A Panic Attack, 100 miles and the confidence to do this

I’ve been chugging along since our big lake placid trip. getting my workouts in, being uber focused and trying to stay positive. i had completed a huge weekend with a 38 mile ride, a 15 mile run and a 90 mile ride in a weekend. as i approached the next weekend i was tired. i had taken a day off of work to complete a ride on that friday.

so sunshine and i planned to ride friday morning around 8. we had a 40ish mile route and i felt some trepidation leading up to this, mainly because i was so tired. so we set off and rode. it was a beautiful day with great weather. we were riding towards holden and sterling. i was trying hard to focus on my cadence and i had a goal of riding 15-16 mph during this ride given to me by coach k. i was keeping an eye out for the names of roads because i wasn’t really familiar with the area and hadn’t had time to drive this route. so we kept on riding. i was trying hard to not let sunshine get too far ahead of me and trying to match my cadence to hers as we rode the hills. as we kept going it felt like we had been going forever on this particular road. so we stopped and checked my phone as to where we were and we had missed the turn. by a lot. in truth, sunshine wasn’t really sure where we were and i had no clue at all. we decided to keep going on the road we were on because it eventually met up with the route coach had planned. sunshine was confident in this decision but i was nervous because i had zero idea where we were or where we were headed. so we rode on. we continued to have a disjointed ride due to the missed turn and trying to find our way back. at one point i was just like let’s get back i don’t care about the miles. thank goodness sunshine was there to put things back into perspective about doing the best we could. so we arrived back to the parking lot. i was exhausted but happy we were done. jane joined us and we all decided to go to lunch.

on the way there i started to get disheartened by how long it took us and our pace. my pace. i knew mathematically what i needed to do in lake placid. and i just felt like i couldn’t figure it out. i must be riding that dumb bike incorrectly. and i was exhausted. i was due to go to an interview team after lunch but i couldn’t get myself together enough emotionally in the shower. so i cancelled and felt horrible, but knew it was the right decision. s and i decided to drive the route for the following day.

we needed to pick out spots for him to be water and support crew and i needed to see where i was headed. as we drove, we missed turns over and over. roads didn’t have signs and the directions weren’t as clear i had would have liked. it was a 90 mile drive in which we drove 130 miles and it took 4 and half hours. i was nervous about the ride the following day.

when i woke up that saturday my stomach felt awful. i immediately puked and started to get nervous. i hadn’t even eaten anything and i’ve already begun to lose nutrition. i got some water and made a smoothie. it took me close to an hour to have the smoothie due to my stomach and a few puke breaks. the morning wasn’t off to a good start. i just kept thinking if i can get started i’ll be fine. unfortunately my body and mind had other plans. eventually i finished the smoothie but knew i needed to eat more. the thought of putting anymore food into my body made me puke again. i was overwhelmed with horrible negative thoughts that were spiraling out of control. i knew logically that none of the thoughts were true but my illogical brain was in control. i woke s up and tried to explain to him was i was feeling but instead i started to panic. i was thinking about the race and  everyone being there and the pressure and the disappointment and the and the and the…. i couldn’t breathe and my chest was so tight. i felt like i was going to die. i was hysterical. i was having a panic attack and couldn’t calm down. s did the right thing and walked away. he tucked me into bed and told me to meditate. he went to make me peppermint tea to ease my stomach. he told me not worry about the ride but worry about calming down.

so i did. i meditated. i slept. i had some tea. i ended up sleeping for 4 more hours. when i woke up i felt better. not ready to ride. but better. so i went and ran. i did my long run. 15 miles. and “run” is a loose term here. i ran as much as i could and i walked. it took me forever. but the day was not lost completely. and i had a plan. i went to living earth and bought a bunch of tea and anti-anxiety homeopathic treatments. i bought a ton of ginger. i had some treats for myself for the ride the following day. and when i woke up i couldn’t do it again. coach k was frustrated with me and my inability to move. i was stuck. she did everything right. but none of it was working. i reached out to two other ironmen – kathleen and jess. two completely different approaches and responses to my issue. and both were so appropriate and helpful. i took a step back and looked at what i was doing and why i was doing this. coach k and kathleen basically told me this training was joyless, but i couldn’t understand why it needed to be. jess didn’t say this exactly but she told me to find that joy again. and that’s what i needed. i embraced the joy in my life. i cooked a bit. i put good healthy food into my body. i felt like lizzie again.

