Motivation and The Mean Girl

Well into Week 8 of injury down time here at Conquest Towers. Initially I like to think I took my second ITB injury in my stride. I knew what to expect, and I hit the physio exercises hard, only throwing one or two full on diva temper tantrums. I got on the spin bike regularly and gave it 110%, and made peace with the Foam Roller Of Spiteful Death. It was going well. I even started climbing to keep me distracted

Climbing Heroes
What running injury?

This burst of positivity didn’t last for long. I was hit with a fairly brutal summer cold, combined with a manically busy period at work and a very serious case of all consuming ‘meh’. Typically my nutritional planning then went out the window as I reached for chocolate, sugar and caffeine to save the day, instant fixes and serious sugar comedowns. Add in a dash of ‘I-just-can’t-be-arsed’ for good measure and you’ve got a very unmotivated and pretty pissed off person.

But it wasn’t just the stressed out immune system to blame – officially giving up the Royal Parks place sucked. This was going to be the Half that I delivered a decent PB, and I’d wipe out the memory of literally sobbing through mile 8 last year, when the first ITB injury flared up in all its agonising glory. It was the race that would kick off a new season of ‘proper running’. You know the stuff, training that is synchronised in perfect harmony with your schedule, where you cross train as often as you know you should, where PBs are beaten every month. I had a very clear idea that this would herald in some new era in fitness, and in turn I would finally become a ‘Proper Runner’ too. But I had to say no thanks. I’m on  the bench, I need to recover and rebuild recondition. And in my head I hear this:  I’m obviously just not cut out for this. My body is just rubbish, just stop. Its too hard

So here’s the thing. I am still trying to convince that surly cynical sulking inner teenager of my youth that I’m actually capable of doing this. Every slower than expected mile, every ache, every twist, every injury  I can hear her sniggering from behind a fog of Marlborough, snapping gum and smirking, ‘You don’t really think you can do this do you? Making an arse of yourself out there wearing STUPID shorts and UGLY trainers, and you look a right sweaty mess, wheezing through a 15 minute run. What a JOKE’ 

She’s a total bitch.

I should know, I was her for a damn sight longer than I like to admit.

It’s this long standing fiercely personal fight that’s the hardest one. I’ve conquered my fears about running outdoors in broad daylight wearing VERY short shorts. I’m deliriously happy when I look in the mirror and I’m practically puce – I can laugh at the fact that I forget to take my mascara off and I look like Alice Cooper on a spin bike. I really couldn’t give a flying fuck about what the blokes at the pub are shouting after me as I ran past. But if I spend too much time in my own head, I’ll find a reason why I shouldn’t bother. That insecure, bullying, spiteful voice gets a little louder and picks tiny holes in all my hard earned esteem.

Hence the climbing, the roller blading, the cycling. I suspect I may take up motorbiking too, that might shut up the Mean Girl in my head. Scare the shit out of her. I’ve also noticed making a total fool of myself and laughing about it, keeps her pretty quiet too – so there was this:

Harley Nerd

Combine the two, fear and being ridiculous and I give you Survival of the Fittest  in November. If that doesn’t shut her up, it may just convert her. Get her to give up the snark and take up the pom poms. I need to become my own biggest cheer leader. Thankfully I’ve got a few awesome people around me, doing that job well. You guys rock (you know who you are!)

Long suffering spouse

Stella. Coach Almighty

Climbing the Walls

Over the past month or so, my friend Christina and I have taken to the ropes and started climbing the walls. Many walls. Walls that are very very high. I’m not entirely sure what possessed me to say yes in the first place, I am terrified of heights. Given I’ve jumped out of a plane, a tad odd. But that feels totally surreal and, as it was a tandem, I had little influence of what happened. So you kind of have to just go with it!

Climbing is a different story. You tie your own knots, or you’re belaying for your climbing partner –  so it’s pretty imperative you know what you’re doing with the rope – you know, to stop yourself or your partner plummeting to the floor. The height thing is VERY real. You’re only a few storeys up, so you can see the floor and it looks very far away and very very hard. It’s you and the rope and a few small blocks on a wall, and with my fear of heights, very sweaty palms.

I must be honest, I still find it totally totally scary. I’m enjoying it, but I’m not yet all that comfortable on the rope, although I’ve done the test falling, actually missing a hold when you don’t intend to, or slipping is completely terrifying. I’m sure the more I do it the less nervous and anxious I’ll be. Which is one of the reasons I am doing it. Literally confronting pretty visceral fear, and climbing through it.

Today, our third private lesson, we climbed in the Horseshoe which is more structured, but with no incline and slightly harder routes. Each route is graded on difficulty (lower the number the easier the climb). I’m still tackling grade 3 or just grabbing whatever I can get my hands on –  literally! What I have really noticed is that is much more of a head sport rather than a brute physical strength sport. Sure, strength and flexibility will help, but its the strategy of getting up and over and thinking what goes where and at what angle, that really uses the grey matter. And that’s why I am enjoying it.

I had my first taste of proper fear of being stuck today. I managed to get half way up and just couldn’t figure out where to go without falling, and my right leg, (which is currently running injured) was shaking like crazy. I very nearly threw in the towel. I remembered a trick I have picked up from running. Breathe, don’t panic, just breathe. And found the next move. Its hugely rewarding to get to the top. I’m sure this is good for my head, and the adrenalin is pretty cool too.

The next stop is Stina and I passing the competence test and actually climbing on our own without the instructors and building our confidence on the more challenging  routes.

Smashed it!
Hanging around