Training has been a challenge. Focus - what I was looking for in my last post - has not been easy to come by. As always, I learn things slowly and by having truths pounded into my head repeatedly. One morning I was on my trainer struggling to complete a 90 minute trainer ride. I was constantly thinking of excuses to get off my bike and end this thing. I thought of emailing my trainer and whining that I couldn't do this ride. When it struck me I couldn't, because my trainer was out doing an Ironman. So she was not going to be available to pat my hand and tell me I was fine for not doing what I set out to do (which, incidentally, she wouldn't have done. And I knew that.) I sucked it up and finished the ride - without much conviction but with an inkling of understanding seeping in that sometimes I just need to suck it up. The next week or so after that I struggled through my training - in my heart of hearts feeling a bit sorry for myself for having to do all this hard work.
At the beginning of the week I wrote to my coach and told her how I was feeling. Her response was an incredible email with various points I'd like to share:
- the first year of triathlon it is hard to learn to fit all the different things in. Certainly true - having a coach is making it much easier but I would still say the sheer logistics and planning that go into fitting it in are a challenge.
- It is hard. But if I want do this, I need to just do it. Prioritise it. And be brave about it.
To fit in half ironman training, to fit in the amount of training I want to do with my clients, to learn the new skills I need to learn as a personal trainer - I need to make some bigger changes. This may sound sappy, but it came home to me on a bikeride this week. I was trying very hesitantly to turn my bike 180 degrees in a narrow lane. I was going at it slowly and hesitantly and it suddenly struck me that in my mind I was willing the bike to turn but my body was not doing enough to actually make it happen - I had to be brave enough to turn the wheel and follow through. And in Oprah-like sychnchronicity, this is what needs to happen in my life - if I want to make a change, I need to actually turn my wheels in the direction I want to go in.
At 40, I cannot burn the candle at both ends. I need to take my training seriously, and adapt my lifestyle accordingly. Improve my diet. Prioritise my sleep. Get my training in every day. And not feel - like I have been feeling - all apologetic about it. I need to treat my own training like my job - part of my appeal, if I have any, as a trainer and a coach is my credentials as an athlete. And while I'm no winner of awards and don't expect to podium, ever, my achievements are credible and I need to treat them like that. To get them, I need to train. So if I need to, I will get childcare in to get my training in. If I need to, I will leave a social occasion earlier so I can get to bed and get up in the morning at 5am and train. Most of the time, I will leave the wine to others. (As an aside, despite years of practise, I am not much of a drinker and my sleep and mood improve massively when I don't drink). And I need to believe that it is legitimate of me to do this. And I need to be brave enough to stand up for this choice when people challenge me on it. I am not surrounded by other athletes, many of my friends make very different choices. And I respect that completely. I now need to respect my own choices.
Herewith endeth the sermon.
And I leave you with some photos of an Olympic weekend of inspiration - my son Felix and I started off Saturday morning by spectating the triathlon in Hyde Park (and getting friendly with Gwen Jorgenson's family who were wonderful and inspiring, despite her disappointing race due to a puncture).
After that race we made our way across London - which is alive, alive, alive! in a way I have never seen it - to the Olympic park to watch women's hockey and just soak up the atmosphere, before coming home for an amazing night of British medals - gold for lovely lovely Jessica Ennis, wonderful Mo Farah and the great ginger long jumping chap.
|Running the Olympic marathon course early in the morning|
|Kara Goucher in the red hat behind the green chick|
So inspired by what I've seen, I'm on my way to realigning my life and priorities.