Connection, Compassion, Self-Care (and a little bit of what’s up next)

As I sit here plotting out today’s blog post about how things have progressed over the last 5 weeks since I shared with you all about my injury and the exciting plans that now are starting to unfold, I find myself reflecting on the rut I have found myself in this week.

Things are going well, very well, and (spoiler alert) now racing is even on the horizon!

I will share that with you too, but first, partly I admit to reinforce these lessons in my own head, I want to share with you what I have learned over the past month or so about the importance of connection, self-compassion, and self-care.

This week has been a bit of a mental battle.

I got a huge kick out of being immersed in the triathlon action last weekend at the Mooloolaba World Cup. I’ve been flying solo on the Coast here for the past 2 months and it was so, so good to see some familiar faces and be back in the triathlon atmosphere even if I wasn’t racing myself. I also had the chance to catch up with my coach and a couple of my squad mates from Hong Kong who were racing. Mossy and I threw about some ideas and worked out a plan for my return to racing and when I would be joining to squad again back in Hong Kong. I was daunted at first (it’s been a long time since I have raced, and even longer since I have raced well) but after having slept on it the plan seemed solid. After watching the World Cup race, I was eager to get back.

 

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Sunday rolled around, the gang headed back to HK, Mooloolaba tri was done and dusted for another year, and I was back to tapping away by myself.

By Sunday arvo I was tired, super tired, and feeling flat, flat as a tack.

Now over the past couple of months that’s a feeling I’ve had once or twice (or maybe more…). I have a tendency to slip into a state of self-pity, isolate myself, and wallow.
I didn’t used to understand what I was feeling, or that it was unhelpful. My options were simply muscle through, or feel sorry for myself.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that life is all about connection. We all need it, and it gives meaning to our lives. I have, for as long as I knew what the word meant, thought of myself as an introvert. I convinced myself that I didn’t need connection, that I could go it on my own, and that when I was tired I needed time away from people, not time with them. As it turns out, that story I’ve been telling myself is not true. Not in the slightest.

So what’s the point I’m getting to here?

Monday and Tuesday I muscled through. I needed to; I had uni to do!!! (right?!)
Wednesday was a slog, and by Thursday I was a mess.
Then I stopped and thought.
Wait a minute. I was loving this last week. I was tired and sore then too. I was just as busy.

I recognised that in my perceived need to get through my uni lectures despite being over tired that I had neglected myself and my support network. I hadn’t called my parents all week. I’d been meaning to message my sister for over a week yet hadn’t found that 30 seconds required to do so… I also hadn’t been in contact with any of my friends. On top of that, I hadn’t taken any time out to switch off and do something fun, despite having thought it would be a good idea.
I was pitying myself again and it wasn’t helping. I had forgotten what was important.

On Friday instead of squeezing in a uni lecture between my massage and physio appointments, I decided to take some time out and have a coffee at the beach, acknowledging that I needed it and self-care is not procrastination!
I called my parents (and had a whinge about the fact I’d neglected to remember I needed to apply for a visa until that morning and was now running short on time d’oh!). I messaged my sister like I’d been meaning to do. And providence would even have it that the moment I picked up my phone to message a friend, she sent me a message saying another friend was up visiting and asking if I’d like to catch up. So I did of course!

 

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By Saturday evening I was just as tired, but I was happy again. Maybe it was because I knew I had a well-earned and rare day off the next day, however I would like to think it was because I had stopped pitying myself and started being compassionate to myself instead. Accepting the fact I was tired and that some sessions would be a struggle; not pitying myself and not beating myself up because I wasn’t hitting target times. Reconnecting with those closest to me. Taking some time to switch off and refresh. Remembering what was important and regaining some perspective.

*  *  *

So, after keeping you all in suspense, what’s the plan?!

I’m back to almost full training load, I’m doing efforts on the bike, and I’m even back to running on the track!
As I alluded to earlier, that means that racing is now finally on the horizon!!!!

Next weekend, as a training race I will be doing the Kingscliff Triathlon. A smallish local race but one of my absolute favourites (maybe because it’s on the fairer side of the border ;)).

I’m then headed home to pack my bags and scoot off overseas for the rest of the season.
First stop will be Hong Kong to re-join my training squad where I’ll be based until June when we head to Europe.
From there I’m racing Dexing Asian Cup in China on the 20th April, Madrid World Cup on the 5th May, and I’ll be hitting the WTS circuit in Leeds on the 9th June.

 

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It’s been a long and testing slog to get to this point, but it feels like I have finally turned a corner now with racing in my sights. I can’t wait to be back out there again!

Gillian


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