Saturday, 11 June 2016

"I would rather be a comma than a full stop" Coldplay

One week to go before going on  what was supposed to be a racing holiday with the MTB Marathon World Championships and XTERRA France offroad triathlon race back to back. I was supposed to be super fit by now, that was the plan. After having had August-January off, my body would have been fully recovered to start training properly after spending a week with Nico in France. Which I did for a month and it was great, I was back, or so I thought. Then the nasty flu hit me and I was drained from all my reserves, feeling floored for close to a month. It is ok I thought, many people go through this, it is just the flu, I will bounce back. But I did not. My body had nothing on the flu. Training became a chore, my running pace was so slow it was crazily frustrating. My back, my glutes, my hamstrings protesting my every move. You had to literally peel me off the bike after a 5 hour session with my lower back seizing up in riding position. Stretch, stretch stretch. This is what it’s like to be unfit and get back to fitness I thought, I just have to push through this and it will get easier I thought. But training with a sore and tired body was not much fun. Wanting to be as fast as I used to be but being slow was not much fun. Not being able to do anything about it was the worst part. Because pushing through, training harder, ignoring the signs, I knew out of experience was for me the biggest enemy.

Playing on the bike
I actually needed to learn how to move again, slowly, efficiently, smoothly without any objectives, get the frustrations out of my head. Look after my body, be happy that I could still move even if it was slow. I had to give my heart, lungs and muscles what they needed, find the balance between training and recovering and accept that this year it would be all about moving. Not about pace, power or performance, but about completing, finding flow, joy, passion and overcoming a very negative mindset.

So here I am two weeks from probably my last (and only second) World Championships as an elite athlete, the opportunity to wear the national kit with pride, in an Olympic year.
Such a good feeling wearing national kit
Something quite special. Can I complete this world championship course? Yes, probably without too many problems. The question is if I can accept another mediocre performance, can I go into this race with my eyes wide open. There will be 70ish very elite strong female mountain bikers and I will be battling it out at the back. Even in top peak condition I would only be aiming for a top 40 finish, so really what does it matter? It is not like I am going for the win!! “it is all about how you view things” were Michael’s words. And I am doing my utter best to get myself in the right head space.

Two weeks to go.

“it is not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are not”