The Fear

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”  – Eleanor Roosevelt

It has been a somewhat challenging week both mentally and physically. Monday arrived and thanks to my unexciting bike fall and subsequent ‘faulty’ back muscles, I still couldn’t walk without a rest every 5 paces, and having spent most of Sunday evening checking, rechecking and thrice checking my drug stash, I really definitely absolutely didn’t have anything more powerful than paracetamol and ibuprofen. Not to sound all Trainspotting, but that definitely was not going to cut it.

I managed to snag an emergency doctors appointment first thing Monday, and somehow drive myself there. And with the soundtrack of muffled swearing I got myself into a chair in the echoey, germ-filled waiting room only to immediately be called and have to get up again.

I think the thing I love most about my doctors (apart from them having the drugs) is that they have been my doctors since I was a baby. So I can go in and he or she will say things like “what would you like for the pain? Here are the options. Feel free to say ‘all of the above’ if you want”

I said ‘all of the above’.

I got home, ate many things, took about 18,435 different medicines and settled into the only comfortable position: foetal.

PhysioDan massaged and used ultrasound and acupuncture to try and alleviate some of the pain and swelling around the base of my back. It definitely helped.

By Wednesday, and my trip to Glasgow to see the beautiful Hozier, I was able to walk and stand with only a bit of pain. Manageable. I did medicine maths and worked out that if I didn’t take anything for 12 hours before the gig I could have one beer.

I did the maths wrong. If I’d had any more than one I’d have been sound asleep by the speakers. Christ, I was chilled.

By Thursday I’d come over all sensible and made the tough but necessary call on the EMF10k. I grudgingly withdrew entry. It cost £30. THIRTY FUCKING QUID. But it is “only a 10k”. A distance I run often. It’s not my main focus. The only pisser would be going to spectate as my other half had entered with me. I wanted him to go for it. So at least he wouldn’t feel like he was abandoning his slow girlfriend.

Saturday turned out to be brilliant. Brian blasted the 10k in 53 minutes. The sun shone. I found my buddy Joe and we watched his lovely lady Ella cross the line of her first medaled 10k. She flew in and was looking strong at the finish. I got a sweaty hug off Steve Bonthrone and then found Brian and a Starbucks.

Lunch with friends and their wee ones followed. (I found out that wee Euan likes ‘Beekon’ almost as much as me. #MoarBacon) and then a trek round Edinburgh Castle allowed for some light hill-training. (Any excuse. Even if it’s a walk)

I didn’t mind being a Sherpa, really. Seeing as it was sunny. And my race envy soon disappeared when I remembered what the Arthur’s seat climb feels like.

Being a chronic over-thinker (some would say ‘female’…) I have spent a large proportion of this last week in a state of wobbly-lipped panic as I can almost feel my fitness evaporating and all my hard work fading away. This, I know, is rubbish. But with absolutely no indication of recovery time, and the added blow that I’m probably going to have to settle for a “less than average” finish time at Aberfeldy, I’ve felt like withdrawing more than once.

Not that I’m stubborn, or anything…

I won’t, of course. I will get better. I will do the thing I think I cannot do. I just won’t get enough miles in on the bike. Stella goes to The Bike Shop on Monday to have her gears checked. After that, I should have a bike that climbs hills. Bonus.

I now have to ease myself back into the disciplines very carefully. This happens far too often. It’s almost as if I’m not designed for this… I must try a new activity next year. I’m really terribly good at sitting. And also lying down. Can anyone recommend any events where you get a medal for sitting down and changing the Friends box set disc every 4 episodes???

This afternoon I swam. It was slow. I punctuated each set with stretching and back stroke between 200’s and 400’s to try and reduce the strain. It ached. I felt really bloody fed up. I’ve noticed my core isn’t engaging in the pool as it used to which is something I’ll need to address with more strength work. This feels like its causing my lower back to dip and bum to rise slightly in the water creating a dip in my back and allowing tension to creep in. Funny how I’ve not really noticed this until now.

Today’s effort. Way off my normal average pace of 1:46. (Incidentally, why is there an Elevation option here…?)


I’m going to try a turbo session tomorrow evening. And if that feels ok, maybe a jog of some description. I’m down, but I’m not out.

Because I’m such a chronic overthinker, last year, I made a point of not really thinking about the Marathon distance. I went out and did the training, but I wasn’t ever really scared of the distance until the night before. It was a marathon. It was 26.2 miles. I was going to do it. No doubt.

But this time it’s different. I’m not so scared of the swim, and the run will be what it will be (probs not so much a run, if I’m honest…) but the bike scares me a lot. 56 miles is cock all to experienced cyclists and to the ironfolk among us. But to someone who had basically forgotten how to ride a bike until last year, with a road bike that is only really just beginning to be functional now, it’s a fucking long-assed way. To put it in perspective, a wise man I know told me that 10 weeks out, I’d need to be at about 112 miles per week to see optimal gains on the bike.

Shite. My biggest bike week to date is 50 miles… I’m 10 weeks out. 8 if you include some tapering.

So. Now I get by. That’s the plan. I do what I can on the bike. I keep plugging away in the pool. I keep run-fit.

The Fear can fuck off.

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