Monday, June 27, 2016

The Rollercoast ride of Endurance Sport

I hate roller coasters.  Like really really hate them.  I know that life is a bit of a roller coaster and I have gotten pretty good at staying consistent.  I have discovered that training for an endurance sport (like an Ironman) is like a crazy scary roller coaster.

It started out pretty well, a bit scary to look at the big picture but I kept my head in the day to day workouts and everything was fine.  The workouts were manageable with good recovery.  It was pretty easy to keep positive.  The event is still a few months into the future (20 weeks) and the thoughts around it are basically ones of excitement with a few drops of trepidation.

The weeks roll by and now in the middle portion, the workouts are taking more time.   Adjustments are needed to keep the commitments of everything else in my life on track as well as the training. Social life starts to take a dive.  Workouts are harder, longer and I am happy for a recovery week to reset.  There is still a positive outlook around as I was able to get in some times and distances that were positively confirming and I am still taking things day by day.

Home stretch-I am now a crying, hot mess with no confidence, little excitement and a lot of anxiety. Workouts are hard and long.  I feel like I might as well be sleeping in my bathing suit with my runners on and will I ever have a break from that darn painful saddle?  Nagging soreness comes and goes.  I'm close to falling asleep MANY times throughout the day.  My crying fits have exceeded even the craziest hormonal pre-menstrual level.  I think of quitting or pulling out at least 100 times a minute in almost every workout.  I get the event athletes guide and have a major freak out.  The thought of me in the water with 2000 friends send me into a full blown panic attack.

What the heck has happened to me????

This is new- I don't know what to expect when training for a long endurance event. What's normal?  I don't know if this reaction is typical.

I see 3 predominant ways of dealing with a huge training workload and the companion anxiety.

  • The comedian- laughs and jokes, sometimes at the expense of themselves.  Appears like they are so cool with everything but it is a  bit of a mask at dealing with some of the fear and concerns they have. Handling things with a smile and good humour which is very effective with calming the nerves.
  • The tough guy- game face on and ready in a second to knock out anxiety with a kick or punch.  Can appear very intense but also has a great ability to stay focused with an eye on the goal.  Has huge mental strength but needs to ensure the small details are taken care of (ex how is your nutrition plan)
  • The worrier- gets panicky at every thing as event draws closer, confidence is high or low depending on mood. Looks at the details of the event and is well planned.  Has the deer in the headlights look about them race day, wishes to climb into a hole the 3 weeks leading up to race day.  Finds a new strength once the event is under way.
NO surprise- I am the worrier.  I am also a list girl so I am starting my list making.  Lists about everything.  I need a list to get me to the starting line in 1 piece, a list to keep myself calm, a list to remember the important things, a list to identify WHY I am doing this.  At 3 weeks out, it will be a true test for me to find strategies to keep it together and more importantly, find ways to keep the journey fun.  Will keep you posted.

Happy Monday!

**An after note to this post- A great blog post found it's way into my inbox shortly after I posted mine.  If you need confirmation you aren't a crazy endurance athlete, you should read here!

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