourself that if whatever it is goes tits up, you’ll pick yourself, brush yourself down and move on to the next questionable life choice…

I’ve had many a crisis of confidence. My previous two blogs about my current injured status have been ever-so-slightly self-deprecating. I have had moments where I think Triathlon is going to break me.

Or is it?

If this yesterday’s “recovery” Turbo Session is anything to go by (thirty minutes at moderate cadence) then yes, it may well break me.

At the risk of coming across as harsh, I’ve always struggled to understand people who don’t DO things. I don’t mean people who don’t do things because they don’t want to. I mean people who maybe-kind-of-think they want to do something but don’t think they can.

We all have our own battles inside our heads, which is why I desperately don’t want to be perceived as flippant here, (judgmental, I’ll accept. I’m horribly judgy) but I find it really sad when people miss out on things because they don’t believe they have what it takes to do it.

I’m not even talking about running or swimming or cycling anymore. I mean just EVERYTHING from deciding to take out a gym membership to telling that bloke you fancy that you, well, fancy him.

With the release of This Girl Can there has been a marked increase in chat about having the “confidence” to get off the sofa and out the door in your trainers. (I was hoping they’d release one saying Men Can too, but I suppose there’s more of a profitable market for encouraging us women folk to be hot AND ALSO healthy AND ALSO successful AND ALSO mums AND ALSO fit everything in AND ALSO make dinner, while it’s assumed, maybe, that men either can’t be arsed or are already so damn amazing that they don’t require clever marketing for encouragement… am I reading too much into this? Yeah…)

I didn’t want this to turn into yet another YAY YOU CAN DO IT blog about BELIEVING in yourself and GOING FOR IT and HAVING FAITH. It’s more a case of saying “fuck it” once in a while and doing what you want to be proud of yourself in your own mind. Yeah, ok, you might get injured or hurt or a criminal record (just kidding… please don’t use this as motivation for breaking any laws. DISCLAIMER: I am not telling you to say “fuck it, I’m well punching my stupid neighbour in the face”)…. OR you could find out that you can run really far, or swim really fast or that actually that bloke you fancied really fancied you back.

Take a punt. Take matters into your own hands. Do what makes you happy.

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Diagnosis Almost Murder

WARNING: CONTAINS SELF PITY AND WHINING.

“It’s not a Labral tear, Ginnie.” Said the doctor.

“You’re sure? Like…. Positive? Because Google said…”

“STOP GOOGLING. I’ve been doing this a long time. It’s almost absolutely 100% IT Band. Google that if you have to. And see your physio. AND NO RUNNING.”

So there we go then. IT Band Syndrome. PhysioDan is in agreement. And I am still in pain. Albeit because Dan spent an hour kneading my leg like dough today. It hurt so much I almost punched him.

No running. No swimming. Some limited cycling. SOME. As in half an hour at a gentle pace. And then ice and then two days rest.

*googles gentle pace*

Just as well it’s not a triathlon that I’m training for.

Oh wait…

Panic. Sheer panic. And then depression. And now The Rage builds inside me with every minute I’m not releasing “the bad miaows” (stress). I hate this. AND IT IS ALL MY STUPID FAULT.

Cue self pity. ALL THE SELF PITY. And the worrying. And the paranoia. And the fear.

Training is my therapy. And now I’m back to sitting about with ice on my hip like I’m 86. Stress levels at work are increasing and I have lost 80% of my thinking time.

Being injured or “temporarily inconvenienced” has its benefits in that for the first week I didn’t feel bad napping or sleeping longer or reading. But now (although totally ridiculous and complete bollocks) it’s like I can feel my fitness, muscle tone and stamina disappearing.

My brain isn’t coping well with any of this. Stress in the office means that I write MANY lists. Which I find very useful. These lists usually contain very many things, but yesterday I was struggling to remember that we needed eggs.

So I wrote another list:

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See? Eggs.

