My vision for Eden Therapy is that when people come to us for treatment, whether it be RMT Massage, Acupuncture, Yoga, CranioSacral Therapy, or Counselling, they know they are being guided home to themselves, to vibrant health and wellbeing. So when my big brother invited me to join him on the island of Mallorca, Spain in April 2019 for a road bike race, I thought this might be a good opportunity to share my journey so others can glean some bits of inspiration perhaps, or at least knowledge for their own quest for their best possible selves.
I did a 100km leisurely ride once a few years ago. This race is 167 km, climbing upwards of 2500 metres. Boy, do I have me some training to do. I’m super excited, and also quite touched. My brother and I haven’t always had an easy relationship. There has been tension and resentment. This invitation warms my heart beyond words. I’m excited to spend nearly two weeks with his wife and him on this island in the Mediterranean. And I want to do him proud at this event. I intend to ride in the middle of the pack, not be that straggler who wobbles across the finish line after the band, spectators, and refreshment table have long gone, paper cups rolling across the street in the breeze at dusk.
Blogging about personal experience makes me wince a little bit. Who am I to vie for your attention when you already have so much else to do? Keeping this in mind, I would like to offer honesty, even if it feels a little embarrassing, or makes me feel vulnerable. I have a pretty good facade, but really, I’m a piece of work. Geez Louise.
This is me, chronicling my training as a 53 year old moderately fit woman with a small, but busy multi-disciplinary clinic and studio to run. As an RMT, my work is already quite physical. I feel a little taxed already in terms of time. I am always looking at the clock. In fact, about an hour ago on this Saturday morning, after coffee number four (that was a BAD idea), I draped a tea towel over my oven clock as anxiety was making me feel tight behind my sternum. Yes, part of that is the coffee. But I get that feeling a lot… Not enough. Not enough time. Not enough help. Not enough money. Not enough confidence. Not enough love. Not enough elastin and collagen. And so on. But I digress.
I’m pretty sure the next few months will provide some amazing experiences. I love the idea of a crazy challenge overcome. Already, after training rather casually for two weeks, I feel stronger, younger, brighter, albeit sore and tired.
What I would like to offer in this series of blogs:
- Some inspiration for other menopausal women to just go for it!
- Knowledge for you as I work through some of the unique factors one must wrangle with as a menopausal woman when training hard for an endurance event.
- Specifics about the training for me: Diet, lifestyle to accommodate the training, my training program, my follow through.
- A reflection on the health care team I have around me, how they support my training. These are, so far, my RMT, Chiropractor, Physio, Trainer. I will introduce you to each of them.
So far, this is what I’ve got:
I’m not starting from scratch. I’m relatively fit, and quite able bodied. So far, I’ve just been putting time in the saddle as well as cross training a couple days a week at the gym with some functional strength and anaerobic intervals. I also practice yoga and do some pilates. This week I will have ridden a total of 100km. By Spring, I need to be riding 100km on one ride, quite regularly. But already, my neck sounds like there is sand between the bones, my left hamstring feels like dried up pepperoni, and my hands hurt a bit.
Training is like a part time job. Something has to give. I am giving up a little but not all socializing. I am giving up almost all Netflix (sorry Riverdale). I am drinking alcohol less frequently, as it disrupts sleep. I am making a point of sleeping. I make sure I have days of calm, so my nervous system doesn’t get overly amped up. I have decided to stop engaging with a couple of people who I spend time with for the wrong reasons, and who bring me down energetically. I don’t know that I’m ready to be completely open about this one…
I eat well. But I am paying closer attention to when I eat, and how nutritionally dense the food I’m eating is. I have watched my calorie intake for most of my life as my obsession over body image is quite a fixed part of my persona. As a teenager and early adult, I was anorexic and bulimic. I look in the mirror now, and like what I see for the most part… not so much the sagging skin, but that is something I must accept. Although I have a healthy diet now, I am hyper-vigilant about what I eat in order to stay slim. I suppose I could relax around that a little. But I really like being slim.
Today’s breakfast was pretty yummy and really stuck to my ribs, so I’ll share:
3/4 cup precooked sprouted brown rice and quinoa
minced onions, chopped mushrooms, threaded kale
I sautèed the veggies, added the cold rice with some veggie broth, covered and warmed on low heat. In the meantime, I poached an egg, medium. I placed the egg in a nest of the rice mix in a big bowl with some of my homemade fermented cabbage and a dash of Sriracha sauce.
I try to eat until satisfied, not full or stuffed. That doesn’t always happen. It’s a nice ideal though, isn’t it? What’s more important is that I don’t pay too much attention to the Genghis Khan in my head when I don’t follow my arbitrary food rules. He can sit in the back seat, not the drivers seat in my mind. Sometimes he is helpful, like when I don’t want to maintain speed up a hill.
Today I did a pretty short ride of 35km, with a few Hardy Hill repeats. The first time up always feels the hardest. It’s getting cold. I need to get some booties and a good pair of gloves.
Tomorrow is bootcamp day. Core, anaerobic conditioning, functional strength.
Next blog, I’ll focus on one aspect of the training from the perspective of this yogi/rmt in midlife.
See you on the road!