We are ultimately projections and expressions of our minds. Blocks surface in unsure footings we’ve taken in our paths that need realignment. The month of my move has been incredible, an experience of growth of which I’m so proud, crossing bridges and opening myself to love in the big pic, word sense.
This transition is so markedly profound especially when looking backwards, retrospectively, a sparingly practiced endeavour. I have grown from a place of self punishment and hiding from the world. It is interesting to look at these leaps and appreciate their nature, but of merit is the act of approaching challenges in a way that belittles them, makes them less huge in our minds. Appraisal of things in life is ultimately our world, and the beauty in this is that it’s totally within our choice and power.
To define my leap in transition as not too big, this is a way to make the transition require less energy, less training effect, less expenditure and mindfulness wasted in periphery. Instead it can be harnessed towards attracting personal growth and wealth, and attacking more challenges.
For especially the past week, I’ve entered each workout feeling fatigue. Insecurity mounts and I defaultedly revert to putting up my defences to fight this appraised threat to my self-defined identity as an athlete. I sum up all my resources to confront the resistance and finish my workouts feeling at level zero. I know that the best way to train is to do the minimal amount possible in order to see training gains. A brilliant mentor of mine, Dave Norona helped me through my struggles by reminding me of (among a shitload of other advice and warm hearted support) the importance of rest, of training under your threshold, and of finishing your workouts feeling like you could have pushed harder. His words of wisdom I took to heart, he is a wicked athlete and has learned though experience and his triumphs in the realm of Professional Cycling, Triathlon, off-road Mountain Biking and Adventure racing that the secret to success is slow progression, by no more than 10% increase of time/intensity each week. Something I think we all struggle with is the phenomenon of knowing what we need to do, and having a fine swell time condoning it to others, but struggling and ignoring that advice for ourselves. I’m not a stranger to this. Thank you so much Dave for the reminder, and I’m on it.
I have a survival tactic of defence to pull up my knickers and put my fists up when fatigue hits, I can persevere through a lot of pain. This is undeniable, but the question is at what detriment and for how long. I have been overtraining, I’ve been silencing and training through pleas for rest. The confusing nature of the monumental scream of my body for rest that I’ve encountered this week is that my workouts this week have also been demonstrative of training gains. I hit and surpassed pace times, in spite of the front of fatigue. Instead of looking at this phenomenon as a marker/OK to continue this cycle, the resultant chest muscle strain is a reminder that this mode of training is not sustainable or healthy. It will not align with my values and goals, and results in mental and physical reevaluation.
I am gifted with the choice of accepting or fighting this blessing in disguise. I am choosing to accept, respect, and appreciate it. Instead of looking at it as a punishment from my body for not listening, I am believing it to be a wonderful gift of my body to suggest a plan of conduct that will ultimately lead me towards my soul-loving goals and Ikigai. Instead of looking at it as a “holy shit, merde why me!” kind of experience, I choose to regard it as an opportunity for my body to finally rest, regroup, reevaluate my training program, and try out a new one that is more respectful, and more longevity-promoting for my lifelong love of living the best life that I possibly can.
I know that this strain is not a cause in itself, it is a symptom of a bigger cause; my immune and fighting response is low due to overall overtraining, and my ears are now open for listening to the whispers.
The location of the injury gave me quite a fucking scare – being over my heart, intermingling and interfering with my breathing, it was a scary red flag for a heart problem. On Wednesday I did a swim kick set, and I could feel a shoulder pain, albeit mild, but still present the following day. It was a little mindful symptom I was aware of, nothing major at all.
So this shoulder pain got worse on Friday at swim, I was exhausted, but still managed my 10 x 100’s on 1:35, coming in consistently at 1:25 at a moderate effort!!! I’m getting faster, but I still pushed. I got in wanting to get out at 500m, but stayed in for 5km. The pain was present, mild. After swim, I went to work, and at work, the looming big day packed with clients was overwhelming, and I found the pain causing me pain in breathing. I broke down and my boss kindly encouraged me to leave and get my health checked out. Long journey short, I ended up at the emergency room with test requisitions and needle pokes, grumblegrumble….x ray, ECG, blood, whatever, all came back supporting that I was a healthy kid, except for slight elevated blood count risk for a blood clot, and the fact that I take birth control was a red flag for me to be at risk. The physician said they were obligated based on this fact alone to do one more test before the clot could be ruled out. Because I was low risk, they were not concerned for me to stay night and make my already 6hr visit any longer, so they cleared me to go home. Anxious and frustrated, I left. The next day I got another battery of tests and a CT Scan all concluding that I was a healthy girl, with no lung blood clot, but a strained chest muscle. PHEW.
After the fright I was really humbled by our delicate and precious bodies. The heart is serious, I seriously took it to heart (ehhh? eh?). But it was a time for me to take a step back and look at the big picture. In the end, I want happy, healthy, resilience, personal unrelenting (and kind) growth and love. I must continually remind myself of these goals and wants when the voice creeps back for me to berate my rest, have distaste for conking out on the bike leg of the 1/2 Ironman relay that I was signed up for today (le sigh, there will be many others). But fuck, THIS right here is part of training, an integral part at that. I can’t distinguish and separate this phase from my program, just as rest is equally incorporated into a training plan. This is not a pause, this is IT. Taking this path is part of the process. And shit, this is the best case scenario, it’s not a big deal, not a bone break, not a heart attack, not paralysis. A. Muscle. Strain. I just gotta take’r ease, whatevs. It’s not hard if I decide it not to be. I have studied the process of muscle and soft tissue healing, I know the stages it progresses through, and I know what encourages, and what demotes the healing. I’ll choose the former route thank you very much.
I met a lady along my hike this morning that expressed that she’d had a similar injury, and it took only a coupla days of light rest, and then smooth transitioning, nice and slow back into training. No sweat, the fact that this is my second rest day in 2 years is just a heads up WTF for learning from, so not cool, MY body, because it’s all relative in the end, needs more rest to work ratio that I’ve been giving it, time doesn’t matter, in the end, it doesn’t even exist (that’s another blog post, shit). Nuff said.
Time to chill, my legs ain’t going no where, they’ll carry me up Mountain Highway when they will, strong as fuck, because I know I am. Love me, love you.