Sunday, 20 August 2017

I got nuthin

KEEP IT REAL. That's my most used mantra. If you're going to engage in social media, I think the only way you can preserve the 'real you' is to dispense with the sugar coating and show the bad as well as the good. So this week's blog won't be all trophies, PBs and monster weeks. Far from it.
My lovely students
I kind of ground to a halt this week. I bounced out of bed Monday morning at 4.45am, did my 90min ride with the Trifitness crew, cooked breakfast, drove up the Hume to Dookie (250km) and got started on what was a great week of work with a great group of final year vet students.
I nailed every training session (except 2 slightly shortened rides) in the week, and even fitted in a bonus swim on my way back from a full day visiting an incredible 2000 cow dairy.
My indoor set up at Dookie college. Hooray for Netflix!

But my energy levels in training were lower than last week. My swims were really slow, given my effort level. As I said last week, my swimming is often the first indication of fatigue, but not something I stress about too much if the drop is just in swimming. But my efforts on Wednesday on the bike were also off. I was on the indoor trainer (all 3 rides in Dookie had to be indoors due to torrential rain and gale force wind), and my power meter wasn't working, but I couldn't get my heart rate up even to what I held for 90km in Cebu during the efforts, and that is a clear sign of fatigue in me. Still, I didn't panic. I was still running well, and felt good in myself, so I stuck to the schedule. My evening swim on Friday night, straight off a 3.5hr drive actually went really well, so I was pretty confident I'd be ok for all the big weekend sessions (culminating in a cross country race Sunday afternoon).
We'd looked at the forecast and there was some seriously bad weather due on Saturday. Pete suggested maybe swapping the ride to Sunday and running Saturday, but I was keen to stick to the planned sessions. I did want some company, so I intended to join the MTC group on their ride along Beach Rd and beyond. 
The alarm went off, and I pressed snooze about 4 times. I was exhausted. Pete was already up and came in saying "if we leave in the next hour, we'll be soaked the minute we go out". I looked at the radar, and suggested we drive to Frankston, ride 4.5hrs from there (which would mean more hills, less flat), run off the bike there and then head to JVW's swim session at 3pm from Frankston. Sorted.
Well not quite. If I'm honest, I felt terrible as soon as I got up. my legs were really heavy, and i dragged myself into the car. We got to Frankston about 10am, and saw a load of our mates heading back the other way, including Kristy Hallett, who I am thrilled will be also racing her 3rd Kona with me in 8 weeks. Massive kudos for that ride KK.
We sat in the car for 90 mins at Frankston foreshore while it poured with rain. I cried. I was just spent, and couldn't imagine getting on the bike. Did I mention it was our 17th wedding anniversary? Instead of a champagne brunch together, we were sitting in Frankston, looking out at the rain while I cried. Ridiculous.
And that was where all the mental battery began. I was silently bullying myself into training, when everything in my body was saying "no".
"I'm just mentally weak"
"I'll never achieve my goals at Kona"
"I'm looking for excuses"
"I'm going to lose fitness"
"I'll keep gaining weight"
Remember - I have ignored my body before, and listened to those voices instead. It has not led to a very favourable outcome.
So I started to negotiate:
"How about I do a massive swim day? A 3-4km set of 500s, then JVW's drill session?"
I even suggested this to Pete - he thought it sounded like a good plan. But I literally couldn't imagine getting in the pool.
"Ok, I'll just do a 30min jog" (by now the sun was out, and Frankston looked as nice as Frankston can look".
Debated that one for.......about 30min.
Cried again.
This was when it dawned on me.
And it is not fair on Pete to spend our anniversary with him trying to nurse me through feeling like shit.
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My Grandfather, Frank Sewell (BEM)
So I suggested something that I know he loves, I and I knew would take my mind off my disaster of a day. The cinema.
We went to see Dunkirk. My Grandfather, Frank Sewell was on the destroyer ships that were rescuing those soldiers, and he was awarded the British Empire Medal for his role in that.
Gives you some perspective. Those men weren't pushing themselves to exhaustion for their career, or sporting accolades. They were just surviving. And what I do, what I am training for is incredibly important to me (and to others who "get" what Hawaii is all about), but really in the scheme of things, in 10 years, am I going to turn around and say "hey, that Saturday I missed has really changed the course of my life!" No way.
So I drew a line under the day, went to have a beautiful dinner with Pete, and had a great night's sleep, ready to hit my Sunday with gusto.
Woke up (to an alarm) after nearly 10 hours sleep, and as soon as I got out of bed, I knew I felt no better. Absolutely dead legs, achy back, sore knees. Wow. Back to bed. Repeat. Until about 11.30am. I felt like I'd been hit by a bus. And, despite the perspective I'd had yesterday, I still questioned why I didn't want to go for my run. Tears ensued again. Pete suggested we just press reset this weekend and start again tomorrow. I just couldn't deal with that. NO TRAINING, when I had about 9.5hrs planned? That's CRAZY! Especially when I'm not ill! Or am I?
That's when the second guessing began. Questions like:
Am I ill? - Well the way I work, unless I'm being wheeled into an ambulance, no I'm never ill. But seriously, I suppose my sinuses have felt a little inflamed, and I have been a little head achy, but that's it.
Is it lack of sleep? - possibly, but you'd think last night would have sorted that out.
Is it the big week at Dookie? - maybe a contributing factor, but I trained really well last weekend, off an less-than-ideal week
Is it my diet? Am I eating enough? Am I eating too much?  - I haven't eaten crap while I was away (I took a lot of my own foods) but I've probably eaten more carbs than usual. I'm sure I'm eating enough. I'm not losing weight, so maybe I'm eating too much. But how would that make me feel shit?
Do I just not cope well with Ironman training? - OMG. Seriously? After 9 Ironmans? 
Honestly, the list goes on. I even thought "maybe I'm not cut out to race Kona again"
And really, there are no answers to any of those questions, so it's better I just stop asking.

It was a beautiful sunny day here today. The first in a week. And Pete was keen to run. So I said I would run to the park with him, just to see how I felt, and walk if I was no good. The first kilometre was 6.45. Felt like 5.45. Ok, definitely NQR (Not Quite Right). I ran for 40 min, and some of it felt ok. It certainly made me feel better, but I think it also solidified the fact that this weekend wasn't going to be a good weekend, and maybe I was better off listening to the body (for once) and cutting my losses.
I went to the community (free) meditation at Happy Melon tonight. It was amazing, as always, and one of the teachers discussed our thoughts and how we can deal with them. Ask 3 questions of a thought:
1. Is it true?
2. Is it useful?
3. Is it kind?
I probably could have done with that yesterday, but it certainly meant a lot to me to hear it today.
I actually discussed what had gone on this weekend after the meditation. I love that we have discussions in these classes, and someone asked me to share what it all meant for me. I was embarrassed to be talking to these 'normal' people about my crazy batshit hobby that leads me to train all weekend, and then mentally berate myself if I don't manage to get green all over my training peaks page. And yet, after the class, several people approached me and wished me luck for Hawaii, and genuinely seemed to admire what it was I was doing. I guess our 'normal' is what a lot of people would aspire to do, but haven't yet got the belief that they can.
Pete put it best when he reminded me that I haven't wrecked this prep because of 2 days, and I need to remember how consistent I have been in the past months, years, and even the last 10 years. I cannot begin to say how lucky I am to have that man beside me.
And so, I've pressed "reset". Let's start again tomorrow.

8 weeks to go

The week's stats (All of Sunday will end up red)

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