The Art of Distractions
I'm going through my week a bit blinded by the foggy glaze in my head, as I have been working hard, completing my training, but a couple of things keep cropping up and making me think I should work through them too..
1. I'm always stupid busy
The amount of times I've been over this year's event list and reviewed what can be packed into it, is ridiculous. Though it's not until I have to do something important like applying for Sport Medical insurance for the bigger events, that the full scale of my mileage is put into context. Today I figured I should pay for my medical once, then get it applied to each event. Somehow telling a doctor that you will be cycling around 1000 miles by the end of the year and running multiple marathons, no longer feels feisty and challenging... It just makes me look down right ill! So rightly or wrongly I elected to omit talking to him about my mental health on this occasion. It seemed pretty evident already that I wasn't quite right, as I recalled my list of commitments.
2. I am ace at hiding.
I'm 160cm high and smaller than I was but still wider than I should be. I'm unable to squeeze into small spaces but I can definitely hide. I hide behind smiles, polite conversation, cover the surface reasonably well. Though if you ask the key simple questions, I'm going to break the fascade real quick. I'm a professional artist in the field of hidden moments and trying not to catch the eye of any souls who have the ability to see or scratch beyond the surface.
3. I'm a high functioning avoidance activist.
I can hide, in my busy plans and convince most of the people that I'm okay, most of the time. I have the benefit of time with some really great coaches, who I snatch hints and advice from at regular intervals and who help me to reach the goals that I set myself. For me, its not just enough to get through the working week in tact. I want to get to the end of this year having accomplished more than I have achieved this far in my life, by pushing myself to help raise more funding for each of the charities I am supporting through my rides and runs.
4. I'm a lucky lady with some great support to get through 1, 2 and 3
I am really lucky to have found some amazing support from several coaches and running groups. Vicky Stapleton-Wale is a multi marathon and ultra marathon runner and super cool sensible but all action lady. Paul and the Track East family and the good vibes folks at the Run Dem Crew catch ups, are great motivators and when I can reach the sessions, they always pep me up. John Hampshire gave me some invaluable advise on my recent cycling training camp in Girona and finally the Chasing Lights Crew and their Run Coach Chevy gives up his time to coerce the collective to move around the city, encouraging us all to think more wisely about how efficiently we train.
Vicky tells me when to have rest days and plots my mileage for training runs. She never tells me I can't do anything, but knows when and how to suggest that I may be overdoing it. I've yet to find an event that she's scared about how I should approach, but I guess there's always a first time! (She may not have seen the full list at this stage)..
Chevy gives us all advice on how to slow down and use techniques to better our game. Which in turn eventually sticks and rattles around long enough for me to ponder over. The most recent of which has been the phrase 'Distraction'. More specifically not using one distraction and stress to cover existing distractions and stress. Which yeah, totally makes sense, but is hard to admit that you're guilty of doing.
You see this past year I have been getting back to reality and I'm getting on okay most of the time. But when I'm tired and I slow down, I still can't stop thinking that I'm stepping forward with one foot and still holding back tears, at times that I really hoped I'd be past by now. There's nothing wrong with being open about feeling down but when you're a year down the line and you're running yourself into as many routes to endorphin land as possible, I'd really love to stop being the crying lady in the supermarket, or trying not to break down in tears at my desk.
I have never been this fragile in my life and I hate it. I'm doing all that I can to crawl back out of the pit and sometimes it feels like I'm just passing another mother-fuffing metre back down the hole! So ... I can't avoid this any longer and I need to fess up that I know I'm guilty of creating huge distractions for myself to wipe out the noise in my head.
This weekend is a perfect example.. 2 Half Marathon races in 2 days.. the first is a small event but a tough trail run across the South Downs, with the crazy Maverick team, the second is Brighton Half Marathon, a huge event that I may just get swallowed up in.. WTF I was doing picking these back to back goes beyond sense but in a way I think I wanted to prove to myself that I was getting better.
Either that or it's the feeling that you really need to punish yourself and give yourself a massive kick in the head, to make sure you never ever do it again.. Only Time Will Tell.
But on a serious note.. the distractions are often the only way I made it this far. If I make it through these two races I'll be celebrating a year of surviving the wish to disappear and remove myself, from everything that I couldn't cope with. It's a thank you to friends and family for letting me know you were there and it's a good step towards the Marathons planned this year..
Here's to hills and heart break!
If you'd like to help me to help MIND raise awareness and provide support for people suffering from mental health issues please feel free to donate to my page..