Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Weeks. One Year.

Logging some miles and watching Kona on the big screen.
Had to get the bike ride in while working at the Recovery Pump booth.
Yesterday was Rev3 Anderson.  I signed up for the half at the beginning of the year.  Then I decided I wanted to try to do 70.3 World Championships in Austria next year, so I signed up for Silverman 70.3 and planned on working at Rev3 Anderson. Then my training wasn't going great and I made other plans to race in Europe next summer, so I decided to save the frequent flier miles, hotel and car points and skip it and switch to the aqua-bike at Anderson.  The weekend with current and prospective teammates was awesome.

We are all missing Chloe.
But the race did not go well.  Rev3 Anderson race report.

1.  Stayed up too late tracking people in Kona.
2.  Got my period in the middle of the night.
3.  Had to ask the guy at the gas station if they had any tampons.  He had to go look for them in the stockroom.
4.  Headed north on interstate when I needed to go south.
5.  Realized that I put the address to T1 into my GPS, when I needed to go to T2 to get the shuttle to T1.
6.  Realized I left my pre-mixed race nutrition in the fridge at the hotel.
7.  On shuttle to T1 I realized I left almost all my warm clothes in my car.
8.  It started pouring.
9.  I started shivering.
10.  They delayed the start of the race due to lightening in the area.
11.  I kept shivering until the swim start.
12.  By the time I got to the first buoy my hamstrings were starting to cramp. 
13.  Every time I sighted my left calf started to cramp.
14.  Anytime I kicked my hamstrings would cramp.
15.  As I stood up my legs cramped bad.  
16.  I floated on my back in 2 feet of water for thirty seconds.
17.  I was finally able to stand up, but not walk.
18.  I dumped a liter of water out of my aero helmet, all over my arm warmers.
19.  As I stood up my quads cramped.
20.  I DNFd.  
21.  I started shivering.
22.  I dropped a glove in a porta potty.
23.  My legs cramped on/off all morning and are still incredibly sore this morning.  

I had a similar experience at Rev3 Williamsburg.  I got cold enough before the swim to shiver.  Even though I did an easy swim warmup and the water temperature was warm (Williamsburg was wetsuit legal).  My hamstrings cramped by the first buoy.  At Williamsburg it was bad and I had to get help in the water.  Within five minutes of getting out of the water I was shivering.  At Williamsburg I didn't have the opportunity to try to get warm for about 30 minutes so I shivered for about 3 hours.  At Anderson I was putting on clothes almost immediately and stopped shivering after an hour.  I'm chalking it up to being cold before the race.  Neither race did I do a run warmup like I usually do.   Lessons learned.  On to IM Florida.

Three Weeks from last Saturday is Ironman Florida.  I still have a couple long rides and runs.  Training hasn't been great.  It hasn't even been good.  But I'm feeling confident in my ability to go out, do my plan, and only suffer the last hour of the race.  When I signed up for the race my goal was sub 10 and a Kona slot.  In June I realized I wouldn't be able to get to the sub 10.  My training just wasn't consistent enough to do be where I needed to be to do the type of training needed to make the gains I needed to get there. 

One year from last Saturday is Ironman Louisville.  When they announced that IMLOU was being moved to October (same weekend as Kona), I signed up.  I have family in the area and they have been bugging me about returning to IMLOU so we could have another family reunion where they all get drunk and have fun and I race.  I'm not opposed to hot humid weather, but it was tough on some of the older family members to be out in the heat that long in 2011.  October in Louisville would be perfect for spectating (and probably better for racing too).  I signed up and that meant my goal of Kona in 2015 was no longer.

I still have goals for Ironman Florida.  I might adjust them again before race day.  But right now they stand.  

Sunday, August 10, 2014

USAT AG Nationals: The race to the port-a-potties

Last year after Age Group Nationals I decided I wanted AG Nationals to be my A races this year. I wanted to come back to Milwaukee to podium and qualify for Team USA. My training this year has been a little inconsistent (but way more consistent than the last 2-3 years). I felt confident I could be in the mix for Team USA in the Olympic distance race, and even more confident about the sprint race. The goal of making the podium in the Olympic was forgotten, but not so in the sprint.

