Monday, 25 November 2013

Leaving the Comfort Zone

I don't know if you have ever had a near death experience dear reader?  I have.
And its true, your life *does* flash before your eyes.

It happened to me in reallllllllllly slow motion. I genuinely believed I was going to die.

My brain was busy scanning its shelves for a point in history where it could find and steal a coping mechanism that had worked.  It would deploy this successful tactic again.
My clever subconsciousness must have found one. Or invented a new one. I lived.

Coping mechanisms are funny things I have learned.
Not funny ha ha.  Funny peculiar.

They are very individualised, exceptionally personal and based on our past - the things we keep stored on the shelves in our brains.
We are products of our pasts and our perception and resilience is developed as we experience each new challenge life throws at us (or the challenges we step in front of)

The year of #FuckIt is nearly over.
It has been amazing - so much so that I am planning on carrying it on.  I have acheived so so much. Instead of being sweary and a bit potty mouthed (I blame the book of the same name), 2014 will be the year of #DoThat!

It *should* be the year of Austerity, but I just cant see the fun or appeal!! And if i say ~FuckIt this year - I have to honour it next year!!

It has become screamingly obvious that I quite like being out of my comfort zone and pushing myself as hard as I can. 

I am not competitive by any stretch... and I think this is where I have been getting it wrong, believing I should be competitive (on some level, if only with myself)
It doesn't work for me.  It doesn't motivate me.  If anything i think it demotivates me.
The fact that I am lazy doesn't help much either.

I started my new job and it was a baptism of fire.
Now don't get me wrong, I have worked in Children's Homes for over 12 years.
I have worked in lots of homes and know that they are all different, the kids vary immensely, the staff team will vary, but ultimately, they are a team of staff, caring for and about a bunch of kids.
How different can it be?

I have never known anything like it.
EVERYTHING is different. 


The recording systems, the routines, the ethos of the home, the way information is communicated and stored.  EVERYTHING. 
The kids are also have learning disabilities. Some are non verbal. Some have complex medical needs.

What did I think I was doing when I applied for this? What am i doing stood in here?

On my first day i had frequent trips to hide in the loo and give myself a shake (and hide).  I asked myself at least 5 times an hour what I thought I was playing at.  This continued into day 2.

It wasn't and isn't a bad place to be, in fact quite the opposite.  I knew it was exceptional.  It was and is screamingly obvious that the quality of care the home delivers is spectacular.
Day 3 and 4 involved Ofsted rocking up for the annual unannounced inspection. 

Turns out, I was right. 
It is Outstanding. Officially.

I have a chance to be a part of this.  I am now a part of this. After 4 days, I wanted to weep at the pride.  I know how hard it is to reach Outstanding grading - the feedback is also very different to inadequate. I have now received both types.

So that was my first week.  I felt a fraud, questioned myself endlessly and left wondering what the hell I had let myself in for.  I questioned my ability to care for the kids.  I questioned my ability to be a manager.

The children scare(d) me.
They have complex medical needs with shortened life expectancy. 
They will bite and kick and smear their poo up the walls and in my face given half a chance (not all of them!).  I cannot meet their needs if I don't know what they are.
If they cannot tell me I am scared I will fail them.  I am scared I will get it wrong.

So, to week 2 at work.
One of the children has a cluster of seizures, close together - this isn't their 'normal'. 
We survive.
I grow.
I find myself giving staff supervision as I go, I am back 'mananging' and this is familiar - I can do this. I can mange staff who look after children with complex needs - it is just the shape of the needs that has changed. And the building. And the language everyone speaks. And the systems.....

Today I found myself at 12.45 asking what I thought I was doing, then I realised I had been in work since 7am... and this was the first time I had asked myself.

And it was only once. 
Not repeatedly.

N actually, the kids are gorgeous when you take time to look past your own fears.
Properly glorious kids.
They are full of sparkle and shiny.
They glow.

I am getting there.  I will get there.  Wherever there is. 
And so will you dear reader.  Just keep on keeping on.

The unfamiliar will become familiar. 

And sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith, believing that there will be a safety net.... or that you will soar.  Preferably the latter.

It is hard making that initial leap.

What will it feel like?
What if I fail? What if people laugh at me?
What if I lose everything? What if people judge me?
What if I don't like it? What if its too late and I cant get back?

What if its amazing? What if its the best thing ever?
What if I never look back?
What if this takes me on adventures bigger than I dared to dream of?

I ran today.... Running is fairly new and horrid.  We don't like each other very much.  But that's OK, we will learn to tolerate each other eventually. Maybe.

