I was reading a blog post by one of my favourite running bloggers, Lauren Fleshman, where she writes about being part of a team and how it motivates her, and also how she feels when she is not part of the team (due to injury). “But as the injury settles in, I slip further and further away. Emails from the team remain unopened (what does that have to do with me anyway?) Therapy appointments get scheduled right over practice times (I can’t run so why be there?) Before too long, a random run-in with a teammate at the grocery store becomes as awkward as a conversation with an ex-boyfriend. By eight weeks in, I might as well be shacking up in the Maldives. I’m totally gone.”
I’ve not been injured recently, but I’ve definitely spent time away from my team. You lot. The other runners / triathletes / active folk out there, training for races and events and pushing yourselves in so many different type-A ways. I’ve not been blogging, I’ve not been commenting, I’ve not been reading, I’ve not even been FaceBooking – I have just been out of it.
I’ve tried to put my finger on why I’ve felt so out of it. I think some of it has to do with feeling lacking in purpose. Everyone else is gearing up for a race and I’m trying to get on with some non-running goals. Deferring the VLM was the smart thing to do, but it also took a goal and a purpose away. And while I have a goal, athletically, in the half ironman, I was very much grappling with how to attack that goal. Bite-sized chunks, sure enough, but it’s surprising how un-prescriptive triathlon training from books is, compared to running training from books. And my friendly coach-but-not-a-coach had given me an impressive training schedule but I still struggled with whether I could move things around, how I measured intensity and generally this feeling of “am I doing this right, teacher?”.
The smart thing to do would have been, obviously, to stick with the team – you – and ask you for advice. But instead I sank into a little slough of despond all of my own making and just flailed around for a bit. I drafted quite a few blog posts, tried to respond to a meme I was invited to answer but couldn’t find any enthousiasm for it (10 interesting things about me? I don’t think there are any).
And then last week I got a grip of myself. Yes, I still have some things to sort out before my PT business can get started – some within and some outside of my control. I am the world’s worst procrastinator when it comes to finishing my website. That’s one thing. But I can stop flailing around when it comes to triathlon training and ask for some help. And so I did. I got a coach. An amazingly heavy weight feels like it has dropped off my shoulders. I don’t have to figure it all out myself! I do what she tells me to do. If it’s too hard, I tell her and she adjusts the next workout. If it’s too easy, same deal. My son has been home ill with flu and Tuesday evening I felt myself going downhill. Had I not had a coach, I would have taken myself off to the pool as planned (because if I don’t do a workout it proves what a bad person / procrastinator / useless athlete I am, right?). However, I emailed her and she told me not to go. I went to bed early and woke up yesterday in the throws of flu. Unlike last year, I didn’t waste any time in going to the doctor and getting my beginning chest infection diagnosed. And I’m not panicking about missed training either – I have months to go before my race and my coach will help me to sort out my workouts.
So I’m back – back on the team. I have a goal, and a plan. Not flailing but waving. Back on top!