Saturday, January 8, 2011

Week Six: Off to the Funny Farm!!

I think my mind officially turned to mush this week. There were just so many changes coupled with  poor nutrition + building fatigue that I popped a gasket. I knew going into this week that it was going to be challenging on a different level. A mental level. My membership at Woman's Fitness Center had expired so I was forced to cut ties and make the move to the YMCA to allow me to access my coach's Masters Swim classes, which is what I need more than anything on my training program. By making this move I was losing the comfort of the facility in which I had worked for the past eleven years... losing the comfort of the familiar faces of trainers, co-workers, and training partners. All to be replaced with sweaty men that I had never worked out with, a new facility in which I had no history with and felt stupid and awkward in, and a training schedule that suddenly felt up in the air.

It didn't take long for the mental stress to take its toll. By Monday, the first training day of the week, I was adjusting to a last minute added swim on my program, and one that I would have to do on my a new setting, without a coach, and without any friends. It sounds ridiculous, but it was stressing me out and making me irritable. Swimming in familiar territory was a comfort I had taken for granted. Suddenly having it stripped from me left me feeling vulnerable and insecure. Once I began my swim and had the realization that my grumpiness was a result of change, not just an increase in my training, the discomfort of it all seemed to lessen.

Later in the week, with the help of my coach, I got oriented to the new weight room and realized that it wasn't that different from what I had become accustomed to, with the exception of the new gender surrounding me. Some things I'd just have to learn to deal with.

The week seemed to be moving along well until I ran head first into my first brick wall of the season on Thursday during a swim workout. Apparently I lost all ability to follow directions, breathe, flip, remember simple instructions, or perform basic drills. It got so bad that my self-anger turned into hysterics as I saw the humor in a situation that was completely out of my control. Luckily for me my coach, albeit irritated, remained patient and determined to figure out what nutritional mistake I had made that led up to such an implosion.

By that evening I was incapacitated by exhaustion. Our first team meeting of the season addressed many of the issues involving nutrition that I was struggling with and I made a conscious effort to remember what was being said so I could change things before the weekend's workouts hit full force.

Oh, and if anyone cares (other than me), I did manage to finish the week out GREEN!

Challenges of the Week:
  • Dealing with change. Realizing that just because things are different doesn't mean they have to fall apart. Change is not bad. I have to accept my new normal.
  • Learning that I actually have to eat more to lose the few pounds I want to get rid of. Nutrition is completely different for endurance athletes than it is for the general public. Dieting is archaic in the form I have used all of my life as a couch potato. Cutting back on my intake is not necessarily the road to success. Eating more often, and eating to fuel my body is the real lesson learned this week.
  • Learning how to handle things when they implode in the middle of a workout. I am trying not to get angry at myself when I don't perform up to my potential because it just makes things worse and tends to carry over into other events. Trying to find the balance between falling victim to destructive frustration or blowing it off via hysterical laughing has been a challenge. I want to learn to control my emotions when I'm not functioning at my potential and focus on what I can do to fix the problem instead. But for now, when the fix just won't come, I haven't figured out how to mentally get myself out of the hole of despair.

  • Changing my first flat tire. It was not the speedy pit stop I had imagined. Twenty minutes later it was done...but I keep expecting to have it pop as I ride now for fear I didn't do it right. 
  • Setting my mind for Saturday's ultra-training day that consisted of a 9 mile run and an 1.5 hour ride after a very challenging week. Luckily, with a little pre-planning and the right training partners it was doable...even enjoyable. And now we have a mobile aid station for long runs complete with water, gatorade, gels, snacks, and inspirational quotes!

Lessons I Learned This Week:
  • There is a setting on my Garmin that lets the light stay on constantly when you push the on button twice... so now when I run at dusk I have time to read the little blurry numbers that tell me my heart rate.
  • When changing a flat tire it would be good to:
    1. Carry the little screw top that goes on the CO2 cartridges in my bike bag with the CO2 cartridges so I can actually use the CO2 cartridges.
    2. Have spent some time prior to the flat getting to know my bike (ie how to get the rear wheel off smoothly and quickly).
    3. Identify how to use the tire levers correctly and determine just how much force they can take before they break.
    4. Figure out how to position the bike so it doesn't fall into a mud pile while I am working on the removed tire.
    5. Keep some handy wipes around to mop up all the grease that comes with sloppy tire changing and a dirty chain.
    6. Not brag about how fast I think I can change a tire when I've never actually done it before.
  • If ever in a training situation where everything appears to be falling apart it is best not to laugh in your coach's face.
  • When in a group swim and trying to build relationships with your new swim partners, try not to be the reason everyone has to keep repeating the same drills over and over.
  • It is okay to eat breakfast casserole, chess squares, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches when you burn 2000+ calories a day through exercise alone.
  • All dreams, family time, friends, and extra-curricular activities may have to go on hold when you decide to train for ultra-endurance sports. Hopefully this can be a short-term sacrifice.
Planned Time: 14:01
Actual Time: 14:12:50

1 comment:

  1. But isn't this one of your dreams? So you aren't putting everything on hold, right? ;)