I flew in Thursday night and met up with Carmel at the airport. We grabbed a cab to the hotel and then headed out to Rock Botttom brewery for trivia night. Last year my team, Two Non-blondes won; defeating the team with former Olympic volleyball player, Tom. This year we teamed up with Tom and only came in second.

Friday was all about getting checked in, a quick run, and the practice swim. I got lost on the practice swim and swam the entire course. And I spent too much time on my feet and in the sun without eating lunch.

Saturday I woke up feeling pretty good and headed down to transition early. I set up my bike and run gear and headed back to my hotel to nap and then eat. I have no idea why I thought Canadian turkey bacon was a good idea. I don't eat turkey bacon, nor do I eat Canadian bacon. And I'm pretty sure that is what caused my race to become the race to the port-a-potty. I begged to get to the front of the line, not because my wave was getting in the water to warm up, but because I didn't want to have to wash my shorts if I didn't even get to race. I missed my wave start. And two more waves started before I felt comfortable enough to leave the vicinity of the port-a-potties.

I went back to the hotel for a four hour nap and then back to the race for a team photo and to get my bike ready for the sprint race. But 7:30 PM I was asleep, hoping to sleep off the headache, nausea, chills and body aches. I slept until 6:30 AM.

I woke up feeling like I had done an Ironman the day before. Full on body aches. I went back to bed for another four hours. Then I headed down to the race to get my bike. I felt better and decided I needed Chipotle so this trip wasn't a complete bust. Twenty minutes after I ate my decision not to race the sprint was validated. My goals for this year are being rolled to next year. I'll be back in Milwaukee for Age Group Nationals 2015. I'm bringing my own breakfast next year.







Tuesday, May 27, 2014

One Week To Asheville.

This post should be titled Two Weeks in Asheville, but I'm not there yet. My mom had to have open heart surgery to remove an ascending aortic aneurism. It wasn't super urgent but it needed to be done. We decided it was best to do it before I left than to have me come back for it. She is nearly 100% recovered. I'm amazed at the ability of the human body to heal itself. Four days after the surgery she was up and walking. Five days after they sent her home. She was tired and walking wore her out, but ten days post surgery there was very little that she can't do.

Anyway, my move was delayed (and some races cancelled). And for those who don't know I'm moving to Asheville, NC. For a long time I was planning on moving to Denver but in the end I picked Asheville because it's a days drive from my mom and even less to my brother's family in Ohio. So next Tuesday I'm loading up a trailer, packing four bikes and two dogs in the Tahoe and driving. I can't wait.

There are a lot of reasons I picked Asheville, but besides proximity to family I'm really looking forward to finding great places to S/B/R. I never thought I would place that much value on living in a place that makes it easy to train, but after almost a year in Alabama I realized that it needs to be somewhat of a priority for me to be happy. Especially now that I've really started training again.

Humid.  See the sweat on my chin. Not going to miss that.  
My injuries are healed. No more chronic achilles pain. No more paralyzingly back pain. Both of those seem to be long gone. I am nursing a bad shoulder and taking care of that is the first thing on my list when I move. Even before finding a place to live. I know it's likely to take a month or so to get enrolled in the VA and have the referrals processed. Yes, I'm being optimistic. Daily trigger point and icing keeps it at bay, but last night when I was eating a bowl of ice cream I almost dropped the spoon. Fortunately I can drink beer with my left hand or I'd be rushing to the ER to have it looked at. Biking is what really makes it ache.  A few hours in the aerobars and it hurts for the rest of the day. Swimming is hit or miss because of it. I don't think there is much I can do to make it worse; as long as I can tolerate the discomfort I'm pushing forward with training.

My training is starting to come together. I've done a few races that were from awful to pretty good. The swim/bike at NOLA 70.3 was AWFUL. Mulletman Triathlon a couple of weeks later was okay. I realized as I was zipping up the wetsuit it wasn't mine.  I swam in a suit two sizes too big.  I flatted on the bike and spent 10 minutes changing it (I'm not usually that slow, I took my time) only to get a slow leak all the way back to transition. I sliced my tire so it wasn't operator error that caused the leak. I half jogged half raced the four mile run after someone (possible me) stepped on my gel in transition and I felt the effects of not eating any breakfast by the end of mile one. I ended up third overall and was satisfied.

