So I may not have been moving quite at 'bullet' speed but I sure felt fast in my new SMASHFEST Queen kit. Its called Unbreakable and I feel that’s rather fitting after the year I've had (covered in this post). Let me announce to the world, or the 26 readers who see my posts that I am trying to become unbreakable. Physically I would like my bones to stop cracking and psychologically I want my mind to stop breaking.
The roller coaster of emotions an injured athlete feels is ridiculous. I had days of fear, depression, loneliness, anger, sadness, hopelessness and jealousy. I'll admit I wasn't always my #bestselfever and had moments when I wanted to just give it all up and move to an island. Slowly and with an incredible support team of family, friends and doctors I am working my way back to health.
This weekend's ride was really about getting some time outside in the saddle. As the triathlon season progresses I'm finally feeling ready to look for races and push myself a bit outside the comfort zone that is 'rehab'. The funny thing about rehab is that it gives you an excuse, a security blanket, a reason to take it easy or play it smart. “Oh I can't do that- I'm injured” or “I can't sign up for a race- what if I'm still not healed”- it’s really a self-fulfilling prophecy.
If you tell yourself you're weak and less-than long enough... one day you'll believe it. I am finally able to see my fear, accept my fear and face my fear. I am afraid of failing and afraid of not being able to call myself a triathlete! I was afraid to sign up for races because I knew the heartbreak I'd feel if I started training again and re-fractured my ankle or the utter despair when I'd see the race on the calendar and then be unable to attend because I'd gotten hurt.
For the last 13 months it has been one setback after another and I couldn't go through that again. Isn't that the risk we all take; the price we pay for greatness? Even the perfectly healthy athlete could get horribly sick, break a collar bone in a bike crash, tear a hamstring on a run and not be able to show up at that starting line.
For the past few weeks I've been trying to get back in the game – devoted to my cycling, strength training, swimming and mental toughness – focusing on the things I can do instead of the things I can't. And just like that my joy started to return, my confidence is building and I'm reminded why I love this sport. I might get hurt again (in fact its likely I will) but I won't let that stop me from trying and stop me from being me.
On our ride yesterday I noticed myself smiling, laughing and even hoping that sometime soon I'll be injury-free. And then it hit me; I was learning the biggest most beautiful lesson of all... I truly love to swim and bike and run. It is a part of who I am, how I see the world and where my soul finds peace. I honestly don't care if I ever race again- I just want to run and ride my bike and work my butt off because of the complete joy and satisfaction it brings me.
Considering this is a sports nutrition and motivation blog and not my diary, I can't leave you without some tips. A mantra a friend and mentor taught me that I will repeat until I'm blue in the face, 'hydration in the BOTTLE, fuel in the POCKET.' By relying on solid fuel for energy and liquids for hydration, both blood sugar and hydration can be optimized and uncomfortable side effects like bloating, sloshing and GI distress can be avoided. You can come back from low blood sugar in a few minutes by eating, but it takes hours and sometimes days to recover from dehydration. I can never use or recommend those powdered drink mixes that offer significant calories, sugars and 'nutrients.'
My water bottles had SOS Hydration and I was chowing down on PocketFuel Naturals Blueberry Banana Almond butter. Good lord that's a tasty treat. With the exception of my lovely boyfriend I have yet to meet another human being who wasn't in love with almond butter. Runners, triathletes, swimmers, cyclists – you simply must try these. (and no – they didn't pay me to say that).
I don't believe in processed, sugary, carb loaded gels, chews or candy bars moonlighting as 'sports bars'. There are a few bars I love and I'll cover those in another post but most of the time I like nut butters with some added amino acids for really long extended training sessions. And there you have it... 63 miles of unbreakable sunshine and a properly fueled athlete.