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Being a Zen loving Ninja

April 1, 2016

"Here for a good time not for a long time"

 

A quote that quite accurately described my philosophy to life, up until the last few months. 

The last few months, have seen me move away from the 'live fast, die young' attitude to a more nonchalant, casual, laid back and relaxed approach. 

 

Explaining this change has the potential to end up being very long winded. I will try my best to keep it as clear and concise as possible.

 

I have written a few times in previous blogs on the work I am doing with Sarah Pitts at MostMotion. I have found the effect of our work, to not just be physical but also mentally challenging. Yes I am improving my range of motion, I can move my body in ways I could never have imagined before. I have been working on un-sticking the restrictions, become stronger and more flexible. 

The mobility work has given me a new appreciation for my body and how it moves and the necessity that in order to swim, bike and run effectively and in a healthy, injury free way, my body needs to be well oiled, mobile and well functioning. 

 more of these on the facebook page

 

I have learnt that "Live Fast" isn't possible if you have a creaking, groaning body. Ain't going to be no ninja if you can't touch your toes!

 I found this photo from 2011, with the biggest Sue Swaine in downward dawg pose and me trying to touch my toes, unsuccessfully so having to use a rope, back in Portugal at Delluci retreat, Thanks Whiting for the memory.

 and now, no rope required

 

The CupofTri podcast had a fantastic interview with Chrissie Wellington recently (side point, I was interview #64  a good warm up act, I felt for Chrissie the following week at interviewee #65, obviously pretty similar chat about our accomplishments! ) Chrissie mentioned the importance of mental training and aptitude. This made me reflect on how much I have grown mentally recently.  

Sarah believes the body is designed to heal it'self. If you listen to it, it will tell you what it needs, here is a brilliant article she has written on rest. 

 

Through our mobility sessions, she has been drip feeding me the theory behind her mobility concepts. Be kind on yourself, less is more, listen to the body, be aware, slow and steady. Reinforcing what Coach Lou has been trying to drum into me over the last few years. I realize these guys must despair with me.

 Sarah has been getting me to think outside of the box

 

These ideas really tied in with the core concepts and philosophies of Yoga. I realized last week that I have just completed my first year of yoga practice. Initially I attended the Leeds Bradford Triathlon club Yoga sessions once a week with Yoga teacher Kirsten Steffensen. I started practicing at home and like any new hobby, keenness takes over and I was joining in at Yoga heroes several times a week. 

"Just do as you feel able today"

"Move from inside your body into something bigger"

"Think about breathing into the different areas of your body creating heat and light"

 Yoga anytime, anywhere. 

 

Just a few of the words of wisdom that come out of Collette's yoga classes, that I have attended recently. I enjoy the physical aspect of yoga but recently have been really enjoying the mental side and the philosophy and stories behind the yoga practice. Yoga heros have some great blog posts such as this one on the "Eight limbs of Ashtanga"

 

"Die young" I use to believe there was no appeal to growing older. Now as I  contemplate the final few months of my twenties I find myself in a different mindset. Yoga teaches the ideas of growth and development, through listening to your body and mind. The longer you are around, the more your learn, grow and develop, that's cool....let me live to 101 years old! 

Crowing and Growing

 

What does all this mean? I am off to Goa to live as a yogi, to only wear sarongs and be zen 24/7? 

Not quite. But the above doesn't sound like a lean, mean, triathlon fighting machine? And in a way all of the above seem in direct contrast to the " No pain no gain" philosophies of elite sport. 

I use to subscribe the the no pain no gain club, but not so much any more. As my  mindset has shifted to a more chilled out way, I really liked the ideas of Phil Maffetone, who is a big advocate of the low stress training model. The more I have read about this, the more it makes sense to me. I have started wearing my heart rate monitor for all my running and cycle training and have seen big improvements in what I can accomplish though training at a low intensity. 

I was having to stop and walk up the hills initially to keep my HR low, now the same hills i can jog up at a decent pace at that same heart rate. OK so I am no Paula Radcliffe, I have yet to run beyond 10km or at a pace quicker than 4.45minutes/ kilometers. But hey, that's fine, I am experimenting and feeling good about it.

 

That is not to say I don't stress the body at all, I have been throwing in some hard cycle sessions, but this article, really shows the ideas behind the 80:20 model (80% training being easy, 20% hard) 

 

I have also been applying what i have learnt in yoga to swimming, cycling and running. The idea of "Do what you feel you can do today" has become a core thought for me. If I am not firing on all cylinders and not hitting the times I want, I remind myself "it really doesn't matter,just go with the flow and do what i can do at that moment in time". OK so often i will have a mare first, get wound up, curse the stupid Garmin but then remember the grounding principles "Do what you feel you can do today"

I never did this before, i would fight and grind and burn myself to smoldering fire wood in an effort to accomplish the training, but i am slowly learning that for me that doesn't work. 

 

Blimey Suz, how has this shift in attitude come about? 

When I first developed a bump on my heel and it was causing me grief in my achilles i cursed it, i then despaired with it. For the last few seasons I have been "Managing it" With injury comes time to think, why? why? why?

Ultimately something i was doing wasn't working. It made me start working with Sarah and turned my attention to Yoga.

Recently I got a diagnosis of "Haglund Deformity". Phew I knew what the bump in my heal was. Yipeee I could now fix it. 

"There is no cure, you can get it operated on, or you give up running" 

 Not a good day when the doctor told gave me that news a few weeks ago. Yes I was pretty upset, I cried a bit, I threw my trainers in the dustbin, I decided to give up. 

 

But I then realized how much I had learnt, some of which I have written above. I realized, I was discovering how to cure my own body and maybe if I kept doing what i was doing; being gentle, listening to my body, being aware, building a strong foundation, mentally and physically I could overcome the bony bump on my heal.

I got the trainers out of the bin, washed them and realized i am not ready to give up quite yet.

 

As the triathlon season approaches, good luck to everyone who is racing, have fun, enjoy the experience and maybe I will see you on a start line at some point.