A couple weeks after that I did the Gulf Coast Tri Sprint. The swim was cancelled and we had to run on the beach, something I'm not good at. It used to really bother my calf and achilles so I took it easy. I had the fastest bike split which made me happy even though I still have a long way to go to get all my bike fitness back. I forgot to start the Garmin on the run and my chip didn't register leaving T2 so I have no run split to be upset about, but it wasn't a good run. I ended up third female and felt motivated.  The next week I decided the watts I was riding at were too low and went out an rode 10% harder on some intervals.  Of course I tried that again the next week (an additional 10%) and it didn't' work so well.  There was a little improvement but I didn't jump all the way back up to 2011 watts like I was hoping.  Speaking of not a good run I raced a 5k Saturday. I was about 90 seconds off my goal time but ended up winning it for the ladies and being 8th overall. A win is a win is a win, but the run is frustrating me. I have some thoughts on why the legs just didn't want to run fast and now that my achilles is better I think it will start to get better.

I'm racing a sprint Tri on Saturday. There is talk of poor water quality and replacing the 500 yard swim with a one mile run. If my shoulder is bothering me that might be a good thing as long as the one mile run isn't on sand. My goal is to go out, make it hurt and hopefully come away with the win. Then hit the beach for one last weekend of sun and sand and surf and seafood before I move to the mountains.

Friday, April 18, 2014

What Happened in NOLA Stays in NOLA

After the back issues I had at the Big Easy Sprint I spent a lot of time working on getting my QL muscles released and also trying to solve the shoulder impingement problem I've been ignoring for even longer than I've been ignoring the lower back pain.  I think I made progress.

Going in to NOLA 70.3 (swim/bike only) I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.  The shoulder pain had taken me out of swimming more than 1000 here and there for the last few weeks and even when did swim it was terrible.  I had no form, my feet were all over the place and I couldn't get the core to engage to give me any rotation.  I also struggled on the bike a lot in the previous 6 weeks due to the back pain.  But I was committed to doing the swim and bike portion so I packed up and headed to NOLA.  Without half of my tri kit.

In my mind the TT start would be completed within 45 minutes.  That's how long it took to get everyone in the water in Louisville.  But this TT start had long periods of down time between 'waves'.  Once again I was in the last wave.  So once again I was dead last.  Only dead last was almost two hours after the pros started.  And I did not have enough food for this.  I ate what I did have and just chilled in the grass.  Finally my wave was called and we all lined up.  They were putting six people in the water at a time and I was the odd one out. I really was last and I started my race with a cannonball.  Everything went down hill from there.

I think the only positive thing about the race was I swam straight.  But that is greatly overshadowed by my 37:xx swim.  Seriously slow.  Somewhat embarrassingly slow for me.  I swam sloppily.  Just like I had been swimming in the pool.  No coordination.  No reach.  The wetsuit pulled on my shoulders a bit which made it worse.  The swim just had no oomph!

Transition was pretty normal.  A little slow because of the wetsuit.  I also had to put a bike jersey on since I didn't have my tri kit top to wear (under the wetsuit). I made it on the bike and started rolling.  My Garmin was completely screwed up.  I wanted to keep a check on my power when I was riding but that field wasn't showing up.  I finally pulled over to fix it.  I wasn't racing, but I wanted some valid data from the ride.

I was finally on my way when I hit a bump and launched my bottle of nutrition.  I wondered if it was the same spot I launched it in 2010.  It wasn't.  I checked.  Once I was back on the bike with that bottle I realized my bottle cage was installed backwards.  The opening (top) was towards the back.   I was going to continue to launch it with every bump (and there are a lot of them on this course).  I decided to down my water and put the nutrition bottle on the down tube.  That was a bit awkward holding onto the extra bottle until an aid station came up.  Because of my bad shoulder I can't reach behind me to my jersey pocket with my right arm.  Because I'm uncoordinated I can't take my left arm off the bars and ride with my right arm controlling the bike. The ride was uneventful.  I didn't see drafting.  Nobody passed me except on guy and we went back and forth twice in 20 miles.  Then I passed him and never saw him again.  My power was low, my back hurt, my crotch was on fire from chafing.  I had no water on my bike and was dehydrated.  I lost all desire to ride my bike and forgot to eat.  It got ugly uglier.  If you've ridden the course you know that the last few miles are on concrete with a lot of bumps between the slabs. Every single bump jarred my back and my crotch.  And then for me the race was over.

