Friday, 26 October 2007

To Write....Or Not To Write...

I debated long and hard about writing about my training tonight. I was kind of bummed out during my workout and wasn't sure I wanted to write about that. I kind of like the fact that usually when I write, it's upbeat and fun. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that this blog is about my triathlon adventures....and those adventures can be fun and upbeat, and sometimes they will be less so. Such is life...

I have to say it's been a rough few weeks. As I've written before, I have IBS, and it seems that with this last flair up it's finally hit home for me. I have a chronic illness and I need to get serious with it. I've been trying to learn about it for the last 17 years or so, but I'd kind of just dealt with all that came with it and didn't really get down to the nitty gritty.

I see now how much it's affecting my training and racing, and I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired. IBS is a tricky one though, not everyone with IBS is the same, so really it's trial and error to see what works for me. I had tweaked my diet in the past, and it seemed to help, but I realized I had to do more. So I am. I'm now following an eating plan developed by an Ironman and ultramarathoner. It's more for peak performance and health, but the information I read in the book really made sense as far as treating my IBS. It's non processed foods: veggies, fruits, ancient grains, and lots of hemp and flaxseed, so it's supposed to be easier to digest and nutritionally nonstressful. There is no dairy, meat (although I will continue to eat fish), soy, wheat or gluten. So we'll see how it goes!

I'd been implementing this diet the last couple of weeks, and things had calmed down a wee bit, but I was still very fatigued from the symptoms I had been suffering the past while. I had tried to keep up with my training while I was dealing with all this, but it finally caught up to me this week so I took most of it off from training.

I decided to go to the SweatLab tonight though as I'd missed it last Friday. It was both a good and bad decision, haha. I was glad to go and see the gang as they are a truly great group of people. I know David quite well as he and his wife Esther are like family to me. The rest of the gang I've known to say hi to, but that's about it, so I'm enjoying getting to know them.

The course our fearless leader, Ross, had picked out was 56 km in length and hilly. Holy Hannah was it hilly! I got all set up in the computrainer, and started pedaling. I was praying my guts would hold out as I started out. If you weren't sure, IBS stands for Irritible Bowel Syndrome....let's just say it's one of the more awkward of intestinal issues one can have...

The first bit wasn't too bad. I was trying to keep up my cadence and my watts. I wasn't sure what I should be at, but Ross said I could take part in a time trial he was going to do in a couple weeks so I'd have a base watt level to work with. This would be very cool as I like to know what numbers I should be aiming for.

As I pedaled along, I could feel I was getting tired fairly fast, and with that came a feeling of frustration. On the screen we look at is everyone stats, and where they are in the little horse race....I was waaaaay in back. Normally this would not bug me, afterall, I'm still new to all this and I know I need to work on my bike skills. Heck that was why I was there! I guess though with all that had gone on the past few weeks, I wasn't mentally strong enough to keep the nasty negative feelings at bay. A dangerous place to be whether in a race or training!

I stopped looking at the horse race on the screen because I new it was bringing me down. Instead I would just glance at my watts, speed, and cadence. I was trying to play with the numbers and learn what would happened as I shifted gears and applied pressure to the pedals all while climbing up the many hills. Unfortunately, this was getting to me as well because I wasn't able to keep my watts up without slowing my cadence big time. I know this isn't what you want to do, the goal is to be able to spin at a high cadence while maintaining a steady power output.

At about 1:15 hours, I couldn't do it anymore. Both mentally and physically I was beat. I was glad the garage is kept dark (so we can see the projected screen) because I really didn't want the others to see the utter disappointment on my face. For the next 45 minutes I pedalled slowly as the others finished the course. I felt like a total knob and was embarassed as I'm new to the group and didn't want to look like a slacker. It totally sucked.

After the ride was done, Ross went down the line asking how everyone felt about the course etc. I apologized and said I could only do what I did. I was still fatigued from the last while.

You know what though? I further learned what an amazing group these people are - they were so encouraging to me and said I did a great job doing what I did. I was so thankful for that. I am not one to get into these types of moods often. In fact I've worked very hard on mental training in order to avoid these types of situations, because they are known to occur during races or training. I'm so glad though that when I did fall into the old negativity trap that I was surrounded by people that care, are upbeat and supportive.

After the workout we had a potluck dinner - I did take a wee bit of teasing for my walnut burger...actually it kind of dried out a wee bit so it was more like walnut hamburger...but it was all in good fun!

Onwards and upwards....


  1. Congrats Susi for having the courage to write about the tough time you've been having, and how you felt about Friday's class. Some days you learn more from things going wrong than you ever would have gained from them going as planned. If nobody knows you're having a tough time they don't have the chance to give you the support and encouragement you need so much. Hang in there, and lets hope the dietary changes have the effect you hope for.

  2. Thanks darlin - you have no idea how much I appreciate your comments!