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Month: February 2017

Uplifting days

Uplifting days

Hurray, hurrah! Ran eight miles this morning – I daren’t think about having to run three times this distance plus some more, gulp – and I didn’t stop at all during the run/lollop. My time wasn’t great, but I’m still pleased with the fact that I’ve trained outside both today and yesterday, despite feeling rotten physically and mentally. It helped that fewer people were around owing to it being half-term, but it was definitely a massive struggle resisting the urge to head back indoors and hide.

I was oop t’county earlier in the week and went swimming in a pool that’s well-known to me and one of which I’m very fond (sorry, that sentence seemed all too “up with which I shall not put”!). I’d planned this swim for a couple of days and it was fine until it came to the day itself. Honestly, you’d have thought that I detest swimming, or that it was a swimming gala: bad mood, sick to my stomach at the thought of it, did not want to go etc…for the first fifty lengths or so, I felt dreadful, rotten. Out of breath and things were not working. The pool was quite empty, and yet still I felt dreadful. And then it changed – I felt strong, as if I belonged in that water, I was flowing…a chap entered the lane next to me and it seemed as if he was challenging me. Now, I have little competitive spirit – unless I think I can do it, that I can overtake them and maintain that lead. I could see him just behind but I kept my pace…and maintained it for a further ten-ish lengths and then YAY! He started to lag and fall way behind! The satisfaction is worth the physical pain, really it is. This situation happens all too rarely these days, but I’m glad I managed to get in that water and beat…well, actually, I’m really glad that I beat that grotty dread and anxiety – much more so than actually being faster than someone else.

I seem to be waking up with a hangover-type feeling, although I’ve had only (at most) seven units of alcohol since December. I’m sleeping badly again these days (insomnia has featured largely throughout my adult life, but I try to accept and go with it, and not worry about waking up in the wee early hours) and now I’ve also started to wake up during the night feeling as if I’ve been on a full-blown booze-up the previous evening…not sure what to do about this. I don’t have much sugar and avoid caffeine, I hydrate well and am not keen on bread and pasta etc, so I don’t think it’s an overload of glucose or something similar (she said vaguely). But my run this morning was shadowed by my having a constant headache. Ah well – at the time, I tried to accept and see it as a chance to test my mental strength…I can do this; I can do this; I CAN DO THIS!! It seemed to work: I made it home in one piece.

Erm, albeit with a teeny bit of toothpaste on my cheek. The shame! No wonder people stared at me…also realised that a couple of passing cyclists would have seen my dancing arms as I jogged along (ah, the joys of a running playlist that includes Nine Inch Nails, Jane’s Addiction, Genesis, er, ELO and Abba. My twenty-year-old goth self would not be impressed!).

I’m a little concerned that there’s a huge fanbase for HR-monitoring – well, my concern is more that I should be doing this too. I have a rough idea of what my heart’s up to as I exercise, but recently I’ve seen many posts on social media extolling the joys of training for weeks in (say) Zone 2, and then seeing faster times after that training. Should I be doing the same, especially with my running? I know when I’ve done interval training (my own version, natch) I’ve seen decent results quite quickly…I guess I’ll probably stick to doing that, although I need to be working on my endurance rather than speed at the mo’. 26 miles of running. Blimey. I’ve only managed 17 miles before, and that turned ugly towards the end (oh! but the joys of a cup of tea when I’d finished! Bliss!). I definitely need to be upping the ante in both running and cycling.

I had to cut short my cycle yesterday morning, as my poor beloved – but failing – bike decided to give up the ghost in terms of gears. I thought I’d be stuck in the smaller gears all the way and was about to give up, when something kicked in inside and I decided to make a go of it, despite having to stop frequently to change up manually to the bigboy gears. The previous night’s forecast had been for 8mph winds and a distinct lack of rain – oh how I laughed as I battled against the headwind and wiped the raindrops off my nose and eyelashes…hey ho, I called it a day when the fog really settled in (hmm, not really a good excuse as I had lights and all the whatnots). So, about ten miles fewer than I’d planned, but it was still two hours’ worth of training. That’ll do for me! A weekend of swimming (I hope) and bike-fixing is in store…and maybe a try out – if I can brave the masses of tourists – of my new (hush now! speak quietly, to lessen the anguish of my old lovely gear-mangling bike) steed…so please let me chuck the usual anxieties and nerves to one side, pleeeeze…

…oh sod ‘em, I can do this!

A feeble thank you!

A feeble thank you!

I’m writing two posts in one day – good grief! I just wanted to balance out today’s other post and say thank you for all the lovely comments I’ve had since making this blog ‘live’.

I’m not so good at this self-promotion stuff, and haven’t dared to look at my site’s statistics etc…isn’t it silly? I’ve kept my head in the sand about the blog, as I feel oddly ashamed by it all, as if it’s all daft and vain…

…so I’m honoured to read some comments that I’ve received. Honestly, that people have taken the time to read my stuff and make comments is almost overwhelming. I really would rather that none of us had issues around mental health:  I’d much rather that there be no one to make comments, if you see what I mean. I hate the thought of others having similar feelings as the ones I experience, and yet it’s also really comforting. People have been kind enough to use the word ‘inspirational’ – and my reaction has been an unexpected one: gosh, yes I’m chuffed to pieces to hear from people, but I also feel inspired by your comments, by the fact that you’ve had the energy and motivation to contact me and be open too. If I can be of any help, however miniscule that help may be, then this will all be worth it.

A farewell to the exercise bike…?

A farewell to the exercise bike…?

