Week 12: Overwhelmed

Last week’s stomach cramps seem to have disappeared, hooray, but I felt like this week has been a whole other level of struggle. I have felt emotional, overwhelmed and stressed, but as per my goals last week I have upped my veggies, tried to get more sleep and began practising mindfulness.

It all started on Monday, much like any other week. I had a shiny new 70.3 plan from MX Endurance, with Tauranga Half now just 12 weeks away, and confirmed my race entry to Rotorua Suffer (quarter distance) in 8 weeks as a practise race. But even the race entry form was too much. “What words do you want called out when you cross the line?” Er… I don’t know if I’ll even make it across the line, what if I’m not good enough to finish. What kind of question is this? I left it blank, clicked submit and spent the day worrying about what I should have written. Not a great start to the day. I couldn’t even bring myself to do a 30 min easy recovery run. I sat around at home, cried a bit and baked some cookies.

Longest swim for 131.

Tuesday was a new day and time to start again. I headed to the pool do to Monday’s swim session (2800m) and managed 15 mins of my 30 min recovery run afterwards. A much better start and I think I needed the extra day off as I am feeling much better today. Wednesday was a solid session on the bike and the horrendous stormy weather was making me glad to be sweating it out indoors. Thursday I was back in the pool, this time managing 3275m of ‘Lung Busters’. I actually cut this session short, as I wanted to swim 131 laps to honour cow 131 who had a fatal accident during the storm. I felt strong and steady with her in my mind, and managed to be pretty consistent over the whole session, which amazed me!

Things started to unravel a bit towards the end of the week. I bonked 20 mins into a 90 min run, but was lucky enough to be passing a dairy (shop) and managed to shove a few chocolate bars and sweets down me to carry on back to the car. My 30 min gym session on Friday left my legs a bit lacking for my 2.5hr ride the following day. I struggled through the first 90 mins then did an easy run down the road and back. Sunday’s run didn’t happen as I am now involved with coaching the Rockets on Sunday mornings, I then stayed another hour at the pump track to practise myself. I really need to start upping my run time, as I have a half marathon on 24th November!

On Wednesday I had a talk with Ryan and we looked into doing some mediation and mindfulness practise. I had tried before and used the Headspace app, but it didn’t seem to work and I thought I could use those 10-15 mins better if I had a nap or did some house chores. The way he explained it finally clicked. If I am getting ill because of my thoughts stressing me out, then surely I can get better by calming my mind and coping with stress better. I have suffered from stress related illnesses off and on for half my life, its nothing new and I don’t bother much about it, as I know its in my head and nothing is actually wrong with me. But if I get sick when I’m stressed and I get stressed when I am sick, then the cycle needs to break.

It wasn’t all lighting incense, sitting crossed legged, deep breathing and ommm. It was me listening to a well spoken English philosopher, (Alan Watts) and crying for 15 minutes. But it was good. It felt like my pain, stress, worry and anxiety were flowing out through my tears and that was OK. I didn’t judge my emotion to be good or bad, I just let it happen.

I wish I looked this relaxed in reality!

Have you tried mindfulness or meditation? How did it go for you? Do you feel that it helps? Let me know about your experiences in the comments below.

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