I walked out of a fitness class this evening.
Rationally, I know it was because I felt terrible after four vaccinations yesterday. I don’t just mean a sore arm, I mean I felt really run down. Perhaps it was really stupid to go to BMF knowing that I didn’t feel 100%.
Last Wednesday was the best class for me thus far; I felt so light on my feet, I felt quick and strong and like I was actually making progress and I could move up to a slow red bib. But today, I couldn’t make it through the whole class; my heart rate was too high, I had a headache and felt clammy. I definitely shouldn’t have gone.
Rationally, I know it was the vaccinations. Irrationally my negative cycle of thoughts broke through and while Mike was walking me back to the BMF van to wait for the class to finish (my bag was locked in the van) I was overtaken with this panic that I’m not good enough to cycle the world. I’m nowhere near fit enough to even start and I’m a fat blob who’ll never lose the weight.
[Woman talk coming up]
My GP advised me to try taking my contraceptive pill (which I take for PCOS as well as contraception) for three months without a week between each packet for my period. I thought, since this would reduce the number of periods I would have during the 16 months away, I’d give this a go. However, I PILED on the weight. My FINDRA shorts don’t fit me anymore. My hiking trousers don’t fit me anymore. I have new stretch marks where it came on so quickly. This is an obvious side effect, but one I just didn’t contemplate before giving it a go. It’s now INCREDIBLY hard to get rid of, partly due to my PCOS and partly because I stress eat. I'm stressed that I'm putting on weight then I put on weight because I'm stressed. I have more weight on me than when I first started training because of this. I find it difficult to look at myself in the mirror and there’s a reason I didn’t let myself get filmed too much in the first BMF video.
So when I stand there telling people about the trip, I feel a fraud standing there feeling like a huge blob of fat telling people that I’m about to cycle 27,000 miles around the world. I just don’t feel good enough. The stupid thing is that when other people tell me that they’re planning a personal challenge, I’d never consider their ability to do it from their body shape. It isn’t something that even crosses my mind, unless I’m reflecting on myself.
I have an image in my head of how fit I am (which is supremely far from reality) and I’ve come to realise this inaccuracy and expectation is hugely detrimental to my training because as soon as I don’t perform the way I think I should be, I feel like a failure. I know I need to flip that thought on its head and use that image of myself to motivate myself to improve.
During second year at University, our degree class ran a mentoring scheme for the first years to help them settle in. Early on in the year, a few of my peers and I went for coffee with the first years. I don’t remember the context but one “friend” of mine said to a first year that I was “distinctly average”. This has stuck with me and has been the voice in my head since 2008. Thanks pal.
None of this is new to me, this is the way I think when I'm exercising and trying to accomplish things. I'm not trying to garner sympathy, just giving an insight into how you can overcome the bad things to just keep going. I'll go back to BMF on Saturday and work out really hard. Documenting our journey is about describing the supreme successes and the deep lows, so here you are inside my head.
I started by saying that all of this was the irrational part of walking out of class today. Perhaps I am distinctly average. But perhaps the only thing, which distinguishes me from the next distinctly average person, is that I’m trying to do something incredible. I want to cycle in every country on the planet and I will do it somehow.
I’m trying. I just need to realise that the day after having four vaccinations, doing a high intensity fitness class may not be the best idea.
Posts by either Mike or Helen. Individual authors will be named.