The night before I picked up a bottle of something to drink after the race.  I swore it had rum in it.  It didn't.  And it tasted like crap.  I almost cried.  My race sucked and I couldn't even buy alcohol correctly.  It was that bad.  And that's it.  Or all I'm telling anyway.  Tomorrow is The Mullet Man Triathlon.  I can't wait.  Hopefully what happened in NOLA stayed in NOLA and it will be a good race.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

From Last to First...Big Easy Sprint Race Report

I toyed with doing the olympic distance but with the GCI relay coming up and NOLA 70.3 right after that I decided a sprint would be fun.  It is after all my favorite distance.  I decided to drive over the morning of the race which meant I left my house at 3:30 AM.  At 5:00 AM I decided driving two and a half hours for a race just over and hour long is too far to drive even when there is no traffic and you can set cruise control to probably a little too much over the speed limit.

The day before I had gone through my packing list 3-4 times.  I had everything I needed for the race, except for cold weather gear.  I finally realized I could put on my wetsuit and stay warm.  It helped but the sleeves are a little thin and the wind broke right through them.  I double swim capped it and was ready to go.  It was a time trial start and women 40+ were last.  I decided it didn't matter if I was first in my wave or last, I had to swim through people.  So, just like I like to do, I was the rotten egg....last one in. I didn't get to cannonball it like I did at IMLOU, just cross the mat and down the stairs.  I think I added 20 seconds on to my time waiting for the people in front of me to go down the stairs after they crossed the mat.  Lesson learned and in the end it didn't matter.

IM Lou.  I was no where close to landing on that dude.
I was worried about swimming in cold water, swimming in open water, and wearing a wetsuit.  I decided to take it very easy at first.  I just cruised.  I didn't have a panic attack (I don't think I blogged about my overwhelming panic attack at Lavaman 2013...lets just say it wasn't pretty and left me very frustrated because I'm a good swimmer and usually very comfortable in the water and will be worried about panic attacks during the swim for some time now).  My breathing wasn't affected by the cold and I didn't feel constricted in my chest from the wetsuit.  I thought I sucked at open water swimming when I did it a couple times a week.  I suck even more when I haven't really done it in about a year.   I've heard of people losing rings when swimming and I never understood how that was possible.  But now I know.  I spent the second half of the swim swimming with my right hand in a fist not wanting my ring to fall off.  I swam all over the course and passed a lot of people.  I got hung up in the congestion getting out of the water.  My swim was miserably slow.

The bike is looking very clean. And warm with gloves on.
My T1 was also miserably slow (almost 4 minutes I think).  I fell over getting my wetsuit off.  I had to sit down to put socks on (something I wouldn't normally do but because of the cold I did..and I'm glad).  I had to take one sock off and put it back on because it was on very crooked.  I stumbled with my helmet and shoes because of hands that were cold.  I decided to leave one of my swim caps on for the bike and that was the best decision of the race.

On the bike I was a bit slow to get going.  I had gloves to put on, also a great decision, but I probably should have put them on in transition.  Before the swim I stuffed a plastic grocery bag down my top and that helped a lot too.  Except I forgot to zip up my top so the bag was flapping in the wind and my cleavage was catching a lot of air.  Not to mention the swim cap let my helmet slide around a lot and my race braids were flapping in the wind too.  I was anything but aero.  But my bike was fast.  The actual bike, not my bike split.  It was fun passing people like they were standing still.  I realize the sprint was a small race and mostly a beginner crowd, but I was going to push it as much as I could and that means flying by people on road bikes.  And that's fun.

I've been having some back pain lately and it had been getting worse.  I kept telling myself 12 miles on the bike would be fine.  That lasted 4 miles.  I was in pain.  My left side was seizing and spasming with every pedal stroke.  I ended up hitting about 30 watts lower than I should have ridden.  The good thing is that I realized how jacked up my back was and decided I needed to fix the problem.  More on that later.

T2 wasn't much better.  I had to sit down to put my shoes on because of my back.  I had to walk slowly out of transition because of my back.  I had to start the run very easy because of my back.  At least my achilles wasn't bothering me (that problem has finally been fixed..more on that later).

