No race? No problem!

It has been two weeks since I withdrew from Wimbleball 70.3. I have had my blood drawn and I’m waiting on the results of the tests; I’ve been given a date for the 24-hour ECG, which isn’t until the start of June; and I’ve been mostly very good about not doing anything that involves real exertion. Anyway, point being that the timing of the tests and so forth means that withdrawing was absolutely the right thing to do. No more kicking myself.

I thought I’d be over the disappointment by now, but I’m in this odd situation where I’m completely overwhelmed by not being overwhelmed with training.  I’ve suddenly got all this time and energy on my hands, and no clear idea of what to do with any of it. I’m horribly aware that pretty much everything I do at the moment is displacement activity.

However, I intend this to be my last entry bitching about dropping out – unless I have actual news on the health front, I won’t be bringing it up again. It’s time to be constructive. So, in that spirit, and in the manner of lazy writers everywhere, here’s a handy list of things to do to help you get over having to drop out of your A race.


No race? No problem!

How to constructively fill your time now that life doesn’t revolve around training.

1) Keep moving. I can’t train, but I also can’t sit still because the pent-up energy stops me sleeping. I have been walking absolutely everywhere; cycling at lunchtimes (slowly, Boris bike) has become a bit more standard. My body clock wakes me at 6am, so I get up, take the dogs out for minimum half an hour round the park. Catch the train, walk from Victoria to Kensington. Walk or cycle at lunch time (or sit in a cafe, granted). Walk back from Kensington to Victoria in the evening. Walk the dogs again. Walk walk walk. Keeping moving is doubly important to me because I know that if I stop doing this, I risk plunging headlong into the massive maw of depression.

2) Live vicariously. I may not be able to race myself, but by God I’ll support the fuck out of everyone else. I went to watch the London Marathon last Sunday, and it was bittersweet. I was only hovering around mile 12, but it was still emotional watching people pass by. I deliberately picked out runners with difficult to pronounce (for me) names, because I reasoned that they probably weren’t getting much direct shouting. That worked a treat. Actually, Sunday was generally a really good day – it was one big lovefest online (Noah Segan and Rian Johnson read this entry and approved, and I got all starstruck. Good times.) and in life.  This week, over at Running for people who don’t, Ro wrote an entry about how overwhelmed she was feeling about her 70.3 prep, and voiced something that I had been thinking – that she has lost a partner-in-crime, someone who understands the weight of training.  Which is kind of how I’d been feeling, actually, but I’m so proud of how hard she’s trained against some big odds – I’m going to be tracking Mallorca 70.3 in a couple of weeks and I will undoubtedly cry with pride when she crosses the finish line. More actively, I ‘helped’ a runner friend with his post-marathon return to running mid-week by cycling round the park and setting the pace while he ran. Turns out I’m a cruel coach, because I deliberately needled his competitive side and set a fairly fast pace. But from my point of view,  it was kind of interesting watching him struggle, because normally it’s me trying to keep up with him.

3) Get creative. I have been messing around with song lyrics and sworn that I’m going to get some songs finished, even if they’re really bad. Also been playing around with a script. Writing stories. Cooking things. Playing piano more than usual. Doodling pictures. Also throwing myself into my work, which is less creative, but it keeps my brain busy. Also I keep starting blog entries (and not finishing them) and (you may have noticed) trying to choose a new design for the blog. I found one I thought I liked, but it missed a couple of features I wanted and turned out to be glitchy on IE9. Everything’s glitchy on IE9. I’m not 100% in love with the current look, but I also hesitate to spend money fancying up what is, at this point, basically a glorified diary.

4) Indulge your feminine side. I didn’t get to do this much while training, so I went out and bought a load of make-up. Then I experimented with the make-up. I looked like … well I was going to say a clown, but I can actually apply clown make-up better than I can real make-up.

See? (At the 10k Spooky Sprint for Parkinsons, 2012.)
See? (At the 10k Spooky Sprint for Parkinsons, 2012.)

Conclusion – heavy make-up is not for me unless I’m going for a very specific look. Like, Halloween specific look. Also, clothes shopping, because all the training has at least whittled my waist down a bit (and the weight is still coming off, but I’m uncomfortably aware that that’s because my muscles are doing the muscle equivalent of shrugging and heading off to the pub because they aren’t needed). THEN stop indulging your feminine side and check your bank account and focus on how it’s a good thing you can’t race because you really ought to save some money

5) Plan holidays and timefillers. I’d already booked the weekend off work and the dogs into kennels for the 70.3, so we’re going on holiday instead. To Germany, probably, because I’ve never been and we have friends there who have generously said we can stay with them. I’m still going to Devon the weekend of the preparation day that I’m now not attending, because I already booked the train tickets and was staying with a friend. So now it’s going to be a weekend of beaches, wine and relaxing instead. Also, it’s a bonus being a lover of film. So much cinema. Also, so much reading; mostly those cheerful Wallander novels.

6) Be sociable. I feel as though I’ve seen more of my friends recently, because I can spontaneously go out to the pub without guilt and to dinner without having to first check my training plan. Last night started as ‘a quick drink after work’ and ended up dancing in Central London – which is rare for me and I loved it. Getting older has its perks and one of them is being able to dance to bad music unironically without trying to pose for Instagram the entire time. Some Tennessee Honey, several tequila shots, a couple of smooches with a pretty blonde girl (yes, I’m still with the CoffeeMonster; yes, he knows about it; no, he’s not bothered in the slightest) and a nap later, and the hangover is JUST starting to kick in, which is a good reason to stop writing.

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