I feel quite embarrassed about writing this post, as I’ve had a dreadful day and have been pretty low and ineffectual. I guess that, although it’s still hard to admit it, this blog is about mental health as well as triathlon (I mean, that’s one of its main aims!) and I won’t be being honest if I simply write about anxiety, lack of motivation or how I managed to train for once etc…it could be helpful if I also wrote about the – or my – realities of depression.

Last week wasn’t too bad: my mood was reasonably level and I managed to do 16.5 hours of training. I felt that I was (a little bit) back on track. I rounded off that week with an ok-ish long swim and was pleased that I’d managed to venture out despite feeling so nervous – I came home…and then my neighbour collared me to say that I needed to stop using my exercise bike as it was “right above” where she sat to watch tv, giving me a hug at the end of her ‘speech’.

I lived in this flat for some years before I headed off to try and start my health professional career, and it was quite strange to move back here when life went a li’l pearshaped again (I had – and have – a great relationship with my landlord here so, when this flat became vacant again, I jumped at the chance to move in). There’s just me and a small family in this house, and there’s another small family opposite (obviously I don’t mean that I live among The Borrowers…!). We’ve always all got on well – the other families moved in while I was here before – which I find comforting as I’ve had horrid experiences with neighbours.

So I’ve been quite upset about this complaint – I can’t bear the idea that I’ve upset someone else, and I can’t understand it as I chose this bike (yonks ago) because it was so quiet. I’m also miffed because these neighbours are frequently really noisy, smoke (I hate smoke) and have animals that, erm, leave presents on the stairs etc, which are left until I clean up after them.

I tried moving the bike and putting even more padding/insulation materials underneath, but I can’t relax now if I do use the exercise bike. The weather should be improving soon, which will mean – I hope – that I can cycle outside again, but I daren’t cycle if there’s a chance of black ice or hefty winds. I did actually run last week (hurrah!!), and I did 8 miles without stopping (not a great pace but hey, I don’t care – I actually went out for a run!).

I’ve intended to run most days this week and so far have failed to go out. I’ve then found it incredibly difficult to relax and be more accepting, or compassionate, towards myself. Result? I end up being angry with myself, and ‘twitchy and itchy’, as if I can’t settle. I become a horrid person to be near (I imagine). It’s a sensation that feels as if I’m desperate to get out of my too-tight skin, and as if my head’s in a complete fog. Weirdly, my body feels slow and heavy, despite the twitchiness, and I seem to spend the rest of the day paralysed by my self and my uselessness.

I’ve thought and thought about this neighbourly aspect, and I’m annoyed by how upset I am by it all. I think it’s because I’d found a sort of solution to my issues with getting outside, and wow did it have a positive effect on my overall mood – and that little solution’s been taken away from me. I can see it from my neighbour’s perspective too, but I would’ve hoped that she could have seen that I put up with their noise etc (it’s part of living in such apartments, I think) and we could have reached a compromise. I usually cycle when I think they’re out, during the day, (well, I got that wrong, eh) and never before 10am or after 5pm.

I’m lucky in that I do now have a chance to move again in the near future, but I feel sad that I feel I now have to move. I feel angry that my own uselessness means that I have to try to think of alternatives to going outside, and I know that such feelings serve to fuel a downward spiral of my mood, and all that entails. Blimey, I hate being such an ineffectual, useless lump.

All Hail The Exercise Bike!

All Hail The Exercise Bike!

I am excelling in the art of Exercise-Bike-ing…! Managed to do 11 hours of training last week, but I’m ashamed to say that the majority of those precious hours were on an exercise bike. I am wholly aware that this translates into lack of heart-rate-raising and not-really-training-for-triathlon, but I’m doing an excellent job of being in denial about these aspects! The weather has been foul of late: gales, heavy rain, and ice all over the place. Obviously, I’m just protecting myself from potential injury. Ahem. I was aiming for a run and swim today, but (here come the excuses: I know no bounds when it comes to perfecting excuses these days) I’ve been trying to fix stuff on this blog. Who knew that blogging could be so difficult?

I am perfectly aware that the energy that’s going into today’s blogging stuff could, er, should be going into cycling up to the pool and whatnot. Oh, there you go – it’s just started to pour with rain as well. Another reason for not setting out as it’s also blimmin’ freezing out there.

Excuses…

Why have I become so feeble/lazy/wimpish/daft (delete – or not – as appropriate)? The weather wouldn’t have bothered me in the past. Indeed, years ago I gained an impressive amount of admiration from local surfers when I persevered with practising to surf throughout the winter. Actually, I think I just gave them a giggle as the wind spun me round and off-course as I fought my way down the beach to the sea, my 8’ learner board acting as a perfect sail…I’m lucky I didn’t take off! I cycled and ran through blisteringly cold temperatures, hail, freezing winds and horizontal rain. Not no more, m’love…

Anyway – excuses. I did manage a long swim at the weekend, but it was dreadful – or, more to the point, I was dreadful. Nothing left in the tank. I felt heavy and sluggish, and hoped it would improve as I warmed up, but no. I couldn’t find any rhythm and felt like a lump. After 5k (I couldn’t bear the thought of the lifeguards quizzing me about what was wrong had I done a shorter swim) I called it a day and crawled into the showers. I think the problem’s partly because I’ve yet to regain my fitness, but I think there’s something else going on too, and I wish I could find out what the matter was. I’ve managed to go training frequently and consistently in the past, despite the mental health stuff, so what’s happening now?

Oh well. So I haven’t been running (oh jeez I need to tho’, because that’s going to hurt if I don’t get my act together asap), and I’ve only done one, albeit long, swim.

But at least I’ve done 230km of cycling (shh! No one need know all the kilometres were done on an exercise bike!)…