Despite leaving Higher Education 10 years ago this year, I can still vividly remember the immediate aftermath of an exam: relief that the studying, cramming, all-nighters and red-bull (yuck) binges were done, coupled with crippling anxiety because you and your mates compared answers to The Big Question and your answer was different to all of theirs….
Why did we DO that to ourselves???
I thought I’d left all that behind until I started endurance training.
Now that most us are in our build phases as we approach our various races and events, Facebook groups are awash with “I’ve done this, what does everyone think” and “OMG I’ve only done this should I be doing that?”. It all makes for anxious reading. Especially if you’re injured, ill or in my case…. just plain exhausted.
I try to ignore most “comparative” chat in relation to Lakesman, because my goal is mine and mine alone. I can’t wait to meet everyone and share in the enjoyment and pain of the day, but seeing someone’s 6 hour road ride when all I’ve managed is 2 hours on a turbo trainer (and those two hours were wholly shite) can very occasionally fill me with The Fear.
I try to stick to encouraging my fellow Lakesman trainees and not let their progress detract from my own, however small it is in comparison.
I’ve been letting the world in. I’ve been letting Thoughts pile up. Because of this, the last week has seen me experience a massive crisis of confidence.
I feel drastically under prepared. I am SO stressed. Learning a new role in a fast paced business environment is tough enough as it is without having life and training to contend with. Training for a full distance triathlon around a new job and life is enough to contend with.
WHAT AM I DOING.
I have felt so out of my depth, so I’m trying to remember what I’ve been telling myself for years:
When you enter an endurance event, be it a half marathon or MDS or a half iron or an ironman (small i, FYI), you are making a commitment not just to put the miles in and diligently tick them off, but to try and prepare your body and mind for what it’s going to experience on race day. Training is supposed to be difficult. You are supposed to ache and feel tired.
Training plans may just look like a checklist of miles to run (speaking from experience), but it’s about so much more than your legs. It’s not just about miles. It’s about nutrition. Energy management. Mental strength.
You might think you’re tough, but what are you gonna do at 24 miles into your marathon when the last 2 may as well be another 22 miles? What’s going to prepare you for pushing on?
That’s what’s scaring me at the moment.
I’ve been steadily preparing, but I lack so much confidence with my bike fitness that I can’t see past the doubt at the moment.
It’s very tough. After every single ride, be it turbo or road or trail, I’m left thinking “how the hell am I supposed to get through 180km”.
The weather has not been kind. This time last year, we’d had mild weather so I’d been able to cross train for the marathon with some decent long rides. This year, when I actually NEED to be out on the road, we’ve had 2ft of snow, sideways rain and generally shite weather. With my desire to get to the start line of Lakesman sans broken bones, I’ve been playing it safe on the turbo.
Today was three hours. Three. Hours.
I am the most determined and stubborn person I know. So I know I can push through and do this. But the training is a lot.
I am trying to trust the plan. My plan. That I made. I’ve put a lot of faith in my own ability to know when to push through a barrier and when to stop and take stock. I designed The Plan to be the type that would push me out of my comfort zone. And it’s succeeding.
It’s so tough.
Of course, I’m motivated by more than just bragging rights and a medal. I’m doing this for charity.
There are two main types of Lymphoedema:
- Primary: develops due to a faulty gene that affects the development of the lymphatic system. It can develop at any age.
- Secondary: caused by damage to the lymphatic system through trauma such as surgery or injury, or through cancer treatment.
Lipoedema is often misdiagnosed as obesity. However, it can be an extremely painful condition, where the legs or buttocks are out of proportion with the rest of the body. It occurs almost exclusively in Women. It usually develops at times of hormonal change, prior to which, a person will have had a ‘normal’ body shape.
Both of these conditions can be treated using a technique called Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). And I hope to raise £2000 to help MLDUK and Lymfund enable people to seek vital funding for their treatment, which will also include being taught how to perform self-massage to assist in the treatment of the condition.
My story is here:
Thanks for reading x