The social media feed of someone training hard for a challenge is full of fist pumps and victory selfies after recording particular triumphs in our journeys to become fitter and faster in all that we train for and hopefully get other people involved too. But, like with everything, of course there are the light and the dark moments, both of which are shaping the experience as a whole.
I absolutely love this frank and honest description from our writer, Rebecca, who, like me, is training hard to be a Half Iron Woman this summer. She captures the mood swings, fatigued emotion and overarching joy that comes with committing ourselves to achieving.
“I’m tired. I’m tired and I’m tired of being tired.
I’m tired of waking up early and still feeling sore from the day before. I’m tired of my well-meaning colleagues telling me that I need to rest. I’m tired of my legs aching every time I climb the stairs to my office. I’m tired of my flatmates telling me that they never see me anymore. I’m tired of explaining what a half iron(wo)man is. I’m tired of people being impressed that I’ve signed up for the race. And I’m tired of going to bed every night terrified that I won’t be able to complete it.
Don’t kid yourself –when you’ve decided to become an endurance athlete you aren’t all of a sudden immune to the effects of reduced sleep and high intensity exercise. I confess, a part of me thought that that would be true.
It’s true that in every training regime there comes a moment when you think “That’s it. I’m over it”. The weeks of waking up early start to get to you and you just want a break. At least this is true for me. Like everything else in life, eventually fatigue sets in and you just want to crawl back in bed and pull the covers over your head.
Here’s the catch: I don’t.
I so badly want to eat an entire pizza and go back to sleep for the rest of the day, but I don’t. I think that’s the change that happens when you’ve decided to commit yourself to something: It doesn’t get any easier, you simply don’t give up.
So, despite being tired, I like waking up every morning and feeling my session from the day before because I know it means that I pushed myself. I like that my well-meaning colleagues tell me that I need rest because it reminds me that I need to look after myself. I like that my legs ache every time I climb the stairs because it proves to me that I’m building strength. I like that my flatmates tell me they never see me because it reminds me that people love me and that if I’m giving up seeing them I had better win. I like explaining what a half iron(wo)man is because every time I do it re-enforces the distance in my mind. I like that people are impressed that I’ve signed up for it because it makes me more determined to keep training. And I like that every night I fall asleep terrified that I won’t be able to do the race because it makes me get out of bed every morning and push myself to work harder than I ever had before.
I’m tired. But I refuse to stop and I refuse to give up.
Hi ho, the bike awaits.”