Taking stock – a forced reflection

The coaching philosophy at CPC was born out of the desire and passion to not just coach, but to educate athletes of all levels to help them achieve their optimal per4mance while maintaining a balanced, happy and healthy life…

Coach Sarah recounts a recent forced reflection and sets a reminder for athletes to take stock, and reflect, particularly if you are towards the end of a long season / training block…. But even if you are not, and you feel like things ‘just aren’t quite right’ – then this is your little reminder to look a little deeper to ensure you are performing AND living to your optimum.

I woke up on the weekend like a truck had hit me. I couldn’t move out of bed, I had this overwhelming sense of pure exhaustion that was over me and a thumping headache. So I slept. And laid about. Literally all day. I moved from bed to the couch, slept a bit more there, had a dip in the pool in the hope it would wake me up. Which it did, for a tiny bit, the exhaustion did lift though, it just hid it for a wee bit… So I filled up the bath soaked in a magnesium for 2hrs! I made myself go out for a walk for some fresh air in the evening. Not for exercise, more for mental health – there’s nothing worse than feeling cooped up inside all day. I often include walks for recovery. This was far from that. I felt like an old woman. Moving slowly. Unsteady. No energy. Having to take breaks along the way – and that was just around the block! 

But I made it back home, had some nourishing chicken broth soup and was tucked in bed by 8:30pm. Wow. I have not had a day like that in forever! But I wasn’t going to fight it, not this time. I couldn’t even if I wanted to ! And so as I was laying in bed last night, a heavy cloud of exhaustion over me I was wondering – where has this come from? Why was I perfectly fine yesterday and then down like a sack of potatoes today? Admittedly I have been feeling a little flat of late, just not having the spark I normally do. And although competing sessions everyday, they weren’t feeling as good as they should. And it was playing with my mind. Had my motivation waned? Did I not want race anymore?… 
And then it dawned on me. I donated blood the day before. That in itself can create some exhaustion as they take around ~500ml of blood. For an averaged size person that’s around 8% of your blood volume, but for me, it’s around 12%. And there’s a reason for this story.. 

When I was doing the blood pressure and HR check before donating, the lady asked – is your HR and BP normally so low? (HR was 40, and I silently kicked myself for not doing a few star jumps before I walked in!) ;-p And so I explained to her (like some of you when docs see your low resting HR) ;-p ) that I train and race and so yes it is normally low. So we got past that and then she did the haemoglobin finger prick test and she again said, hmmm is your haemoglobin normally so low? I was below the range they allow for donating – so essentially far from optimal. And so I thought back when I had my last blood tests done with my Dr, and I couldn’t remember when that was. Definitely over 12mths ago! She did say they can do a more accurate test to check it again so that I could still donate though. So we did that and it was just above the minimum marker – JUST! So I went through the process and did my bit. Looking back – I should have put my own health first – but there is a theme here….

So why do I share this? Well, looking back on how I had been feeling in general, the wall I hit yesterday after donating blood and I realise I hadn’t been looking after myself as well as I could have over the past few months. And for someone that has a history of low Iron, to not have had regular bloods done recently I was kicking myself. I was in my groove and didn’t think about it. I needed an outsider to point it out! 

I’ve been running the tank dry. Trying to do all the things and forgetting about number one. And number one is ALWAYS YOU. Not just for performance and training, but for health and vitality. I’ve been trying to be all the things – the parent that helps at the kinder, the mum who catches up with the other school mums, the mother taking kids to all the sports, and making the fancy lunch boxes, the the wife trying to cook everything from scratch. All while working and training… And as we know, it we burn the candles for too long, or we burn them from both ends, without a rest/reset then eventually they will dim. And Mine didn’t just dim, it went out ! 
And so I’ve had to remind myself – that I can DO ANYTHING, but not EVERYTHING. And so some self care is coming my way this week, that massage I’d been meaning to book but just hadn’t made the time for – that’s happening this week. 

Those bloods that I should have had tested 6mths ago, and checking in with my naturopath will be done this week to get me back to my optimum. And I’ll be saying no when I and if I need to….. 

Only then will I be able to find my equilibrium again and feel like my cup is full, my candle burning bright and back to my healthy and vibrate self again! 

SO – this is YOUR reminder. Take stock and check in with yourself – BEFORE it’s too late… How ARE you doing? We train, race and compete for the love, because we are able to, reach our lofty goals – but it shouldn’t be at the detriment of our health…. So next time we chat – I’ll ask again, how are YOU doing….

And if this resinated with you, get on the front foot and book in a chat with your coach or health professional to ensure you are performing AND living to your optimum. 🙂

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