What did I buy in Sainsbury’s?

Oh yes of course. Grazia. After I got home (I walked, by the way) I cried for 15 minutes. I really wanted an omelette.

Stress, hormones, pain, tiredness, more pain and various other issues are all sitting inside my head and this is making my usually sparkly, ebullient personality dull and grey and a little bit annoying, if I’m honest. I’m snappy, irritable and withdrawn. And I HATE EVERYTHING. I can’t even pick a decent song on my iPod (and yes thank you there is a good selection…)

Reading back through this its all very woe is me. Which is a bit shite really because that’s not what this journey is supposed to be about.

However none of this is supposed to be easy and sometimes the journey gets a bit shit. My lovely, supportive buddies who encourage me endlessly need to know that, despite my enthusiasm, this is HARD.

Ready, steady, injury.

Well it was never going to last, was it? The heady highs of smugness induced success….

Maintaining my fitness over Christmas and new year meant that I could get cracking right away but if there is one thing I am good at, it’s going out too fast and too hard.

“Nonsense” says I.

Let’s just say that I have learnt many lessons over the last week.

Most significant of all: don’t do hill repeats the morning after squatting correctly with weights for the first time ever.

Also probably not wise to then team two days of walking around a trade show with a half hour high cadence bike session and a 4km run around Hammersmith.

*slow claps*

Yes. It was all going so well. The pain began as a niggle in my Piriformis (oooh err…) which, following roller work and stretches eased and then appeared 24 hours later focused in on the actual hip joint with a revolting crunch and shooting pain with every step. Marvellous. Makes a change from knees, posterior tibialis and IT Band issues then…

And now I’m back to being anxious and scared of food, while furiously googling “sore hip” and “runners hip injuries” then crying as WebMD lines up Labral Tears and bone cancer as possible diagnosis. “I’ve absolutely torn the cartilage. The crunch is definitely bone on bone” I’ll need surgery. OH GOD.

When I called PhysioDan on Wednesday, he answered the phone with “Alright Kiddo! What’s broken now?!”

Sigh.

I’ve become defeatist ALREADY. Which isn’t like me. I’m usually alarmingly determined. But I’ve typed “I can’t do this” so many times that I’m actually really truly starting to believe that. Which is ridiculous. Of COURSE I can do this. Of course I can. Yeah?

The need to constantly justify rest is overwhelming. Yet rest is essential and totally unavoidable. Even when you’re not injured, preparing for any endurance event should include periods of rest and recovery. We all do The Justification though. Yup. Don’t even try to argue. If you don’t chat about it on social media, to get support from others (that’s ok, by the way, we’re all here to support each other) you do it internally which is way, way worse because if you’re anything like me, the voices in your head will tell you you’re shit and useless and not cut out for this and resting is for THE WEAK and you should HTFU and train through it.

I know I’m not alone in my suffering… My Twitter feed has gone from Christmas over-indulgence guilt to training updates and injury woes followed by the inevitable rest-guilt and anxiety.

To my colleagues and buddies, I must apologise as there is only one thing more annoying than someone who is training for an event: someone who is injured and also training for an event.

“Oh I should be running tonight but my calves are just a bit too tight”

“I’d go for a swim but my shoulders been niggly and I don’t want to do any more damage”

Starting sentences with “my physio says….”

Yawn. I’ve become a BORE. I can hear myself saying all these things and it’s literally week 1 of 30.

Already, I eat, sleep and breathe triathlon. I’ve barely begun the journey that will take me to August. When I think back to this time last year, shin splints and chronic fatigue as well as general unfitness were doing everything they could to halt my marathon training. That and an almost overwhelming need to get out of every run that I could “oh look. It’s raining. Don’t want to be cold AND wet…”

Happily the days of being a Weather-Phobe are behind me. As is the unfitness and thankfully the shin-splints. I’m fitter and stronger than I was before, physically at least. I’m sure I’m mentally stronger too but that doesn’t make coping with an injury (however minor – because I realise that it could be a fucktonne more serious than a gammy hip…) any easier.