The run was an out and back shaped like a candy cane.  On the way out I didn't see any other women (the olympic distance racers wouldn't be on the course yet, so the only women I'd see were pros and sprint racers).  On the way back I passed two women heading out, I was at least a half mile in front of them.  I picked it up some at that point, but then settled back into a pretty easy for a 5K pace.  I finished and was told I was the first female age grouper across the line.  That means I went from last person in, to first person done and that meant a win.  This was my goal for the race.

I didn't mean to leave the gloves on but I think it makes me look cool.
But then I looked at the results and it showed someone beat me (#1174...which was racked right next to me...and her name was Adam?).  And just like I did at the Cougars Running Wild race, I had to investigate to make sure I got what was rightfully mine.  And I felt just as silly as I did at the Cougars Gone Wild race because it was such a small and low key race that nobody really cared about except probably me.  I eventually went to get my bike out of transition and I met Adam.

He said "I wondered why I got a purple swim cap"
At the awards I let the announcer know that Adam was in fact a male and they gave me the win.  There were no overall awards for the sprint race, but I still know I won overall ;-).  It wasn't a great race for me, but it's a start and a learning experience after not really racing for almost two years.  I qualified for USAT AG Nationals, which was another goal of mine. I have three more sprint races in the next five weeks (one is called Mullet Man Triathlon...I love the race names down here!) and then an olympic distance mid may followed by a super sprint Memorial Day weekend.  This year I really am going to race myself back into shape.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

My Battle with Social Anxiety Disorder

I've been waiting to tell this story for about four months.  I wrote most of it in November and decided to not post just to be sure it was really happening.  And I think it is.

I've had social anxiety disorder for at least 17 years.  I remember the first time it affected me. I can remember a couple other major incidents where I had huge panic attacks from it.  And I can remember the last attack I had.  The last attack helped me finally define what it was and get the help I needed.

The first instance that I remember was right after I graduated from college.  I had quickly changed my career field (from pilot to intelligence) and got orders to move to Texas in about 10 days.  Everything was fine and I rolled out of town happy about my decision to not be a pilot.  I arrived in Texas not really knowing who was at the base but that I was one of the last Air Force Academy grads to arrive for training.   I ran into someone I knew from the Academy, but wasn't really friends with, and they invited me to a birthday party for someone else I knew, but wasn't really friends with.  I said I'd go.  I was looking forward to seeing who was at intel school and meeting new people.  But I didn't go.  I was ready to go out the door and I couldn't.  I went to bed and probably didn't get out of it until Monday morning for class.  I chalked it up as stress from moving, thinking I'd made the wrong decision (like every single person I talked to told me).

From time to time since that day in November of 1995 I've struggled with going out in public.  I don't think I ever used alcohol to cope with it, but going out drinking was what most of my friends did and after I had a drink or two I seemed to feel better about being out in public and meeting/talking to people.  I don't think I had any other major instances until New Years Eve 2003.  There were plenty of times I had problems speaking in public, being on committees with people I didn't know, and even going to work, but for the most part I was able to live a normal life.  I had great friends that I'd known for a while and felt comfortable going out with them.  I don't think I thought anything was wrong.  New Years Eve I went out with my roommate and his girlfriend, and another friend of ours.  We had dinner reservations at a place that would later turn into one of the places to be for New Years Eve.  At some point I found myself alone without anyone to talk to.  Brian was off hitting on someone and the roommate and his girlfriend were off dancing or something.  I was standing at the bar and someone offered to buy me a drink.  I panicked and ran into the bathroom and started crying.  I was crying because I knew my reaction was crazy and I didn't know what to do about that.  I ended up leaving the restaurant soon after that and taking a taxi home.  I think I told my friends I was feeling sick and was going home.  The next day everything was back to normal.

