It’s been awhile since I’ve updated all my lovely followers out there on my own fitness journey. I left you last when I was getting ready for the Chicago Marathon, ready to train and kick some butt. Unfortunately, that race kicked my butt instead.
During my training I found myself dealing with an old nagging injury in my right hip, which left me unable to run, let alone walk or even sleep peacefully at night. I tried to keep my fitness up best I could because there was NO WAY I was going to Chicago and NOT running this race. But what little I could do just didn’t compare to full on marathon training. I thought about writing a race report, but it would have been sad and miserable and I decided to just move on to the next!
So what does an endurance athlete that has been injured almost all race season do in the off season? Well, get faster and stronger of course! So here are some things I’m focusing on to get back to where I was.
Mobility. This is why I got injured this year in the first place. I really ignored warming up and treating my body right. So for two-three weeks after the marathon this is what I focused on, getting my body to move without pain. I foam rolled, focused on stability and mobility in my joints through a range of movements and stretched a lot.
Strength training. For the past month or so I’ve been working on building back up these muscles. Who ever said that endurance athletes didn’t need to be strong was WRONG. You’re using the same muscles over and over whether you’re swimming, biking or running so they need to be able to with stand all that motion!
Base training. For an endurance athlete, I did very little of endurance this year. Actually, I did very little of anything, but you already know that story. So I’m paying the price now. My mile times are slower, swimming feels like I’m going through mud and my legs are lead on the bike. But I’m slowly, slowly working on building back up my base, mostly in swimming and running because biking is my strong suit and will come back fast.
It’s a hard road to go down starting over, but whenever you’re feeling discouraged, remember where you started and know that every day you’re moving forward. You have to love every step of the journey.
Eating disorders are a subject that people often dance around, too afraid to talk about. I used to be one of those people, because I was always too afraid to admit that I was sick. I never thought that I had one because I was never “sick looking” enough. I never toed that dangerous line of extreme emaciation, but inside I was a complete mess.
It’s no secret that eating disorders mostly effect women (but I know there are men
out there that do struggle with them as well), but when it comes to athletes, the chances increase because so much is focused on our bodies and how they perform. More often than not that thoughts “If I just lose a few more pounds I’ll be faster, more agile, jump higher….” etc. I know I constantly had those thoughts as a competitive cheerleader and a dancer, where image was everything. As I got older, I decided to try out bikini competitions, another sport where everything focused on your image. I started working out harder to feed this disease that was eating at me from the inside out. I battled with anorexia and bulimia for 14 years before I decided enough was enough.
These past two years I have slowly overcome something I’ve battled with for half my life. I’ve stopped focusing on whats in the mirror and more on what my body can do. This past year I’ve really focused on training for a half marathon and sprint distance triathlons. Running, swimming and biking have given my life back to me. I’m no longer focusing on how little I can eat but what I can do, and if I don’t fuel properly I’m not going to do well.
I remember one particularly bad run I had this past year, I didn’t eat enough the two days prior and I set out for a 9 mile long distance run. About mile 3, I hit a wall. My legs didn’t want to move anymore, my heart was racing and my eye sight became fuzzy. That’s when I realized I couldn’t let myself go down that path again. I suddenly had this hunger to do well, and not just burn off calories. I started to track my work outs as opposed to my food and focused on seeing those numbers improve while still eating over 1000 calories and not scrutinizing every little bite. I love seeing number average times on runs and swims decrease and my body adapt to my training.
I won’t say that I’m fully recovered. There are some days where I have to fight the urge to binge and purge or not eat at all to make up for a bad weekend. But everyday I’m fighting to nurture my body and gain my inner strength through my sport.