I ran to the point whereby at about an hour in I realised that I had gone light headed and a little bit squiffy.  I hit the point whereby I might have liked to have fallen over given a choice.

I had eaten well, I was tired but not to the point where I shouldn't be training.  Saturday had been a rest day and yesterday had been a turbo session - hard but not too bad - although I had increased the resistance.
There was no reason to be falling over.

I realised that this was possibly at the wooly edge of my comfort zone. If I had just pushed a touch more....
It has been suggested that if I had pushed more I would have rendered myself unconscious and eventually come round to find myself in a pool of my own vomit and wee!!  (Thanks TC for that wonderful imagery!!)

So I stopped before I did any of those things.

I would say, I was about to leave myself. If that makes sense.

I know I discociate.
It is my coping mechanism of choice. When the going gets tough.... I do one and leave my body to it. 

Once I leave, I find it hard to carry on.... after all I am not 'there'.
Sooooo I need to learn how to deal with that so it means I can still 'do one' and keep going simultaneously.

If anyone has any idaes about this, answers on a post card please.

Monday, 4 November 2013

1 down, 29 to go

So i survived week 1 of training towards the Half Outlaw.
I'm not properly training for that, well, I am, obviously, but its just part of a bigger plan. My Ironman plan. 

I don't know which will be my full IM, I don't need to decide that bit just yet.
For now, I need to learn how to run and cycle.... and get back to swimming fast(er)

This week started with getting up at the crack of dawn to do a turbo session - the logic being, start as you mean to go on....Attack it.  No excuses.  Key to success under the alarm clock and all that.

Monday wasn't too bad - I would even go so far as saying, I enjoyed it.  Yay me!!!
Got up, spun my legs a bit, went to work, went to the hospital, came home, fell into bed.

Tuesday came, swim session in the morning, training course, then straight to work.  I left home at 6.15am and got home a little after 10.30pm.

The plan for Wednesday didn't happen - I fully intended on getting up to train before work, but Tuesday's long hours drained me and I started at 7.30am Weds and arrived home at 22.30 again.... God this is gonna be a nightmare. 

Thursday I managed a good session in the gym - it was full of circuit work, nasty jumping about bits/plyometric work and horrid core stuff. I also need to say how much I despise the warm up I have been given.  The dreadmill is OK - I don't mind it, not really. I do mind sprinting on it. A very large lot.   I also had a nice swim session after the gym on Thursday. 

Friday morning I swam with a view to having a meaty monster of a turbo session on Friday night - but I was given grace until Saturday due to my friend cancelling, fatigue and racing about like a headless chicken with work stuff and hospital stuff.

I can't sustain these long hours.  I am tired and I am a grump when I don't do the things I want to/need to do.... like train... and rest.... when I dont do the things I should do. 

I also need to see my friends.  I miss them.

Saturday morning came the FTP test. 

It hurt. 
Lots.  Very lots.

According to the pretty graphs which @TheIron_Bear showed me how to make today, my heart rate reached 201 bpm and my training effect was 5.  I am informed that this is proof that I worked hard.

Of course I worked hard!! I thought at one point I was going to pass out n fall off the bloody bike!!!
I know what effort level 10 feels like now AND IT FRICKING HURTS.  It took me all I had to keep pushing my legs down one more time as the seconds ticked by painfully slowly from 19.40 to 20.00 mins.

I was like Bambi on ice when I'd finished the session and wobbled as I dismounted, I soon recovered and forgot my inability to walk until I ventured towards the stairs, then forgot again until I went to venture back down them.  How I didn't fall over, I will never know.  Anyway, I didn't. I have to repeat the test in 8 weeks. 


Sunday was rounded off with a swim.

It seems, that regardless of what I planned (and it was a LOT more than I actually completed), I am not disciplined enough. 

I am a lazy athlete.  I have always been aware of this.  I want to do it, really I do, just not right now, not yet, and I certainly don't want it to hurt.

I *will* do it - tomorrow.

But it doesn't work like that. It won't do itself and I need to put the miles in the bank. I need to make the effort.  Even when I am tired, even when I'd rather stay in bed in the warm, especially when I would rather stay in bed in the warm.

The key to success *IS* under the alarm clock.  I have lots going on still and lots of unstable still on the horizon.  I need to be disciplined with myself and I need to be honest in my reflection.

Week one wasn't good enough. I didn't try anywhere near hard enough and I tossed it off at every opporchanity I could.

Grade = D -        
Must try harder. Rach allows herself to be distracted. Could be awesome if she made the effort and applied herself to her sport.