Some More Thoughts.. (Enter with Caution)
Endurance events require a lot of training FACT. There is no two ways about it, but the very nature of training, often twice a day, breeds a very questionable way of thinking about what is normal.
For any of you that have followed my journey for a while, read my blogs or watched my vlogs you will know I haven’t always been 'slim' and active. On a side note, by no means am I saying we should all live as I do. We all get enjoyment from different things and there have been sacrifices and compromises I have had to make to live and train as I have done. I see this mainly in my personal & social relationships.
I often find that after a morning training session, a day at work and then an evening session I am 110% done for the day, never mind the days when I squeeze a lunch session in too. The chances of making it out in the evening are near on 0 and I am very envious of the many people I follow who seem to have the ability to do this. One thing I have learned over the years is how my body reacts and I know that if overdo it for even a few days I will ultimately have a massive energy crash. This is a very similar situation at the weekend, big training sessions coupled with my seeming inability to just sit down mean i eek every last bit of energy out of my body and mind.
I am keen to make the distinction between mental and physical energy as I believe they are 2 entirely different things.
Physical energy is my normal energy required to do things: short term fuelling my workouts ect. Obviously this contributes to my mental energy but I tend to find it’s more a longer term thing. To be mentally exhausted isn't a short term thing, it's builds up often over years. It's something I very much experienced before racing in Kona.
Motivation & Disipline:
Motivation is a funny thing. I have seen the quote ‘motivation won’t always be there. These are the times you have to be disciplined’ many times and I really dislike it!
It doesn’t sit right with me as I think it pushes a philosophy where we stop listening to our bodies and just keep pushing until we are hit with forced rest days where the body is just so exhausted it can’t take anymore. Even the best made plans need to be monitored and if a session needs to be skipped it should be encouraged rather than the person be made to feel ‘undisciplined’ or lazy.
This for me is something I struggle with, made worse by logging onto social media and seeing people posting their perfectly timed photos with their seemingly perfect training where they never seem to miss a beat. Back when I was being coached I actually don’t think I often had a green week on training peaks. Life happens and I moved to accommodate.
Tiredness & Guilt:
So where do all these thoughts come from you might wonder. Well this week I have been off work on holiday. Having not had any time off for 8 months (my own error) I can honestly say I am exhausted: I haven’t been sleeping properly since we went back into lockdown (but that’s another topic all in itself).
But the point is even though I am tired, both in mind & body, I feel like I should be eeking every last hour out of the day with activity. To the extent where I feel lazy, guilty and like I’ve let myself down if I don’t.
Something I envy about a lot of people is the ability to chill out and relax in a bath. I haven’t had a bath in god I literally can’t remember how long. I get bored and in all honesty struggle with loving my body when I'm laid in one. If my mind or body aren’t engaged in something I get anxious.
I have a hugely addictive personality and once I set my mind on something it’s mine, I am doing it.
Now imagine setting your mind on too many things at once and then going after everything. Can you see how one might spread themselves a bit thin?
Even though I don’t really have the time, I am embarking on a YouTube channel adventure. I do enjoy doing it, no one really watches but that’s ok I am doing it for me! I also want to start horse riding, getting out on mid week hikes, play more badminton and start doing some ted talks style public speaking.
Turns out there aren’t enough of those mental energy hours in a day, who would have thought it? I often get frustrated at my inability to do everything and even more frustrating the things I do end up doing weren’t quite as I had in mind. But as time goes on I am learning to accept I am not Wonder Woman.
I am in a job that I LOVE and while this is in every single way a positive, it’s meant I have had to redistribute my ‘mental energy’ as doing a good job at work is of high importance to me. I want to be a role model for other females, to show them that they can do everything they put their mind on. That there isn’t just one path for you in life. That if something isn’t working for you it’s ok to leave it behind and move onto something new.
When I left Rolls Royce I was told I had done the wrong thing. I had left a very well paid job to go unemployed and spend 3 months doing a personal trainer qualification. Ironically my biggest critic at this time was my dad as it wasn’t the path he had set out for me. I just want to remind everyone here that I was 23 so not a child anymore. Your parents always want what’s best for you, but truly deep down only you can know that.
During the first 6 months of 2019 I:
Qualified as a level 3 Personal Trainer
Qualified for the IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPS at Lanzarote
Got a job as a waitress at weddings
Spent 3/4 months as a PT at David Lloyd
Took the time to really think about what I WANTED to do with my life
Got a job as an assistant buyer at Alpkit
I also started dating someone but linking this back to the beginning. I was too tired and lacked the energy to give enough to it. Turns out turning up to a date with wet hair isn’t how these things work..
Alpkit wasn’t it either. While I was busy, I had no real responsibility and this is what I craved. Working for a small company comes with its own challenges and I felt like I was investing some of my soul there and in turn didn’t feel valued for the work I put in.
I made the decision at the beginning of 2020 to start looking for a new job. I had also decided this job wouldn’t be in Nottingham. I am 24 at this point and knew I needed to start putting some roots down. I had always wanted to move back nearer the peaks so decided to set my search on either Sheffield or Manchester. Then bam Covid happens and it’s all on hold. Plans out the window and I’m back in Southampton as I honestly wasn’t expecting it to last more than a few weeks.
I was furloughed from work and suddenly it was like this massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Summer 2020 was the dream, I can honestly say it was lovely to be able to spend that much time with my family. Even better I got my job at the Coop in July.
But Where is all of this Going?
I firmly believe you make your own luck in life. When I got my job at the Coop, someone very close to me told me I was ‘lucky’ to get the job and my life was ‘finally’ coming together which actually made me feel like crap. You CANNOT look at life like this. I didn’t get handed that job, I had to have 3 interviews and chase the application for months.
You never know what makes you stand out to employers but I was also offered a job at My Protein a bit before which I turned down. Come to think of it, I have always got every job I have applied for. Yes that sounded a bit big headed I apologise. But as I said if you put the effort in it’s weird how the wind can blow in your favour.
My question to you: what makes you different to everyone else. In an interview room where everyone has a first from uni and some solid work experience. What separates you out?
I have done 3 Ironman’s, 2 while working full time all before the age of 24
I embrace the fact I am me, I don’t spend hours doing my hair and make up every morning, I'd much rather be out walking, swimming or getting an early start at work so I can see the daylight after work
I have lived in a lot of different places: Birmingham, Southampton, New Forest, Derby, Sheffield, Nottingham and now Manchester
I have had an eating disorder and come out the other side
I (hopefully) inspire others to go for their dreams
Being in Manchester on my own, knowing very few people, along with no real opportunities to really make any friends means I have whole heartedly struggled over the last 6 months. To bring this full circle I have truly relied on exercise to get me through. Most people call it training but I don’t train to race. I train to live, to give my mind a break from daily stresses to switch off.
This time off work has really made me think about my life, and instead of looking at what I haven't managed to do this week, I am taking a different approach. Below are my key achievements for the 2020/21 for which I am most proud: (I would encourage you to do the same)
I am buying a house at the ripe old age of 25
I am finally finding some joy back in my cycling and running
I fixed a family relationship that has been broken for a long time
I moved to Manchester
I started a new job in lockdown
I now have 10k followers on Instagram (bonkers)
I have started a YouTube channel
To Wrap this Long Note Up:
You are in control of your own destiny
Take your time to think through your decisions before you make them, especially if others are trying to influence you
Get more fresh air, walking is great
Don’t settle for less than your worth
If you’ve made it this far thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed!