I know from the word go that this will be my most controversial blog, but nevertheless here I go.
As a triathlete and runner, I am constantly thinking about fuel…. energy…. recovery…. I train up to 13hours per week, mostly intense cardiovascular exercise, pushing myself to the limit time and time again. I make sure to take in protein post exercise to aid recovery. I know to take on board carbohydrates when I feel myself ‘dipping’ into the “empty” zone, and I know that a little bit of fat is good for you.
Then why is it, when I look in the mirror, all I can see is ‘the fat triathlete’?
Last year, I lost a stone in weight. I felt faster, fitter, leaner, hotter….better than I’ve ever felt, but my word it was difficult. I ate a very bland diet, often skipping meals entirely, or having just some boiled broccoli for dinner. I somehow managed to fend off my cravings for chocolate, cakes and treats and resist late night snacks, all for the goal of achieving that lean athletic figure. I miss that Lisa. She had will power.
It’s crazy, because I have so much mental focus in other aspects of my life. My training is 100% focussed. My career has never been more on focus. So why can’t I keep this part together?
Since moving to the States, I know I’ve put back on that weight, hopefully not a stone, but not far off I don’t think. A number of factors contributed to this: living in a hotel and eating out a lot, astronomical portion sizes, hidden calories (I now realise that ‘healthy’ in the US is maybe not the same ‘healthy’ Im used to in the UK), loneliness, stress, fatigue……comfort eating.
I don’t want to hear the “but you’re not fat” or the “it’s just the transition” or “Lisa, you need the fuel and calories” because for anyone who’s ever looked in the mirror and hated what they saw, the last thing they want is someones opinion. They want change, they want a difference, they want to look in the mirror and be happy with what they see. This is a subject I do not like to talk about… image. And the main reason I feel I can talk about it on here is that this is a faceless diary if you will. The other reason is that, if I, as a semi-pro athlete (I have won money in some races so can probably say semi-pro?), who exercises several hours per week, eats healthily, is not classed as ‘overweight’ according to BMI or body fat percentage figures, feel this way about weight, image and food, how many others do?
Just yesterday, I read an article about how Jessica Ennis was said to be carrying excess weight – I mean that’s ridiculous – and Triathlete Hollie Avil, suffered an eating disorder after feeling pressure from coaches to lose excess weight. This doesn’t make me feel any better about myself, my image or my weight, but at least I know I’m not alone. And as I said before, I DO NOT want to have any sympathy comments relating to this posts, or worried/concerned comments because I will not be satisfied or happy until I am returned to, or have achieved a leaner, athletic figure.
I am disappointed with myself, because I will now go into the 70.3 Ironman, my debut at this distance, as ‘the fat triathlete’ and have nobody to blame but myself. Who knows, this may work to my advantage as no-one ever expects the underdog, or underpig as I feel just now, to come out on top, so maybe I’ll surprise them and myself.
I will however, be vigilant in my diet of lean meat, vegetables and WATER (and coffee), eating enough to fuel and no more.
I wish there were a magic wand, or a secret exercise plan to achieve my goal but the bottom line is that its simply hard work and WILL POWER. Careful diet AND exercise are what will achieve your ideal physique, not one without the other.
So, before you judge me or pity me or whatever your views on this post may be, please take a moment to respect that how you feel inside is (how I feel inside) cannot be changed by ANYONE BUT ME.
I will get there, it’ll just take some more blood, sweat and tears.
Well, I don’t have a guitar or piano right now but have been playing around with garage band and also figuring out how to be all technical with the computer side of things and have managed to add a new track 🙂 please don’t be offended as its not nearly as poetic as the original, but just wanted to share.
Sometimes in your life, you have to take a BIG step back and re-assess the situation. Whether this be to re-jig your game plan at work or in training, re-evaluate your goals, or simply to breathe and take a big sigh……Aaaahhh.
I say this because last night and this morning, I have been hit with overwhelming fatigue. Last night I couldn’t even stay awake to eat and had to sleep for a couple hours then get up again for dinner. This morning I naively got up at 5am thinking I’d be fine, but with swollen glands, blurry eyes and this overwhelming tiredness I stopped. I reassessed the situation as follows:
What I have to do: 3hours bike, 30mins run fast off bike
How do I feel: Exhausted, on the brink of illness,
How will I feel if I don’t train: Terrible, guilty, but I might recover easier?
Compromise: 2 more hours in bed to sleep + actually eat breakfast and let it settle before heading out + be prepared to shorten bike if heat outside gets too much.
Result: Session achieved and compromised.
I think the main factor in all this is COMPROMISE. So Im sitting here now, letting breakfast settle and mentally preparing for the session. I know it’ll be close to 100degrees fahrenheit by the time I get to the run but I just make sure I accommodate and prepare for that.
So aside from this mornings episode, this overwhelming fatigue has been building up for a couple weeks now, certainly a wake-up call… or go to sleep call I should really say! I hope other people find it difficult too though, juggling full-time career, 12hour of training, eating, sleeping, other monotonous errands that accompany moving half way across the world and into a completely new environment, and its not just me?!
This week i bought ‘Racing Weight: How to get Lean for Peak Performance’…..probably too late for this race but will let you know if its worth a read. I have found it difficult to follow ordinary diet plans or fads due to the volume and intensity of my training but I think its going to really come down to how you actually manage your hunger.
ANYWAY BORING BITS ASIDE!!!!
Last weekend I travelled to Ventura, California for my first out of state event and first ever half marathon. Not to sound too much like an annoying triathlete off the youtube video “S*** Triathletes say” (if you haven’t seen this and know a couple triathletes or cyclists, you should watch this, its pretty accurate), but I really was looking at this like a training run, in preparation for HIM (Half IronMan). Because there is a half marathon at the end AFTER the bike and swim, I wanted to make sure I knew what the distance felt like, that I knew I could hold a steady pace for and so I knew what to prepare for mentally. I wanted to aim for AROUND the 1:30:00 mark, but because it was a new experience I wasn’t going to beat myself up if I didn’t manage that. The race itself was great; the sea breeze and humidity was delicious and a welcome change from the dry desert heat. I followed my fellow Ninja’s advice: keep it steady for miles 0-4, push on miles 7-10 and then I actually can’t remember what the instruction was after that….maybe just finish?? Oh dear I must listen better and remember better next time… So anyway I did that, and then picked up the pace slightly with 1mile to go. My team-mate Priscilla who was running the 5k, joined me with around 800m to go, and helped coax me in through the final stretch to finish in a time of 1:27:45 and place 1st Female finisher overall! DELIGHTED!!!
After a huge bowl of GF pasta in Santa Barbara (which I must say is a beautiful town and will have to go back!!!) we drove back to Las Vegas, stopping only once for a milkshake and fries. On sunday, the effects of sitting in a car for a number of hours after running a half marathon were less than welcome, so a day chilling out by the pool was on the cards.
Another experience this week was swimming at Lake Mead. I met fellow ninja but no relation, Amy Leonard at the lake, and she had already swam so I started out putting on my wetsuit so I could also practice this for HIM. I had to cut our conversation short however and get into the water….imagine standing in a full sleeved and legged neoprene wetsuit, in direct sunlight in 100+degree heat…..I actually thought I was melting, like physically melting away! However swim was good apart from the gradually setting sun blinding me on each turn; no fish to be seen and no dead bodies as suggested by many folks probably trying to scare me but nonetheless achieving said scare mongering!
So after a hard working week and a hard training week, of which I still have 5hours of training left and I have to work tomorrow also 😦 I have re-assessed the situation and created new goals…bed by 9.30pm especially if I am up at 5am for training, and stay on top of timing for nutrition!!!
So for now, I am off to wash dishes, train, run some errands then head to the Ninja BBQ/gathering this afternoon to RELAX. Bed by 10pm maybe as I won’t be up at 5am tomorrow 🙂
To all my Scottish friends and family, I mis you very much, special shout to Laura Sarkis who is nearly finished the Celtman!!! And to Rhea and Ryan who have their engagement party this weekend!
Love, Lisa x
I have been in Las Vegas for four weeks now, and so far, in no particular order, I have:
- Started working Full-time as Physical Therapist
- Opened a bank account (harder than it sounds!)
- Taken out a lease on an apartment, collected keys and begun to move in (begun/began??)
