Being in the development squad for orienteering means that I get subsidised physiological testing at Manchester university. So on the 18th of September I had my 5th VO2 max test. I stayed overnight before the testing with Will and as ever had a pessimistic view on the whole thing. It's not that I didn't like them, I am perfectly happy doing the testing if only my body did what I was training it to do- show improvement. Although I know my training had been reduced after JWOC, I was still training more cross-training instead.
So anyway I got drawn on, measured and pinched, blood taken from my fingers before I finally started running on the treadmill. The test as per went pretty awful, starting the test at a lower pace than previous ones and finding it difficult and challenging even at paces I knew I could run comfortably in the forest. At the end of the test I was feeling pretty neutral knowing that it wasn't incredible but then I wasn't expecting it to be. Only after speaking with the coach did I begin to get really frustrated with the whole thing as everything had got worse. I'd put on weight, lactate threshold was very lower, I accumulated lots of lactic acid quickly, HR was sky high and my VO2 max had got worse.
Although being told not to compare with other people, I obviously did as I knew that the coaches would be doing it, deciding it hypocritical to tell me not to. Instead they said I should just compare it with myself. So I did. This was even worse as I fished out my previous results, comparing them and realising I had become worse at running than I had been 3 years ago? Not understanding my body, feeling fed up with training, especially after the disappointment of JWOC I seriously considering throwing in the towel as it was pretty clear in that instance I just wasn't enjoying it. The results weren't there, the explanations weren't there and I realised I wanted to live my life as a normal teenager at university instead of training and committing to something that I wasn't getting the rewards from.
For the following month, before I started back at university, my head was neither here nor there with orienteering. I was still training as it seemed I would get more depressed about not training but then I was confused about what I was training for. I was also getting obsessive with the fact I'd put on weight, never really being completely happy with my body and this just securing the fact that my body wasn't optimum. This messed with my head even more as I got my priorities of what was healthy mucked up, eating little and then binging and then feeling so bad and guilty and it was just feeding into a negative cycle.
My mum told me to get a new focus, away from orienteering...so I did some swimming and entered a triathlon! Although it was a super super short sprint one or something I was still excited for it, entering with my work buddy and old primary school friend, Emma Chambers. We had to get up really really early as it started at like 6 down in Boscombe! My brothers and dad came along to support which was so lovely, not expecting it at all! The swim, definitely my most hated part was a 300m swim in open water around some buoys and back to the shore. I felt stupid at the start, not having a proper wetsuit so using one that we used as kids when we went to Cornwall which had brightly coloured stripes and made me, quite frankly, look like a whale, we also had to wear bright orange swimming hats adding to the 'joke' look I had going on. So the swim...was horrifically traumatic, I got kicked in the face about 10 times, swallowed a gallon of water and couldn't for the life of me swim in a straight line as I could never lift my head high enough out of the waves to see where I was supposed to go! At one point, after finally getting into some sort of rhythm I lifted my head to realise I was swimming in a 90degree error to everyone else! Complete fail. Anyway, coming out of the water, I made a quick transition and was soon on my bike :) the bike and run ran smoothly and I pulled up loads of places. However I had shorts on, and after the water and the size of my thighs led to extreme chaffing and to this day I still have scars on my legs from it!
In conclusion, it was a pretty fun experience, only wishing the run and cycle was a bit longer but to get triathlons with that the swim also gets longer which I don't think I can handle!
I then headed back to Durham the following week where I had decided, after support from my parents to do whatever made me happy. As it was my last year junior, I knew it would make me happy to win (obviously) so I was decided to give it a go...give up (and yes it feels like that) another year of my life to get what I've wanted and been training for all this time.