Monday, April 4, 2011

Post Pardum Race Stress Disorder

Well as is apparent from the title, nose dive, nose dive, nose dive.

I am assuming it was inevitable but when what I like to refer to as "post pardum race stress disorder" occured, I thought I was losing my mind.  After being on an adreline high for about, well, ever since the marathon in December, the high only increasing thoughout the training time, building up during the taper time and being completely over the top at completing the Half-Ironman two weeks ago, I can only describe the feeling of coming down like being "clothes-lined" and knocked flat of my back minus any air being left in my lungs.  The last sentence pretty much sums it up.  I thought that I was loosing my mind.  I could not think. I felt like and even voiced that I was wondering around aimlessly. I felt like a dark cloud was looming over me. I cried. Not a little bit of crying I mean the hard kind when someone dies, kind of cry.  The spark that was in my eye from basking in the wonderful sweet taste of, guess what, adrenaline, yes adrenaline, there is nothing quite like it, had disappeared.

“It is the greatest shot of adrenaline to be doing what you have wanted to do so badly. You almost feel like you could fly without the plane.”

Charles Lindbergh stated it pretty acurrately, I did feel like I could fly all by myself and I was until the unfortunate moment that the adreline mainline stopped.  I was so used to having something else big to work toward that by the time that the cessation of training for the big race was at hand, finish line had been crossed, day dreaming was kind of over, what now was the question.  The what now was having a break down, not knowing what to do with the extra time I had on my hands, not knowing what I was just working out to exist for, not having an agenda that consisted of knowing exactly what I had to do every second of my day. I was not happy and it was not working out for me.  The manifestation was tears, not anger but tears.  Listen, I would have taken anger any day over tears. 

Crying to me is the weakest form of self expression in my mind.  I could not control it, snubs, full fledged crying, sobbing, mourning the ending of the chapter of my life because I had enjoyed and loved every second of the training, the sore muscles, regimented days, the scheduling, the ability to balance it all and do it well, I missed it. 

I was asked one day what was your least favorite element of the triathlon. I did not have a least favorite part except for it being over so soon.  Insane I know but, I did not want it to end.  That day was the most incredible day of my life.  A day like no other, I was forced to stay right in the moment, through each twist and turn, there was no time to veer from what I was doing at that second, none. Focus was important.  Like I had mentioned in a previous post, when I reached mile 10 in the run, I knew it was almost over and sadness crept in.  I was happy to have set out to do what I had intended on doing, but now it was over in a split second of crossing the finish line, it was over and I felt it was too soon. 

My poor swim coach, asked me Friday was I okay and my bottom lip started to quiver.  She hugged me and asked me what was wrong. First she thought it was me and Nik. Then she asked if it was my family which there are somethings going on with my sister that is stressing me out. So that situation and my own lack of adrenaline coupled together made for a definite show of emotional meltdown at the pool.  She looked me dead square in the face, told me that I was strong, to surround myself with positive people, to remember how hard I had worked and how far I had come.  I cried on her shoulder. Then she said  for me to hurry and get into the pool, you are weightless there, meaning the weight of the world would be gone as soon as I plunged into that glorious pool, she was right and continues to be right.  I swam my butt off, swam it off again on Sunday and Monday.  I cried in the car driving home.

I got home during all this ordeal of the wind being knocked out of me and poor Nik is trying to pack for our trip to Isle of Palms.  The phone rings, it's Laura. I had just texted her to say that I was not gong to run on Saturday, I needed to chill.  She called and asked if I was ok. Here come the waterworks again.  Nik has not a clue what is wrong, he thinks I am mad, don't want to go to IOP, poor guy was clueless.  I told her I didn't know what was wrong, I told her about my meltdown at the pool.  She said that one of her friends had told her about something similar, but nobody had warned me.  I would imagine that everyone is different and of course I would get the short straw and come away with the tears, gees.

I literally start throwing my clothes to Nik to pack, he asked if she had upset me, I assured him not.  I told him I didn't know what was wrong with me, I was not in any pain, I was not upset really, I was not sick.  He knew exactly what it was he said adrenaline dump. 

The weekend away helped, swimming more helps.  Getting perspective on things help. Listening to other people who have experienced the same things helps.  Setting new goals, which I am so excited about really  helps.  By the time I left the IOP, the spark was back, in my eyes.  The adrenaline is not freeflowing as before but it will again, sooner than later. Perspective is everything. Realizing just how much I had loved this challenge, how I thrive on such lofty challenges helped.  The explanation that Greg gave me follows:  Do you want to know what is going on? Of course my response was yes.  He continues that my passion for this race was so great, that the reason for the tears is the mourning of it's being over.  He said it happens and it even happened to him. I was so relieved...honestly that was the first time I smiled in about three days.

My daughter had witnessed my second meltdown at home.  She texted me during the day to check on me.  In her eloquent words, after I told her that I was experiencing post pardum race distress, she called me and I quote, " Ma, you're an adrenaline crackhead."  She made me laugh.