More than simply post-140.6 blues

More than simply post-140.6 blues

It definitely doesn’t seem like I did a 140.6 mile event only 16 days ago…!

I’m in a bit of a fuggy ol’ fog today, not sure if this is going to be the wittiest/wisest/most profound post but what the heck, eh. I think everything has caught up with me and I find myself currently in a pretty low state, flat and yet nervous about something or other (mainly the request from a certain someone to join them on a six-hour motorcycle jaunt – I’ve backed out of that, but blimey it’s easy to see how my anxiety and worry about it translate into other emotional and physical symptoms. Hmm, it’s quite interesting from that angle!). I’d intended to go for a cycle this morning – well, that didn’t happen, and my B plan of going for a swim also hasn’t happened.

So what HAS happened since my 140.6?

The week after, I did a sprint triathlon – I’d dithered about whether to enter this or not, but this particular triathlon’s a bit of a tradition for me, and I suspected that I’d be annoyed with myself if I didn’t at least attempt it. The days after the 140.6 were difficult, to say the least: I knew that I would probably suffer with gastric problems and pain afterwards, as this happened with the half-ironman. It was incredibly painful, and I lay curled up in a ball for hours afterwards. Forget sore muscles etc, they were fine – the sickness, er, other stuff like passing lots of blood etc – well they weren’t fine at all.

This time, about two hours immediately after finishing the 140.6, the agony set in, and it took about five days for my insides to settle, I was in pain for ages. Couldn’t eat or drink, and it seemed as if my body was sort of eating itself. Blood and all sorts…very yucky indeed. The morning after, I felt as if I had a horrendous hangover and a stomach in deepest turmoil, so had a warm bath for as long as I could bear. I’m so glad we had a day off as I simply couldn’t function. I was weirdly craving ReadyBrek and cheese on toast (er, but not together!), although I couldn’t really eat or drink anything.

An unexpected result of the 140.6 was having a terrifically sore throat and mouth, it was like having blisters everywhere. I checked this out – informally – and it would seem that this can happen as a result of breathing hard for such an extended time. Well, you learn something new every day – but aaaargh! And, when my appetite did finally return, I couldn’t even eat or drink because of the pain in my mouth and throat…gosh, was it all worth it?

YEPPPPPPP!! Of course it was!

But…

…although the joy (and disbelief) of winning were still there, I swiftly started to dismiss the achievement. I’m doing it in my head even as I type this. And this is what I’ll do: I just can’t seem to own my achievements. Forget about anyone else belittling my achievements – I’ll do it extremely well for myself, thanks. I’ve already made many excuses as to why I won. I feel that I should’ve done it all properly, instead of leisurely stopping at feed stations and run/walking during the marathon. That I should’ve aimed for a good time, not simply merely to finish the course…I can’t even look at the trophy, as I feel I really don’t deserve it.

(My head is currently arguing like mad about this issue as I write, by the way.)

I hadn’t told many people that I was then doing this other triathlon seven days after the 140.6. I entered it a while back, as I knew the event would sell out quickly, but I only decided to go ahead with it in the morning of the tri. I’d accepted that I wouldn’t do very well (I’ve always come in the top 3 females over the last few years), but thought I really should do it anyway.

As it turned out, the swim was ok, the bike was ok…but I stopped in the run to encourage another lady who’d stopped, we ran together – and then she took off, beating me to 2nd place. GRRRR! Never again! I thought I was quite well back in the placings and took my time in the run (owing to a combination of exhaustion and over-heating in the midday sun), but a couple of girls overtook me early on the cycle, one of ’em saying something to me about the traffic…now, she said it in a particular way that irked me (!), plus they were drafting each other (they were from the same tri club). For some odd reason, I was really peeved by these aspects, a steep hill was coming and I saw them struggling – so decided to take them on. And they never caught up with me – hurrah! (And phew…)

It was such a hot, airless day, and my throat started to hurt again as I ran, so I was pretty glad it was only a short tri. Heard my name being announced as I crossed the line, with the added, “And she’s only just done an Ironman!” and that was that. A medal, t-shirt and a small trophy. Good-oh – now I could relax. Ha, yeah right…

Many people would be chuffed with that small trophy – me? I dismiss it. I wish I didn’t. If it were someone else I’d be really chuffed for them, and would sing their praises to the skies. As it’s me, I feel nowt. I feel the same if I try to write out a list of my achievements: I’ll belittle them, dismiss them, stamp all over them until there’s nothing left. And where does that get me? It’s not a martyr thing, or a victim thing – I just feel sickened by myself and who I am, and can’t see that I’ve done anything of any worth.