So. The plan? Doctor. Physio. Eventually strength and mobility work with Coach JP. Vanilla running (actually quite relieved. Fucking hate hills) vanilla cycling (actually quite relieved. Fucking HATE HILLS) and swimming as normal.

Not quite square one but almost.

And so it Begins…

I have registered for my first 70.3.

I’m sorry. I just read that back and it looked like it said that I have
registered for my first 70.3.

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Hahahahahahaha. Oh.

To the uninitiated, a “70.3” is a 70.3 mile race. Sometimes known as a “Half Iron Distance” triathlon. It consists of:

1.2 mile swim (open water)
56 mile bike ride (bollocks)
13.1 mile run (yep. A half marathon)

By the end of 2015, I will be a “Triathlete”. Until now, I cringed at describing myself as anything involving the word “athlete” due to my penchant for beers and cakes. Yes. Plural. SO MUCH PLURAL.

This was, of course, until I found out that golfers and darts players and fucking LAWN BOWLS players call themselves “athletes” and I thought NAH FUCK IT. I run 3 times a week, I turbo-train and ride 3 times a week, I PB’d on 100m Front Crawl last week. I say things like “I’m down on my protein for today” and “ugh. My quads are in tatters”. If they’re athletes, I’m an athlete. (Nope. Can’t. Still cringing).

Officially the 30 week plan starts on January 18th. But why wait? Intensity has been upped in prep. I (rather smugly) maintained my base fitness with ease over Christmas and New Year. I’ve begun Sufferfest (mixed emotions heavily weighted towards hatred) and hill repeats (pure hatred) and hope above all hope that they both get less shit.

After two sessions with my Strength, Conditioning and Nutrition coach (JP) I have discovered I am both weaker and stronger than I thought. My squats were “shite” (gutted. I thought advanced Pilates had schooled me well…) and I can do about 3 pull ups before I want to die. Happily, with mutual hard work and determination, I will be stronger and fitter and healthier than ever. I need JP to tear the pastries from my hangry paws…

Of course. Being me, I couldn’t start a training plan at just ANY time of the year… I had to start one in January. Which is during winter. And I live in Scotland. And it’s Buying Season. Thumbs up, Bean.

Buying Season is a good way to fuck with a routine. 4am starts, hotels in unsavoury locations, gym-less hotels etc etc. Where possible, I will not be beaten this year. Last year’s “oh but I’m soooooooo tired” excuses can bolt. I am determined. And celebrated this by replacing my former panic of “oh shit! Where’s my laptop” to “how will my TRAINERS fit in this case?”

Instead of wallowing in a hotel bed and then leisurely getting ready to go work, this morning I shoved on my trainers and hit a dreich, grumpy Hammersmith for a 5k run. This ended up being 4k. Because even after training for a marathon and a kiltwalk, my distance perception skills are UTTERLY DISMAL.

All in all, however, I am a changed woman.

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These are my Gel Noosa’s. They’re awfy subtle though, you may not see them in the picture.

The weather has mostly been 100% against me. Literally. There is a constant headwind no matter where the fuck I go at the moment. This happily means that the miles I do when the weather improves will feel so much more enjoyable. However, I do enjoy earning #hardasnails points by running in blizzards and cycling through storms and such-like mental things that would draw eye-rolls and sighs from those less fond of endurance.

What startles me more than anything is that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT. I am wired. To the point where my body is freaking out a bit and I cannot bloody sleep. I know this will pass. When I sleep, it is coma-like. But it involves hours of Busy-Brain beforehand. You would think all the training and buying and life stuff would make me sleep if I stop moving. It is quite the opposite…

And so it begins…

The months of hard work and grit and determination and a bit of sacrifice and a lot of fun. Oh and pizza.

YES PLEASE.