During this time I would frequently go out in large groups and met a lot of people.  I never met anyone without a friend introducing them to me.  I never realized my aversion to talking to people I didn't know.  Time ticked on and everything seemed normal.  I started to dread going out to run errands.  There were times I didn't eat lunch because of anxiety of having to talk to people I didn't know (I didn't realize this was the case for a long time).  I struggled with getting to work on time and I stopped working out unless I knew I wouldn't have to talk to people.  I knew something was wrong and went to see a doctor.  I was diagnosed with depression.  I tried a lot of different things but nothing worked.  Therapy & medications.  This issue is what caused me to leave the AF, I couldn't work to my potential. When I got out of the AF I got a job and eventually left because I knew I wasn't working the way my resume portrayed I would work.  I chalked it up to being a bad fit and not really enjoying the job.  This happened 2-3 more times.

During this time my social anxiety got worse.  I planned my trips out of my house at times when nobody else was out in the neighborhood.  I knew this was strange and convinced myself I was an introvert and/or that I just thought I was better than other people (which really stressed me out because I knew I didn't think that and was angry at myself for acting that way).  I struggled with thinking I was an introvert because deep down I knew that was not the case.  I had a couple good friends and would do things with them, but also bailed on them many times.  I reached out to some friends explaining I had depression and wanted some help from friends dealing with it.  People came through for me, but after a while I started bailing on them and I blamed them for not checking up on me, but the truth was they tried to and I just quit responding.  It's a joke in my family that we all hate talking on the phone.  That was the excuse I used.

At this point it's 2010 or so, and I was trying to train and race and go to school and have a job.  All of which were way outside my comfort level of social interaction.  There were times I forced myself to do things with people, even meet new people (some through the blog) and I did these things, but in the days and weeks after it I was exhausted.  My work suffered, my school work was complete crap and done last minute.  I hated training, but really wanted to because I knew it was something that made me feel better.  I signed up for races.  Many times I got up in the morning planning on going to them, but never did.  I had so many excuses.  Most of these were partially true, but they were things I could have easily overcome if I wasn't panicking about being out of my house.

It was a big downward spiral.  I knew I didn't like going out in public and that made me angry because I knew it wasn't me.  I never used the term anxiety and neither did my therapist and/or the psychiatrist I saw 1-2 times a year.  The therapist suggested weekly meetings, but I just couldn't.  I settled on every other week, and sometimes bailed on those.  The one thing that everyone told me was that it was obvious I had hope that I would figure it all out.  In the last three years I told doctors that nothing was working.  That it would get better for a day or a week, but nothing would really change.  Sometime in the last five years my medical records from when I was in the Air Force showed up in the National Archives.  When I left the Air Force I filed a claim with the VA for my foot problems and depression, but they were never looked at because my records were missing.  By the time the records were found I was miserable.  I was called in to see a doctor so they could review my claims and give the VA information about how bad each was.  The doctor I saw told me to go to the psychiatrist and ask for a different medication.  I did this, and my doctor just doubled the dose.  At this point I pretty much stopped working with therapists and psychiatrist because nothing was working.

The VA pinned me as having PTSD.  I didn't think that was the case, but I was tired of fighting.  With that diagnosis my medical treatment was guaranteed for life at no charge to me.  But I was still getting worse.  I would walk into a store to buy something and see there was a line of people and leave.  I told myself I was just impatient.  If I had to wait somewhere I made sure I looked busy so nobody would want to strike up a conversation.  I tried to actually be busy by reading, but I was so out of my comfort zone I couldn't focus on doing anything.  As soon as I could I went home.  If I ever managed to do 2-3 errands in a row I felt successful.  I realized how absurd this sounded, that I was proud of myself for doing errands, but that's the truth.  And it frustrated and embarrassed me, adding to my issues.  All of which just created more anxiety.

And then I moved.  I really thought change was good for me.  And it helped.  I was around family for the first couple of months and felt like I was social. I went to a couple races and met and stayed with people I didn't know.  But then I'd go home and be so emotionally spent that I was unable to do anything for a few days.