- Bought a car
- Bought a bed, sofa and mattress….the essentials
- Got a ‘cell phone’
- Placed 2nd overall, 1st in age-group in local 5km running event
- Placed 1st overall in Amica Lake Las Vegas Sprint Triathlon
- Entered 70.3 Ironman Wisconsin, booked flights and hotel and started training plan
- Become a Ninja/joined a running race team (Ninja Endurance Racing)
- Met and just about have joined the Colavita Cycling team
- Been abseiling (repelling), hiking and zip lining in the Nevada desert
- Got heatstroke after said abseiling, hiking and zip lining
- Learned that you say ‘sweater’ not ‘jumper’, you don’t ‘nip to the loo’ you ‘go to the restroom’ and ‘garage’ sounds more like ‘gar-aah-je’
- Been mistaken for Irish, Australian, English, Swiss
- Been complimented on ‘how good my english is’….awkward
All in all its been hectic but Im really starting to get used to my new life over here. I do miss my friends and family back home but I know they’re proud of me and want me to be follow my dreams and ambition. I also feel that training here in Vegas, with the altitude, extreme heat, high winds, 0% humidity, mountainous surroundings and brilliant facilities (for example, I live next door to a 50m outdoor training pool) I am hopeful that I can improve my athletic potential or at least begin my journey towards developing as an athlete.
So what’s next…..
After a successful Sprint Triathlon today at Lake Las Vegas, I can now focus 100% on the next BIG event:
Ironman 70.3 Racine, Wisconsin
1.2mile Swim/56mile Bike/13.1mile Run
The Goal: 1st in age category or achieve roll-down qualification for….
Ironman 70.3 World Championships Las Vegas, Nevada
The combination of ‘The Goal’ and the fact I have never competed at this distance before, coupled with unknown weather/water/air conditions in Racine, I know this challenge will be…. well…. challenging…
So here I am, psyched for the training and the challenge, scared of failure or the dreaded ‘DNF’ and filled with unknowns I need to try and turn into knowns in the next few weeks. Any tips on what to wear, what to eat, training tips, diet plans to lose those last few punds, what to aim for time wise, or words of wisdom from my athlete friends would be most appreciated (comments below please)
Training Quote of the Week:
You can quit and no one will care….. but you will always know…
First of all, can’t even believe it’s February already! Where does the time go?! Anyway, amongst other things I am currently patiently waiting for a phone call or text or telegram or more appropriately stork, as my baby sister is expecting her first baby, making me nearly an aunty for the first time!!! Seeing as we’re now past her due date, I find myself twitching any time the phone goes just in case! Wow what a nerve racking time…..praying that everything goes well and that mother and baby are safe and healthy 🙂
So….I am still patiently waiting on an exam date, however my time is more consumed by studying and the frantic panic that seems to accompany studying for such a big exam!! Hoping to get over in the next couple of months BUT IN THE MEAN TIME I have got fed up of not planning any races so have entered Stirling Duathlon (25th March) and contemplating Dambuster Duathlon (10th March with super Iron girl Laura Sarkis). Having to competed in Duathlon for a number of years due to my panic and dislike for running, I have overcome said issues and feel confident now more than ever in my running ability. Saying that I do feel it ironic that just as I decide to compete at 70.3 distance I enter a 3k race, and finish first female! Spanner in the works or what?!
Weather has been dire….I don’t think I’ve been out cycling with the team on a Sunday THIS YEAR!!! This is something I will definitely not miss when living in the USA! Hopefully as we progress into February and March the Ice will dissipate and due to our excessive Turbo training/watt bike training/ and spin classes Team Total Endurance will absolutely dominate the cycling scene!! If you don’t train with anyone just now or have been putting off going to that local group GO NOW!!! Training with other like-minded mental triathlon types motivates you like nothing else; the environment, the atmosphere (sweaty yes), the competition, the satisfaction and sense of achievement of absolute commitment to the set is a feeling like none other!
I have had some recent issues with food and training which I am going to create a poll about. For those who don’t know, I have coeliacs disease which limits me to a gluten free diet and leaves me with some symptoms of IBS also. This makes fuelling, recovery and race prep tricky at times. Even breakfast can turn into a constant struggle, so anyone out there with any GF tips or advice for athletes, I would welcome them warmly!!
Other than that, that’s all there is to say for this affa’ driech day in Aberdeen city!
2012 …. a year to start again, to build on goals not yet accomplished and put aside the stresses and strains of 2011
2011 is going to be difficult to beat, graduating, excellent positions in triathlon european and world level events and making a comeback to the stage, however 2012 has the potential to be even bigger….
I am getting there with these american conversion exams, slowly but surely…. and I hope to be over there within the next couple months. Have stopped making deadlines and just working hard in the hope that hard work will indeed pay off!!
I am currently in a dilemma with triathlon. Olympic vs 70.3?!?!?