and i got back into the groove of things. so much so that i had an incredible ride the following friday. i was on fire. i love sunshine and i left sunshine in the dust. it was exactly what my brain and my body needed. and i had a wonderful run on saturday. i felt good and refused to stop even when my IT band was giving me issues. it felt good to not get beaten.

then sunday came. i had 100 miles on tap. the only thing i needed to do that day was ride 100 miles. it didn’t matter how long it took. i needed to get it done. and i was determined. i had decided on a route i liked. and heather had agreed to join me for the first 50 and then sunshine would join me for the last 25. i felt good about it, until sunday morning. my stomach was beginning to get icky again. but i meditated and slowed down. i knew i could do this. so off we rode. and 5 miles into the ride…i got a flat tire. ugh! it took forever to get the tire off the rim but heather kept me sane and calm. a guy eventually came by and helped sort of. and after an hour (it took forever) we were off. and we rode. it was a good ride. s was a great support crew and had everything we needed. as we hit the 35 mile mark my brain started to kick my butt. i ate and focused and rode. and as i neared the mid point i knew i needed to change my second half route. and i figured that out and felt immediately better. when i arrived back at home i called sunshine and told her the new plan and she was excited. i refilled and set off. i felt good as i started the final 50. and my feet were hurting. my legs felt good. but my feet hurt. so every 15 miles or so i would stop and tap my feet or take my shoes off. it was annoying because my body felt good otherwise and i couldn’t really develop a rhythm. as i reached the barre falls dam i was thirsty and happy to be at the midpoint. i refilled after a bathroom break. and sunshine joined me for the final miles. my feet were bugging me and my brain was tired. but we rode. i had to stop a few times but got back into town. but we were short. so i had to go up and down mill street a few times and loop around tatnuck square twice. that could’ve been the longest 7 miles of my life. but i got it done.

and somehow it didn’t feel that big. in my brain i knew i had longer rides to conquer and this was just a stepping stone. when i saw coach k the following day she broke the news that i had completed my longest ride and i should be celebrating a bit more. and it made me happy that i had completed it but still not huge celebration needed. i knew i still had more work to get done.

and then i began a week of recovery and was able to swim and run and ride with a tiny bit less intensity. and i felt good. i saw some friends and was able to go grocery shopping (it’s really the little things).

then the weekend arrived. i had a brick scheduled for saturday (30/12) but after waking i slammed my knee against the bed so hard i could barely walk all day. sunday i went for an open water swim and the water was so cold my arms and face were cramping so i got 20 or minutes in. then monday (because it was memorial day) i scheduled my long ride brick (75/8). i woke up very early and was ready to ride. i hit the road before 5 am and did a short 15 mile loop in under an hour. i felt amazing. i got back home and refilled to hit the 60 miles. and as i left my neighborhood i fell. ugh. brushed myself off and my hips and legs were killing me. but i refused to stop. i needed to get this done. so i rode. and i fueled. and i felt good. i felt strong. really strong. i was riding my favorite route and felt so wonderful. i went down to the dam and then went further out past the pond and went somewhere i hadn’t been before. then i turned around. and i felt good. a car came driving up and was beeping and swerving. i slowed down as i heard the horn and looked at my bike and moved over a bit more. i felt nervous and overwhelmed by this unnecessary noise. and as the car drove by i fell. hard. so hard. i couldn’t get unattached very well. my wrist was killing me. i slowly got up and my hip and my butt hurt so bad. i brushed everything off. and i refused again to stop. i couldn’t. i was almost home. i only had 30 miles to get home. so i got back on the bike. and it didn’t feel that good anymore. but i wanted to get home. so i climbed up a hill. and then i heard the “ssss” coming and the thump of a flat. and i unclipped and was done. i knew i couldn’t even get the tire off with one hand. my wrist was killing me and i knew i needed ice. i called s for back up and he came and got me.

i was so frustrated. and now i’ve spent the week icing and recovering from these falls. i know that i need to spend the time healing but my brain is itching to train. i’ve been re-lit. i’m back and ready to head into the last 60 or so days in the best possible way.

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