In marathon running they call it ‘the wall’. Without warning, and for no apparent reason, a huge barrier appears across the road that none of the other runners can see apart from you. It is both invisible and real at the same time. It is a creation of your mind’s eye to try to tell your aching body that enough is enough, and that even though you are only passing the Tower of London, the finishing line in The Mall may as well be in New York. You ain’t going there! Last April, I got through ‘the wall’ to reach the finish line, but ‘the wall’ is back!
After all of that positivity last week, I’m afraid this post is on a bit of a downer. The only consolation is that this is and was expected. There are highs and lows on every journey (she tries to write philosophically!) and when faced with the climbs we expect to struggle and tire. This week we are certainly pedalling uphill. You know that Alpe d’Huez on the Tour de France? We’re on it!
On Friday night played we both attended a social occasion equipped with macro friendly snacks that we knew we would enjoy. Rugby Aid 2015 was not only raising money for an incredible military charity, it was a fun evening at a unique event. The Stoop had never experienced quite such an atmosphere with each and every member of the crowd fully appreciative of the cause and ready to roar on their favourite team, legend, celebrity or sportsman. The word ‘support’ hardly covered it as the fans got behind each and every volunteer player – good, bad or scared stiff - cheering, screaming and shouting encouragement for even the littlest of ‘Laings’ to power through tackles, broken ribs or no broken ribs!
It was all a little too much temptation for two individuals currently undergoing ‘comp prep’. The availability of gin and the giddy excitement at being in celebrity company led to one treat after another getting past our disciplined diets and before we knew it we were not only full of ‘Choc Caramel Mentos’ but a little bit tipsy besides. The next day reacquainted us both with that familiar, yet fairly distant memory of a hangover. The only possible cure was pancakes, followed by a pizza. Leg day was still completed but in a fairly ghostly state with little energy or strength. The ‘high’ feeling of bingeing on Friday’s treats was soon countered by a crashing slump come Saturday evening.
Now, before we further discuss the effects of our minor detour, let’s first look at what I see as the positives from this experience. I use the word experience lightly because this was really no more than a night of drinking and nibbling on sugary delights. No big deal, surely at our age. And there is no law against enjoying yourself when the opportunity arises and we sure did that. The rest of the dancefloor may disagree but we had a fabulous evening of finally letting go a little after 6 weeks of hard work with our strict regime. It all gave us a taste of what we were missing and can return to once this ‘challenge’ is complete. After all it is just the norm for normal people and only a part of human nature to enjoy being normal. It’s about balance not guilt.
Nevertheless, we are still only midway through a challenge that we undertook willingly and so the rules should apply with the regiment still very much in place. Our Tupperwares still arrive at our doors and our benches and our workouts await come the early hours of every morning. And of course, we still have the mind-set of playing by these rules. So when we break these rules we are left a little lost and cast adrift on a downhill slide into pancakes and pizzas and eventually a feeling of disappointment with ourselves.
Sunday was supposed to be a day of rest but became a chance to start compensating for Saturday’s mistakes. One training session become two, and my usual Sunday bowl of yogurt and whey to reward my week of hard work was replaced by a solitary cup of green tea and lemon. It’s safe to say the binge threw my regime more than a little and the disruption was greater than I had anticipated.
I feel it’s important to remind myself that this is a challenge and also something that I am very much enjoying on the whole. I am learning more and more about how my body responds to certain foods and training patterns. A challenge is supposed to be challenging by definition and it is only a temporary lifestyle change. Challenges come complete with struggles. They are inevitable and we did know that elements of the challenge would play about with the way we think and act. Yes, some of the habits and feelings that result could most certainly be deemed to be rather unhealthy but we are aware of these and use the support of everyone around us to ensure we do not become lost in them. We will be focusing our challenge as much on the ‘post’ as the ‘pre’. I believe it is extremely important to concentrate on the challenge of completion as well as the challenge of preparation. We will be documenting our journey back to ‘our norm’ just as we have documented our journey out of it.
This was just one week out of six and, aside from the fact that it produced a day of negativity, we must also remember this is the first real setback we have experienced throughout the whole challenge. I think we were allowed one and it was in a very good cause. We’ve learnt our lessons, moved on and got back on track. We’ve reached the half way mark and we look forward to seeing what the next six weeks bring.
P.s We've reached 6 weeks and despite the wrong turning there's still something to celebrate! In doing so we thought we'd share this Zanna Van Dijk cheat clean special.
Salted Caramel Iced Americano
1 Shot of Coffee
1 Shot of Jordans Salted Caramel Skinny syrup (Available to buy at Protein Pick and Mix
A large handful of ice
A splash of water/almond milk (optional depending on texture)
Whizz all up in your nutribullet/blender and serve in your favourite mug!