Friday, June 10, 2011

Conflicted and Stressed

Life has been extremely crazy these past few months since I started this blog. The last few weeks have been particularly insane and stressful in all aspects of my life. May started with our trip to St. George, Utah for John's first Ironman of the year. Given it had the reputation as the hardest IM in the US I was not participating in this brand of lunacy. So, while John, Mike, Alan, Beau and Mariska were doing an Ironman, I was essentially not training. Once the IM was over, John and I travelled to Zion, Lake Powell, the Grand Canyon, Sedona and Phoenix. I needed some rest so it was a welcome vacation. A little hiking was done but it was also another week with no training. I was starting to get very anxious about this and looked forward to getting home, settled and back into my routine.
             John's depressed immune system after the event caused him to pick up a cold. We spent a lot of time in a closed car together and by the end of the trip I had a cold too. The cold was pretty mild and I was already feeling better after a few days when things took a turn for the worse. This coincided with out trip to Louisville for USAT Level I coaching class. Needless to say the first day of class I was miserable blowing my nose while sitting through 8 hours straight of class. All I wanted to do was sleep. If I was at home with the cold I probably wouldn't have been training anyway but it was another missed week. The training class was awesome - learned lots of great stuff - but now I have lots of reading and a big test I have to take in the next 3 months to earn my certification. This equals more stress.
            Cut to the week leading into the Memorial Day holiday. I was the late PA and was scheduled to work that Saturday and be on call for the weekend and holiday. It was one of the worst weeks I have had at work. Super busy, short staffed and I was still recovering from the cold that would not go away. The sneezing and blowing was done but my head and chest were still congested and the coughing was so bad it would wake me (and John) up at night. I finally went to the doctor for some antibiotics and hoped this thing would end soon. I trudged through my week of work and managed to squeeze in some half hearted workouts but I was definitely not 100%.
            So, here we are 2 weeks later and I still have a residual cough. The good news is that my energy levels are back to normal. I missed half of last weekend’s training due to a work conference in Philly but I should be home now for the rest of the summer. This week has been the first week (in a LONG time) that I have felt like I was training at my full potential, despite the persistent cough. But now the doubt is kicking in BIG TIME. I feel so behind. I knew May would be a tough month but I wasn’t counting on the illness to make things worse.
            The IM is 93 days away and while that might seem like a lot of time, it really isn't based on where I feel like I should be right now. My hope and plan for this year was to do more than just "get through" this IM. I wanted to be able to get through each leg without sweating any cutoffs or potential disasters and be able to relax and enjoy my race. I don't feel like that is possible right now. I have been concentrating so much on the bike when I have been able to train that I have been neglecting my swim and run. Oh yeah, there is also a little 5K swim coming up in 2 weeks that is really going to suck. I am sure I will be able to gut it out but there will be a lot of breast stroking while I pause to catch my breath. That the only positive thing I can say right now. I have enough of a base built up to force myself though anything despite how miserable I will be while doing it.
            If all the time on the bike was actually producing measurable results I would be a little less panicked BUT alas I still feel slow and tired and just plain “shite” all the time on the bike. Adding to my stress level is the fact that it is time to think about next year’s race. What?? I haven’t even finished this years!! Yeah, I know, the IM process is stupid at best. Most races fill up within hours of opening so you have to register one year in advance. John is all gung ho about 2 new races in Montreal and NY that open next week. Also, there is one in British Columbia he would like to do so he has been posting, e-mailing and chatting up all of these possibilities.
            Meanwhile, I am in a bad place mentally about my race in 93 days and don’t even want to think about going through all this mess again next year. I still firmly believe I should have never signed up for last year’s IMCDA. I would have been better off working on my bike, sticking to 70.3’s and getting stronger. On the other hand, I have pushed myself and done more than I ever thought I could. I just wish I was seeing more results for the time I put in. I am getting up at 4:45am twice a week to do strength and speed spin classes followed by core training in addition to my brick, long rides and hill training sessions. All the cyclists I know say the only way to get better on the bike is to ride. Well, how much more F’n riding do I have to do? There aren’t enough hours in the day to ride more plus take care of my house, work, eat and sleep. Not to mention when you are really SLOW it takes that much LONGER to get through those rides. It also leaves me no time to really think about what I want to do next year.
If I saw some improvement I am sure my attitude would start to change but currently I am nothing short of depressed.  
          So, do I want to get on this merry-go-round again or take some time to get stronger and then see what happens? How will I feel if others in my group are training for an Ironman and I am not?  Without a race on my schedule it will be next to impossible to push mys

1 comment:

  1. I feel you 100%. The camaraderie is what I miss this year. I was very conflicted over my decision not to race tri this year. I knew I would feel "left out." And I do, a great deal.

    But, this is what I needed to do - for me. For my family. For my sanity. My story since September has been "I came out of Augusta feeling in the absolute worst shape of my life." There's so much wrong with that sentence. Physically, Emotionally, Mentally - I was just beat down. It took me a long time to recover.

    Now, I'm just kindof doing my own thing. And that's fun too. I'm meeting new people - trying different workouts - picking random stuff for "cross training" (Right now, Zumba! Which is spectacularly a lot of fun and is definitely a different type of fitness.)

    I wish I had some sage advice for you. The best I can say is -- if it's not fun - step away. Reevaluate what *your* goals are - not what John's are -- not what GFA's are -- not what anyone says your goal "should" be. Do what makes you happy.

    Life's too short to spend time doing something you're not passionate about.