Days like today really don’t help. I’ve not kept to my exercise plans and I feel trapped in my flat. For the first time in about two years I’m fairly happy with my body shape and size, and I’m despondent about my ability to maintain those aspects (vain, I know, but it was ever thus). My head’s in a blimmin’ horrible fog (despite eating and drinking a decent diet, no alcohol and little sugar), and my body’s heavy and listless. Can’t concentrate and definitely can’t think clearly at all. I just want to cry but I can’t find that release. I know it’s partly to do with worrying about the future – I have big decisions to make – as well as feeling hugely like a failure about the motorbike thing (oh gosh, if there’s someone out there who’ll go out biking with me, who’ll take it easy and not get annoyed with me, please do offer your help and company – because I do so want to get out on the motorbike. I can do it, I have my full licence etc, and it’s such wonderful freedom [although I would love to name & shame one of the instructors at my training school, as he killed any confidence I had…the other instructors were fine and even the examiner complimented me on my riding]. It’s only self-consciousness, a sheer terror of annoying/holding up other motorists, and worrying about taking corners that are stopping me…), but for some reason today I have a block on getting out in public at all. I just don’t want people to see me. I don’t feel worthy enough of being out and about…although I would really like today either to be out in the sea, or out walking.

Things have been like this for so long, it’s unbearable. Folk who see me out and about see a person who’s active, achieving things…they don’t know the reality behind the façade: someone who’s terrified of others and extremely, extremely self-conscious. I went for a swim yesterday and, although the session was interrupted for various reasons, it was a sociable swim. I chatted to a lot of people and had a good-enough swim. I’d been terrified about going, but I did it nevertheless. So why can’t I do it today? I know I’d feel better for it…what a pathetic wimp. I should be making the most of my physical health, not shying away from life.

How do you all manage days like today?

4 thoughts on “More than simply post-140.6 blues

  1. It`s re-action. plus the Nasties who don`t want you to live on cloud 9 without paying its very expensive price. Cut all those strings and relax. You are not a puppet. You are you, and unique. Send those devils packing by laughing at them. You are REAL they are not !! From a very proud old person.

  2. You just did a 140.6! Well done you! They are hard, that’s why most people don’t do them. It can take weeks to recover physically, and it sounds like you were pretty poorly after as well. So don’t beat yourself up if you don’t feel like training just yet. But be prepared for the slump to last for some time – I did mine last August and my motivation still isn’t back where it was then. I can train, but getting out there in the first place is Hard! Take it slowly and feel proud of your achievement.

    1. Oh gosh – thank you for your kind reply, that’s made my day (if not week!)! And well done to you too for your 140.6 last year! What a fantastic boost it is to have another triathlete read and comment on my blog, thank you for taking the time 🙂 Are you still doing tri events, or have you turned to other sports/activities instead? It’s just that I keep wondering if perhaps boredom’s kicking in a bit for me, but when I think about other activities I realise that, when it comes down to it, I do prefer the swim/cycle/run stuff…so then I can’t fathom why it’s so bloomin’ hard to get out and actually DO the stuff! Appreciate the capitalised “Hard” in your reply too, I can feel the heartfelt emphasis…I count my lucky stars at times when I’m out training, I feel it should therefore motivate me to get my backside into action, but not so! Ah well…I hope your motivation returns with gusto, and good luck with your training too!

  3. Still training but concentrating on running this year – was meant to be my first marathon in October, hopefully still will be if the strained muscle in my calf stops playing up… I’ve found I missed the variety of proper tri training, and yes it’s still hard. I thought marathon training would be easier than Ironman and I would have more free time – but it’s not and I don’t! This year has felt like a bit of a treadmill and perhaps sometimes we need to do something different for a while to give our heads a break!

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