I got off the tube on the way to work this morning – GASP – what? No walking? No… no bloody walking, I am spinning 143,566,432234 platesspinn in the air at the minute trying to train, go to work, see friends, travel up and down the country, do laundry, eat, shower, sleep and not kill the taxi drivers in London.
So – I got off the tube and there’s this shiny black window on a building that I walk past to go to the office. Hold your hands up if you check yourself out in windows? Now ACTUALLY hold your hands up because I know you do. Everyone does. We are featherless canaries when it comes to looking at ourselves in mirrors all day long. Today I am wearing grey skins (basically lycra leggings), a floaty sleeveless black vest and my Nikes. I was quite pleased this morning when I noticed increased muscle definition in my shoulders and arms. I haven’t seen that in quite a while.
Just the other day I was talking to someone, I think it was the lady in lululemon, I was trying on some kit and telling her how my quads (thighs) and glutes (arse) have grown. Yes that’s right, I train every day and they have grown. Fortunately, or at least I hope this is the case, they have grown with muscle development. This HAS to be the case because I am stronger than ever on the bikes and the weighted lunges.
The title today relates to making progress… or rather not. That awful feeling you get when you feel like you are taking two steps forward but one step back. Or in my case it can sometimes be one step forward and four steps back. What I mean is, those times when you wake up and check your abs in the mirror – no? just me? – that’s awkward then. But if you DO check yourself out and you’ve been working your ass off and trying to eat all your veg and you actually think you look WORSE than you did a week ago. I mean that’s just bullshit. Why? WHY BODY GODS!? WHY!?!??!?!
I have these thoughts now and again. They suck. I’d like to take those moments and throw them in a tree shredder. Then run over the chopped up bits. Then set them on fire.
They are rubbish. They bring you down. They make you question why you bother and they ruin your day. Sometimes even your week.
How do you get around them? Well you can’t really. You just have to take those moments and do as we just discussed. Mentally shred them and burn them. They don’t last long and trust me, if you are working hard and staying on track and eating your veg and drinking your water you WILL make progress.
As we know I have been training a lot for the last ten months. I have also been eating a lot. My weight training has gone from 3-4 times a week to once a week. My cardio efforts have gone from HIIT 2-3 times a week to endurance 6 days a week. My diet has gone from eggs and spinach and chicken and avocado to oats and bananas and sweet potatoes and anything else that resembles a carbohydrate. My abs have lost their “leanness”. My legs are bigger and I’m probably around 6lbs heavier than I was earlier in the year. (This could be mild body dysmorphia as some people have told me I am shrinking… I doubt that – have you seen my protein oat serving sizes??)
So bloody what. As my good friend Jack said “you are training for an Ironman Cat – not a bikini competition”. Sometimes you have to take that “struggle” and put it into perspective. Sure it’s nice to feel lean. I love that feeling. Right now though? I like the feeling of knocking 10 seconds off my swimming time. I like the feeling of climbing hills on my bike and not feeling like my legs are filled with molten lava. I like the feeling of running 10km in 54 minutes for the first time ever.
Don’t get me wrong, when I finish the Ironman I will be chasing the six pack dream but you know what? If I have learnt nothing else from this mental year I have learnt what real fitness is. I have learnt that you need to live your life. You can’t spend every day week in week out hating parts of your body or comparing yourself to others.
Listen up because this is important. I am having a moment. I have never been confident about my body. EVER. Every day at work I look in the mirror in the lift and think “urgh – your knees are weird”. What the f**k is that about?! They are knees Cat. Ok they are not pointy pointy right angles like Kate Moss’s. That’s cool. My knees are carrying me around a marathon in 3 and a half weeks. Go you little knees go…
I am SO looking forward to embracing some red wine evenings with my sister and my flatmate. I can’t wait to go home at Christmas and not worry about the party food and how many carbs are in the stuffing. It will be awesome to relax and embrace the little things in life again and not stress about training training training, lean lean lean, carbs carbs carbs…
Again, I always try to be 100% honest with you all and I will wrap this up by admitting I have already started thinking about my next challenge. *cough* swimming the channel *cough* but that’s for another year *cough* probably next year *cough*.
I will be back in the gym once my body has recovered from Ironman. I will be eating well. I will be chasing the six pack but I am hoping this time around my six pack will be a result of making progress on the heaviness of the weights I lift rather than the size of the breakfast I eat.
I’ll keep you posted of course and as always a huge amount of love and admiration to anyone who has checked in to see how training is going, it helps… A LOT. To anyone who has donated to my chosen charity. To anyone who has cooked me dinner (I’m looking at you Kris and you Mum). You guys are awesome.
3 and a half weeks to go… let’s do this….
And if you are training this week or starting to set some goals. Keep that shit up. You’ll get there…