Give pain a rain check

So this year’s sportive season is over.  And yes, I’ll write about that sportive in due course as usual, that being what I do, even if it sometimes takes me a while to get around to it.

But in the meantime…

medals 2015

Another season done.  One amazing training camp followed by 18 sportives of varying length and varying levels of form and performance.  It’s also been my 11th year of cycling, having started out in 2005, and I’ve been doing the many sportives thing for around seven years now.  Right now it doesn’t feel like a many splendored thing though.  I’m not sure I can face another year of doing the same thing over and over, on my own, and not being good enough.  Although I’m well aware that that is…well, good enough for what?  For who?  In comparison to whom?  Who’s judging me anyway?  And besides which does it matter if anyone is?  Etc.  Nonetheless…

As the year has gone on, my health has been deteriorating again. This means I’m in more and more pain for more and more of the time.  As a result I’m usually on fairly heavy duty drugs.  Which isn’t great in and of itself, but they also have other interesting side effects.  I have sod all appetite for starters.  Or mains, or desserts 😉  So I’m eating even less than usual, and thanks to my IBS, eating wasn’t something I was all that keen on or bothered about anyway.  On the upside there’s less of me, and hey, nothing tastes as good as skinny feels, right?  And talking of taste?  Yeah, it screws up my taste buds too.  I’ve even gone off beer.  Yes people, you heard right.  Off.  Beer.  The end of the world may indeed be nigh, get your houses in order 😉  Since I try not to be on the drugs all the time, when I do have to take them, and am not habituated, they also turn me into a bit of a zombie.  And yes, you might think being permanently stoned is fun, but it isn’t…the novelty wore off quite some time ago.

slow square

None of which makes cycling any easier I reckon.  I swear it sometimes takes as much energy to keep it together on the bike as it does to actually ride the darn thing.  Riding sometimes also makes the pain worse, but it makes my head better, and since the state of play sometimes gets me down I need to ride…ooh, it’s all so circular 😉  Even when I have the pain under control, my body is still dealing with it even if I’m not actually aware that that is going on, so I imagine it’s working harder than I think.  And thanks to the calorie deficit levels, I don’t seem to have reserves like I used to, I don’t have enough stored in the tank to ride on.  So I tire easily, get cold easily, and generally don’t have what I had.  Mind you, my body is an amazing thing really.  Look at everything it’s going through, and what I put it through, and what it does and can do regardless.  Pretty awesome 🙂

The chances are that there is more surgery in my future.  I have an appointment with my consultant, this time via the NHS, in January.  It being the NHS, I’m thinking I could probably get away with avoiding the knife until next Autumn at least though, what with waiting lists and all that jazz.  So I can still make some cycling plans.  I have my amazing prize, my 5 day Spanish cycling trip, in February.  And I have a vague Maratona plan shaping up for 2017.  But for 2016, I think a goal would be good.  Possibly essential.  Something that gives all these sportives meaning, makes them part of a training routine.  And I’d prefer it to be something I do in company.  In fact I’d like to cycle with more people more of the time, and not just because it’s probably better to have company in case I lose it completely and need picking up off the tarmac 😉  I’d just like cycling to be more of a social, sociable thing than it has been this year…  Back to goals though.  I have no idea what that should/could be.  The Etape is out, the route doesn’t interest me.  And it doesn’t have to be a sportive or an event.  I’m open to ideas…fire away if you have any suggestions!

Considering how I’m feeling, mentally and physically, it is definitely the end of the season.  Even though, as is oddly and always surprisingly, frequently the case, it turns out that yesterday’s sportive went a lot better than I felt like it did.  I was a golden girl 😉  But it felt like hard work, it hurt, and my head wasn’t really in the game.  Which has been the case for the last couple of sportives really, and I think I’ve possibly had a elegant sufficiency of them for the time being.  Just as well it was my last one this year then 😉  I just feel a bit like I’ve been fighting too many battles on too many fronts somehow.  I’m even thinking of maybe taking a break from the bike.  Or at least making a conscious effort to do it differently.  With a different focus.  Which will be easier since training is less of an issue for a little while at least.  I think it’s time to sit back and enjoy the ride, and when I can get out there, remember to be grateful that I’m riding at all.  But I’m not going to let this beat me.  I shall remember there have been some real high points this year, and that there will be more ahead.  PMA here I come! 🙂

the high point of my year

The high point of my year. Literally 😉