Thank you to all who left such thoughtful comments about my previous “wagon” post. It has encouraged me to delve into exploring why some people feel they lose the plot, whereas for many, life is relatively smooth sailing. Of course it has something to do with the ability to be resilient and sometimes I wonder if I’ve spend too much time running under the adage of “knowledge is power”. That is, I chose to become well educated about some of the things I feared the most – depression, anxiety, various disciplines around eating and nutrition – in the hope that it would shield me from experiencing any issues around this stuff. It didn’t – I kept running, then hiding, until finally it caught up with me at the end of last year. Hence what makes someone gain or lose weight or have mental health issues doesn’t have anything to do with how much you know about the subject. Which when I think about it some more, is a great relief. That said, I’m using the psychologist sessions to try and learn better ways of coping. I am often at my happiest when I feel like I have a plan of attack. It’s an interesting business. Sometimes I wonder if those who read my blog think I’m unhinged, however, I hold onto the belief that personal challenges aren’t that much different to everyone elses – and perhaps by writing about them, someone may read them and have an “aha” moment.
The weekend was a contrast between “high” and “low”. Firstly there was the high of racing in my second club criterium – where I participated in both the D and C grade events. It was a real thrill to have the feeling that my fitness has improved to the point where I can handle participating in a crit. It was probably the high of hitting a PR on the crit track (where I haven’t improved for about two years) that got me excited and perhaps overestimating my confidence for my ride the next day – another 130km jaunt to Mt Mee and back. Unfortunately my confidence was short lived – the ride was a struggle from the beginning. I don’t know if was tired legs, the searing heat or my heart that was wanting to shut up shop and hit the air-conditioning for a game of bridge, but it seemed like nothing was going to go right. As soon as we hit the bottom of the hill, I mused to Coach Liz that my gears “felt funny” . It was then I realised that I was having difficulty changing down into my smallest gear, so I endured the climb up Mt Mee as a serious strength effort.
The climb was worth the burning legs as I then got to enjoy a beautiful descent into Dayboro. However the mental rot began to set in quickly after that and I must admit to starting to struggle to remain positive. However, I do pride myself on having a bit of grit when things get tough physically, so I gritted my teeth and hunkered down mentally for the long haul, ignoring that unhelpful voice telling me that I was too unfit and too fat to ride very fast, then finally telling it to shut up. Once I told my internal voice to shut up, I reflected on the fact that I have really only been training seriously for about seven weeks or so and to not be so hard on myself. As I approached home base, I began to gain some perspective. I had hit most of my training sessions for the week. I had run, swim and biked. Now it was time to enjoy some well deserved recovery and wait for the magic to happen (i.e. increased fitness) as it always does.
The road to many good things is never linear. This includes the process of getting fitter. This is one situation where my exercise science education stands me in good stead. Fitness levels are never static, they are forever changing. The rub with exercise science is attaining the ability to make an athlete peak at just the right moment – and that’s not set in stone either.
To sum up, I’m learning not to run from the natural highs and lows of life, right down to my training sessions. It’s all part and parcel of what essentially is a good life.