After meeting professional triathlete Bella Bayliss (yes I am name dropping!) at the Lumphanan Detox 10k (where I came 2nd senior TO Bella Bayliss) I am even more tempted to make the jump to 70.3 distance. I have always been ambitious and want to become the best I can be….can I become the best at Olympic distance – realistically without my swimming improve a LOT, probably not; can I become the best I can be at 70.3 or indeed Ironman? Why am I more confident about saying yes to this, a distance double or quadruple what I’m used to??! Anyway, time is ticking, it’s already nearly half through January and decision time must be now! The year is shaped around this decision so can’t be taken lightly. Just need to make a decision and believe it is what I am meant to do this year…… if anyone would like to give any tips advice to help me that would be great!
Life is about living, living for today, ‘no day but today’, but its also about dreaming and chasing your goals and ambitions…
So before going any further into this potentially incredible 2012 I WILL make a choice, just not sure which it’ll be yet. Maybe I’ll find out at the track tomorrow…..
Happy 2012 everyone 🙂 let’s make it amazing
Something to make your friday all the more ‘Christmassy’ 🙂
Holiday’s are Coming 🙂 ’tis the season to be merry, enjoy the company of our family, friends and loved ones, eat until we are forced to lie down and be VERY still until the over eating feeling passes – maybe that’s just me?! – and to look back over this past year as we prepare for the next….2012 baby!!
2011 has been an incredible year full of joy, sadness, successes, huge obstacles, incomprehensible stress levels, moving house too many times to count and I owe a lot of it to the wonderful people in my life, the people who have supported me and stood by me through thick and thin.
The financial climate has been dire yet again, but nevertheless with the support of the following companies, sponsorship enabled me to travel to China to compete in the AG World Triathlon Championships. For this I’d like to say a very special thank you to Freelance World, Run 4 It and to McIntosh Plant Hire, I really appreciate your support and could not have made it there without you!!
Secondly, but by no means inferiorly, my thanks goes to all of my personal sponsors who contributed by sponsoring me and my Mum across the Lairig Ghru, by sending generous donations and believing in me also. Your kind words and support were taken with me to Beijing, and truly helped me through the actual event.
I know I have previously said my thanks to all these people but I felt they were worthy of further recognition!
2011 was the year I also graduated from the Robert Gordon University with a 2.1 in Physiotherapy. I have since been working through various steps to allow me to travel stateside to employment in America – no mean feat by any account, and I still have a way to go but getting there slowly and surely. I also returned to the stage as a dancer in FAME and as the lead role of sell-out show Shhh… the Musical down in the Fringe in Edinburgh. Was good to be performing again!!
So, to round off a great year I am looking forward to spending Christmas with family, hopefully catching up with old friends, and enjoying the snow….whenever it comes….up in the hills.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a magical New Year!!
I promise next post will be less reflective, and far more witty 🙂
Miserable seems the most fitting way to describe today’s weather and general ambience. It is a Friday but I seem to have lost that ‘Friday Feeling’ in amongst the stress of trying to find another part time job to tide me by, stressing about these american exams and when they’ll be, stressing over a tax bill that I’m sure I’m not due but seeing as its taken 7months to reply to my last letter, it doesn’t appear to be settling any time soon! Stressing over months and months, years in fact, of working so hard, trying to be the best at everything I do, giving 100% commitment to various projects, and leaving little time for relaxing, all to be stuck in limbo. No way of planning ahead when I don’t know where I’ll be in 6months time – will I be here, will I be in America, will I have changed direction completely?! Being stuck in this limbo scares me and panics me, because I have absolutely no control over when things will happen. So what do I do?
I keep faith and believe. Believe that everything will work out if I continue to work hard towards my goals, keep focussed and have faith that things will fall into place. Faith and belief are so often associated with religion, dismissed by those who don’t follow any particular religion or cult, but faith and belief are what makes the world go round. We all need a little faith and belief, whether that be in ourselves, in our family, in our friends, in our work, in society, in humanity… not a lot, just enough to keep us going, keep me going. I’m not overly religious, but I believe that things will work out. I have faith that my hard work, commitment and sacrifice have all been worth it and that there’s a light at the end of this tunnel, a light that’s been waiting for me.
So on days like this, where the skies are grey, my shoes are wet, my finances are depressing, studying feels endless, I close my eyes….. remember that everything will be ok….. smile….. breathe….. and get on with it. 🙂