motivation

Learning I don’t always need to be super-Nadia

Oh, those mood swings. Up and down, up and down. I wish there was a “straightforward” way around them.

Back in my Ironman-training days—now long gone, I promise you—I started seeing the race as such a scary monster that I needed to do something about it. So I booked another event for myself three months after the Ironman. It would be something I could look forward to and it would mean that no matter what happened in the race itself, whether I finished it or not, all that training would not have gone to waste. For the last two months before the race, I could tell myself that I was training to keep fit for everything that was to come. I wasn’t “just” training for a race.

Post-Ironman, however, my body was really in need of a break. My MIND was in need of a break. I hadn’t realized while I was training just how much pressure I was putting on myself to do every single training session exactly the way my triathlon coach had prescribed, AND to keep up with work without anyone thinking that I was falling behind because I was doing a crazy race. I made sure never to mention my Ironman training to the people I worked with (well, hardly ever). It was not going to be used as an excuse for falling behind. So I just never fell behind.

Once the race was over, I took that break I so desperately needed. It was HEAVEN. When it was time to start training again, I was ready. But it’s been a bit of a roller coaster since then. Sometimes my motivation levels are sky-high, other times they are almost non-existent. That was never a real problem when I was Ironman training. Or, at least, I had it under control because my mind was stubbornly set on doing everything possible to get to that race.

That roller coaster of motivation has meant that I haven’t always felt like I was “properly” preparing for my next adventure, now under two weeks away. But you know what I caught myself thinking today? I’ve actually been doing quite well! I’m being too hard on myself. I’ve been listening to my body and that’s important. I’m also unwittingly comparing my training now with the training I’ve been doing for most of the year, and that is such an unfair comparison. If, instead of comparing my current training with Ironman training, I compared it with how I trained for something similar a few years ago, I’m bloody smashing it!

While away for two weeks in Egypt for a family visit, I really struggled to keep up with work and training. The stress of feeling like I HAD to do both was too much for me and the result was that I was feeling very down about it all. I ended up neither keeping up with work OR training. And I had decided that booking that December event was probably the most stupid thing I had ever done.

But this morning I got up, went to the gym, and did an interval session on the treadmill. I then went for a relaxing Jacuzzi and came home to eat a huge breakfast. Do you know how good that felt? It felt GREAT. I’m back into my routine. I’m on top of work. And I have an adventure to look forward to very soon. As I was eating my breakfast I was thinking, “How boring would life be right now if I didn’t have that adventure coming up?” So now I’m starting to think that this upcoming adventure might actually have been one of my most inspired ideas yet! No matter what happens during this next event, I’m really really looking forward to it. I am so glad I am back to feeling that way.

So what is that next adventure I keep alluding to? I’m not ready to tell you yet! I just needed to publicly reflect on those mood and motivation changes of mine. It’s good to be back to a “good” place. And I’m learning that I don’t always have to be doing super-human training. Normal human training, which sometimes involves just not doing that workout today, is fine too.

 

 

 

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A rambling post about training

I’ve started training seriously. Not that I’ve ever not trained seriously. It’s just that I’ve ramped up the seriousness level a few bars. It’s not going to be easy. Not that it ever was.

One thing I’ve noticed is that my anxiety seems more under control (I’ve had mild undiagnosed anxiety for years). I don’t know if this has anything to do with my new training program. What I do know is that I sometimes wake up in the morning feeling anxious, but that seems to go away once I’m back from training. It’s nice not feeling anxious all the time.

I’ve been getting recurrent injuries that have held me back from training the way I’d like to. Running gives me shin splints. And I’ve had on-and-off knee pain. The last time I got knee pain it stuck with me for weeks. It was bad. I gave my body the rest it needed to get back to being pain-free, while still swimming and gyming to keep a certain level of fitness. And then I decided to go to the experts.

I’m now working with a triathlon coach! It’s so interesting working with someone who actually understands this stuff. We had many email exchanges, a few phone calls and we went together to a physiotherapy center in town that treats British Olympic athletes. The physio examined me at length on two separate visits and then wrote a very long report about all the things that are wrong with me (there were a lot). It took a lot of self-pep-talking to see the positive side to that report. It’s obvious that giving birth to four children has affected my body. Falling off my bike and dislocating my shoulder has also. (more…)

I am a champion!

I am STOKED.

Crossing the finish line and feeling strong!

Crossing the finish line and feeling strong!

I’m on a triathlon high.

I feel like I’m finally understanding all the athletic-related lessons I’ve been learning, especially those of the past three years.

I can now enter races without thinking about all the faster people who easily pass me.

I’m learning how to focus—and my focus is all on me and no one else.

I now understand that getting through a race and doing well in it takes serious work and dedication. I understand that if I want to improve, I need to work even harder.

I understand that I have so much more in me if I’m willing to adapt my schedule and give time and hard work to luring it out.

I feel like a champion! I feel like a champion even though I still finish races in an average or more likely below average ranking.

I feel like a champion because I’m learning how to overtake myself and how to overcome my weaknesses and anxieties.

Today I did the Dam ‘ard Triathlon in Halifax, UK, and I feel DAMNED GOOD!  (more…)

The Excitement – and Frustrations – of Being a Beginner Runner

Less than two years ago, my husband gave me one of his old bikes and we joined a group of beginner cyclists for a one-hour

This is a picture of me (in the back in a pink shirt) from last weekend's Parkrun, doing my little running shuffle. That little girl ALWAYS beats me to the finish.

This is a picture of me (in the back in a pink shirt) from last weekend’s Parkrun, doing my little running shuffle. That little girl ALWAYS beats me to the finish.

outing. The cycle started with a small hill. I completely failed to get up it. I broke down mid-hill and threw a tantrum that lasted several hours. I was upset with my husband (who else do I have to blame for life’s miseries?) because I felt he had set me up for failure. The bike I was using was not a nice road bike like everyone else’s. It probably wasn’t even the right size for me. How was I expected to do hills anyway? And we should have started by going off on our own until I had more confidence and strength to join others.

A month later, my husband took me to a beautiful rural area several kilometers away from our house. I cycled there on my brand new, properly fitting road bike. For reasons known only to him, we ended up on some extremely steep (for me) hills. I threw another tantrum. I got off the bike and walked up the steepest hills. My legs were not strong enough to pedal up. It just wasn’t happening. And again, I was angry with my husband for setting me up for failure by taking me to the steepest hills in the country, or so I believed at the time.

Three months later I cycled with my husband from London to Paris in three days.

One year after that I cycled solo 5630 km from Lisbon, Portugal to Tallinn, Estonia.

If not for that whole experience, I would have given up on running by now.  (more…)