Inner Demons

The Naples Fitness Triathlon was Sunday. I’m a bit behind in my posting. My mental state has not been that great. As I look back at where I was in my training this time last year I have good thoughts and really bad thoughts.

I have been wrestling with some serious inner demons this week. After last week’s Team training session, I asked Coach Pat if I could stop by her office during lunch one day this week. Happily she said “Hell yeah!” Tuesday at lunch, I grabbed my latest Happy Herbivore creation and headed to Riverwalk. I can’t tell you how much a simple hug made me feel better. It had been almost 6 months since I had been there for physical therapy.

after naples

Coach Pat with her HB, Brian, and me. We are lucky to call them friends – but they are so much more

For the next hour and a half, we talked a lot about racing and training and the symptoms I had been feeling – the physical and the mental. I was/am really struggling with the fact that my run is no where near where I had hoped it would be. To hear Coach Pat and Coach Jen agree that I looked so terrible last Thursday was devastating. I knew I felt like crap but I had just run 2 miles at 9:30 – faster than usual! It also brought on a lot of fear. Fear that I won’t be able to run Naples Fit, fear that I won’t be able to do the Olympic for TriRock, fear that I’ve done more damage, and fear that may be this running thing isn’t something I should be doing.

As I talked, Pat asked a ton of questions, and agreed that one on one therapy/coaching is what I need to be focusing on. I’ve known this since March when the training session started but it didn’t work out. So, she agreed to see me one on one after Naples and surgery. There are many things that could be causing my problems so I am actively tracking my workouts and the clicks, pops, and cracks my knees and lower back make on a daily basis in hopes that we can link things together.

physical therapy journaling

My scribbles about how I’m feeling that day.  Its been interesting.

Disclaimer: the written text in the pic above are my notes. Titles and descriptions of movement do not reflect a training program or therapy in a manner than can be or should be replicated.

I should have felt better leaving Pat’s office knowing that things were going to be resolved. But I didn’t, I felt really down and dark. I can’t even put into words just how negative my thoughts were. It wasn’t until yesterday when I was e-mailing Pat that I was able to put it all together.

Since I had the biopsy at the dermatologist’s office done a month ago, I’ve been going through the motions. Those two weeks off my feet were exactly 4 and 5 weeks prior to Naples. The last weeks I could make gains for race day. Since I missed it, I mentally gave up. I scaled back my goals knowing that two weeks off from running meant I won’t be able to do the run as fast as I wanted. I did Physical Therapy on occasion (i.e. once a week) and my strength training…well it wasn’t exactly training and it was sporadic. I have realized that was a HUGE mistake!

Yes two weeks off can suck right before a race and yes you need to re-evaluate your fitness and adjust your goals if necessary. But do not, I repeat do not, just go through the motions. Instead, maintain and try to move forward – within the confines of your race training and calendar of course. Maybe the upcoming race won’t be an A race but there will be a race after that and maybe a few others and there is no reason that you can’t get up and keep going and be ready for those races.

So even though I didn’t train with the team this week, I put my race kit on and headed out the door. In the pouring rain, I ran the 10 minutes that was on the schedule. You know what? It was the best run I’ve had in weeks!! I was going to ride for 20 minutes but the lightning and concerned HB kept me in the garage.

before race day

Feeling a lot better – even though 10 minutes is not representative of race day

I know my mental outlook had a lot to do with the success of this run. I can’t believe it took me this long to snap out of it! Where is Cher when you need her?!? Will Naples now be the perfect A race – no way! Are my inner demons gone for good? Not a chance! But now I feel like I have not only gotten up, dusted myself off, but am also gaining small bits of ground.

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