Breaking My Silence

With the start of 2017, came the start of much more. I had come to the decision to do something bold. Something I was scared to do. I was worried what people would think. I was worried about how my coworkers would feel. I had feelings of insecurity not knowing if I was making the right decision putting running higher on my list. I felt impulsive and reluctant to change but I had this feeling in my heart that I had to do it. I had to give myself a chance to succeed. But making big decisions don't come easy. They test you. They through everything at you to see how you will respond and I'm finally here to say that I've made it. 

In January I started taking weekend classes in Real Estate Appraisal. My company operated on a schedule of 4 9 hr days and a half day on Friday. So I was working all week, training around work and squeezing my weekend into my half day on Friday. I struggled to keep my house together and was missing out on any social time. I had to continue waking up at 4:30 or 5 even on the weekends and I felt like I was in a constant state of exhaustion. Through this all I was also trying to fix my hormonal imbalance. 

For a long time I have had a hard time keeping my weight stable. I have always put on weight easily and felt like I had to be careful about what I ate but in reality I was likely not eating enough and not meeting my energy demands. I could never understand it despite knowing what I know. I know that eating not enough can cause excess fat storage and slow your metabolism but I couldn't fathom that I could be doing that. I have always been a healthy weight for my 5'0" frame and I am very conscious about nutrition but that doesn't mean that I was doing everything right. So I started adding more healthy fats to my diet. I started planning larger snacks and bigger meals. I could feel myself beginning to feel hungrier as I increased my food intake. I had more energy and everything was great. I did put on some weight but i knew that in time that everything would work itself out and I would get back to normal the right way. But then as my first race, the Gate River 15k in Jacksonville, grew closer I had a bad workout. I struggled to hit paces I had done easily in the past and I panicked. I started becoming stressed about my weight which on top of the added work stress and lack of sleep put me over the edge. Going into Gate River I was also less than confident.

Teammate Anna Weber and I pre-race!

Teammate Anna Weber and I pre-race!

In January I started being coached by Stephanie Bruce after a successful fall marathon and I was adjusting to a new and better training style. One that would benefit me long term. However, with my impatience and history with an aggressive intense training style, I felt very uneasy. I should have talked to Steph before to express my concerns but I degraded my self confidence in such a bad way that I was scared to even take up her time with it. I had already made the decision to change careers to focus on my training and here I was barely keeping it together. I set myself up for failure that weekend and let my mental capacity limit me that day. 

Reflecting on that race I had to look at in the full context of what my life had been like going into it. While in Jacksonville I was finishing up an online class and studying for my last exam which I had to fly home early sunday to get back in time to take. The added stress I was feeling from my change in weight and fitness made for the perfect storm. 

Coming away from the race I also realized something bigger. That despite the turmoil I was making the right decision. After spinning around in my own head for hours, I had a teammate, Becki Spellman reach out to me. She had been dealing with much more than I but spoke the words I needed to hear most: "Working through the tough crap just means a great thing is coming." And that very next day my Flyway essay what posted on the Oiselle blog and the outpouring of support and encouragement was a God send. I know that everything happens for a reason and seeing this play out so clearly in front of me like a movie, was all I needed. 

So I regrouped. I touched base with InsideTracker, got myself set up for an ultimate test, and chose in that moment to put that race behind me. My results indicated exactly what I expected, elevated cortisol without sign of muscular damage or breakdown. My lack of sleep and excessive stress has been weighing me down. I know I can be better and I know I have a lot to give but it's not going to happen right away. Reviewing my InsideTracker results made me realize that I needed to slow down. I was going to race the Cooper River Bridge Run this weekend but decided I needed focus on getting stronger and getting my new life together.

InsideTracker Cortisol

Getting my InsideTracker results back has given me something to focus on. When things seem out of control it helps to find the one thing you can fix and work on that. It takes your mind off the crap you can't push a button and fix. I've begun to make InsideTracker a regular part of my training regime by testing at the beginning, middle, and end of a season. Knowing what is working and whats not helps me to know that I am physically headed in the right direction so that I can focus on the mental aspect, which obviously always needs the most work. (More info on my strategies to improve my InsideTracker results coming soon!)

In the end I'm here to say that no matter how confident and self-aware I try to come across, I too have my struggles. We all need a little help sometimes. Being vulnerable doesn't mean you are weak or less than anyone else. It just means that you care deeply about what you are doing. It shows that you have what it takes to get through anything. And I will. Maybe not today or tomorrow but I will. My season starts now.