Then I had another panic attack.  I was at the doctor for a walk-in appointment for some fire ant bites.  I knew I had to wait but they couldn't tell me how long.  They refused to give me a guess.  I was in the waiting room and it started to fill up.  I started feeling panicked (which I interpreted as anger from being impatient) and got up and walked around.  When I got back there was only one seat left.  I sat down and within 10 minutes I was having a full blown anxiety/panic attack.  I hadn't had a panic attack since that New Years eve 10 years ago.  I'd always been able to escape before it got bad.  But this time I was having one.  I went to the admin desk and again asked how longer it would be.  The staff told me they had no idea.  I was angry at their incompetence.  One of the ladies was frustrated with me and made a smart comment and told me I could go see the patient advocate.  I did.  He was out of the office for a bit.  I stood in the hallway shaking and crying and finally someone went to find him.  He could see I was having a panic attack and had great anxiety.  I thought it was mostly about not knowing when I'd see a doctor but as soon as I was in his office I was a little better.  I explained to him my issue and said I was just having anxiety having to be in the waiting room full of people.  This was the first time I ever defined my problem/feeling/emotion as anxiety despite years of having my blood pressure go up when I was in social situations. He was able to get me in to see my doctor, who immediately yelled at me and told me I wasn't special just because I had anxiety. This set me off and I told the doctor off and after the appointment I switched doctors.  I happened to have an appointment with a new psychiatrist the next week and she asked why I had requested a change in the General Practitioner. I relayed the story to her and once again used the word anxiety.

It was right then that both she and I realized I wasn't having anxiety because of depression, I was depressed because of the social anxiety I had.  I started thinking of my problems in terms of having anxiety in public and doing my best to shield myself from that through isolation.  Just like that (with the help of Trazadone) I got better.  I guess it wasn't really just like that.  I noticed it slowly, but there were times I'd strike up a conversation with someone in the elevator.  Later in the day I'd think about that and realize how it wasn't the norm for me.  I ran my errands and managed to go to the pool to swim after.  I didn't have a problem leaving my house with my neighbors were in the yard.  Things were just better.  I've generally been much happier.  I have been able to train more.  I did cut back on classes this semester because I really struggled last semester with them and in January I wasn't sure if I really was better or if I'd sink back into it again.  I didn't want to set myself up for failure.

And then on Saturday I ran a race.  I hung out after waiting for the awards.  I approached a bunch of guys I didn't know and invited myself to ride with them.  I spent Sunday wondering if I would have done that six months ago.  I don't know if I would have or not.  I really think I would have been too tired after being in public for three hours to even think about riding and probably would have gone home and hibernated the rest of the weekend.  And that's when I realized I was back to being myself again.  The self that I hadn't really been for a very long time.  So I decided to post this post.  

I'm sure there will still be ups and downs along the way, but for the first time in a long time I'm not just hopeful about the future, but I know it will be better sooner rather than later.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Throwback Thursday. #KeepingItReal

I think almost everyone has read Lauren Fleshman's blog Keeping it Real.  And a lot of people have read her recent column in Runners' World about a challenge to post real photos of us not looking our best.  A lot of people have shared the column or written about how awesome that idea is, but not many people (that I know/follow/stalk) have actually posted the photos.  When I read the column I decided I would post mine.  And then I couldn't find them (I don't really keep them hidden in my house, I'm in the process of moving....but that's not to say they are on display).  I came up with a million excuses until Erin blogged about it and did it*.  So here we go.

I wish I always looked like this.
Or even this (yes, I see flaws when I look at that photo)*
Or especially this-my all time favorite photo of me...
sad that it's a picture of my butt that is my favorite ;-)
And I love all those photos.  Sometimes I hang them on the fridge as motivation.  I worked hard to get that fit (and the thin was really a byproduct, but sometimes it was the motivation).  But I don't.  Here is a photo of me when I wasn't as thin or fit.  If you want to see more just go to photos of me on Facebook.  I rarely delete a tag.

IMFL 2006
I realize a lot of people would be happy if they looked like I do in these photos or how I did before I started to training for that IM (I really have no photos when I was at 170-175).  And I was blessed with being naturally thin for the most part.  Even when I was 170ish people wouldn't think I weighed that much.  Everyone has things they are good at, talented at without trying, or some genetic 'gift' that others wish they had.  I could fill a notebook with the things my friends are good without trying that I am not.

Go ahead post your pictures, from way back when, or even now.  It seems like everyone appreciates it when someone else does it, so let other people appreciate your #keepingitreal photos.

*This photo also reminds me that #keepingitreal can apply to race results too.  I have a friend who yelled at me when I told him I was unhappy with my race because of the could have, should have, would have.  He's the one who reminded me how little I've run in the last 11 months.  We all started somewhere and most have us started again somewhere less than we wanted to too.