Author Topic: Mini Meltdown  (Read 695 times)

Mini Meltdown
« on: August 23, 2019, 04:54:37 am »
Apologies in advance for using this as a sort of 'brain dumping ground', but it feels appropriate to vent a little to people who might understand. Perhaps skip this post if you're not tolerant of a bit of wallowing...

It has been a pretty crap 2019. Everything started well, with a place booked on TCR No7 and a series of goals to tick off to deliver me to the start in some level of preparedness. The wheels started to come off in April when I crashed heavily during a solo bash at the Bryan Chapman route. I was fortunate, given the nature of the crash, to come away with a separated shoulder, whiplash, broken teeth and cuts and bruises, but my confidence (particularly descending) took a nosedive.

Training was dented, but not de-railed, until early June, when my Dad passed away after suffering a heart attack completely out of the blue. He was only 60, had been a formidable fell runner in his day and was still fit and very active. Devastating doesn't really cover it to be honest. Without going into the nitty gritty, my Dad is the sole reason I turned out OK after a rocky childhood. Anything good in me is a result of his unwaveringly solid guidance and refusal to allow me to drift too far off the right path. It chokes me up to think what a massive loss it is to my boy, who absolutely adored his Grandad and vice versa. Perhaps its fortunate that he's so young (4) and probably wont ever really feel the full impact.

After the funeral, I actually went so far as to email my withdrawal from TCR, but then changed my mind 2 days later, despite having completely abandoned the training which I'd hoped would see me peak in early July. Focusing on planning and salvaging what training I could gave me an easy way out of grieving, although this probably wasn't healthy in hindsight. Unfortunately, my partner then became ill, meaning that I had to abandon my new 'salvage job' training plans so I could look after our son and support her. To my shame, I did this through a cloud of resentment which was of course spectacularly unfair, but also added to my mounting levels of stress.

The weekend before TCR, we had a family gathering to mark what would've been my Dad's 61st birthday. It was a really great evening, with a bonfire and BBQ in his (and my Stepmum's) garden in Lancashire. I'd also planned to  ride the Fleet Moss 200 with my Dad's best friend, Andy, the day after. They'd ridden the calendar event together in the early 90's on bikes scrounged and cobbled together. Neither were really cyclists at the time, but got round due to their fell running fitness. Andy and I had a fantastic ride, in spite of filthy weather and I was re-assured that my fitness hadn't totally waned. Unfortunately, I woke up the morning after (Sunday) with what turned  out to be a bout of tonsillitis, which I'm prone to if I'm run down or under stress. With my flight to Burgas booked for Thursday, I couldn't really rest up due to the need to pack and take care of last minute faffing. I was hoping it might be the viral form of tonsillitis which tends to leave me alone after a week or so.

On the Wednesday, I decided I'd fly out in spite of still feeling crap with gunky tonsils and hope for the best. I met some TCR riders at the airport on the Thursday and the general excitement made me hope that I might be getting a bit better. Rebuilding the bike outside Burgas Airport, I convinced myself that I'd wake up on Friday, ready for rider briefing and registration feeling much better. It probably didn't help that my hotel had ballsed up and didn't have my reservation, meaning I 'slept' in their basement, and on Friday morning, my throat was worse than ever, with a massive angry bulge on the right side which threatened to close my airway when I inhaled. I toyed with the idea of trying to get to a doctor and maybe delaying my start by a couple of days, but that was the point where I mentally caved in. I booked a flight home that evening and emailed the organisers of my intention to DNS. I spent a good 12 hours in the airport fighting back tears.

I arrived home to an empty house. My better half was at a wedding in Newcastle and our son was staying with her parents. I was overwhelmed with shame, regret and suppressed grief. On top of this, every time I tried to escape into sleep, my throat would completely close up, waking me up gasping for breath. I took myself to the out of hours surgery where they diagnosed a Peritonsillar Abscess and packed me off to the ENT specialist who lanced it with a F off big needle and gave me antibiotics.

Despite it being pretty obvious that there was no way I could've ridden, I couldn't escape feeling ashamed at my failure to even try to start. I was overtaken by a pretty severe bout of depression, not eased by watching the race and all its inspiring stories unfold. In truth, this has only begun to lift in the last week and I've been able to get close to something resembling normality and gain some perspective on the whole thing. I'm hoping to salvage something out of this season by riding a 400 in late September, which will complete my SR series, but I certainly wont get on my own case if this doesn't work out; I've learned that sometimes you've just got to roll with punches and accept what comes your way. There are more important things than riding bikes.

Apologies again for splurging, but it does help a bit to get it off my chest.

Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2019, 07:28:44 am »
Do not worry about splurging. One of the amazing things about this forum is the niceness of people and lack of idiots.

You have had an awful year and I can feel how much you loved and admired your Dad. I think he would have been very proud of you.

Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2019, 08:05:54 am »
Kev - your dad died. That alone is enough to knock you down, particularly coming out of the blue.

It took me years to recover any form of equilibrium after my father passed away.

The other things you've gone through are just further burdens. Give yourself a break, don't beat yourself up for not achieving goals for a while.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

barakta

  • Bastard lovechild of Yomiko Readman and Johnny 5
Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2019, 10:49:38 am »
I'm sorry to hear you've had such a rough year Kev. I think we often underestimate the impact of bereavement.

The feelings you describe as you had to DNS sound entirely reasonable, the main thing being that I think men especially are socialised not to admit to having or expressing them.

I hope things continue to improve for you, mentally and physically and that you can splurge here or get other help if/when/as needed.

T42

  • Tea tank
Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2019, 02:36:33 pm »
And I thought that I'd had a shitty year.  The only suggestion I can make is to concentrate on getting healthy again and don't let it bollocks up the rest of the year.
I've dusted all those old bottles and set them up straight.

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2019, 03:54:45 pm »
It's been VERY rough.
You have braved as much (and more) than was wise.

It's very easy to 'escape' into an Audax bubble. Sometimes this form of denial is helpful but, like a stiff drink, it doesn't solve anything.

Condolences.

You've had a tough time.

Wishing you health and strength.

ElyDave

  • Royal and Ancient Polar Bear Society member 263583
Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2019, 11:33:13 pm »
Kev, I don't know if I'd have managed to deal with that load any better than you have.  We don't see each other that often, but i can't  imagine losing my dad.

A DNS under the circumstances is nothing to bother about and I can only hope you bounce back

“Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.” –Charles Dickens

Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2019, 02:09:01 am »
Thanks everyone, your kind words are much appreciated.  :)

Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2019, 07:30:51 am »
What they said. That's a shit year for anyone. Take care of yourself.

Sent from my LG-H850 using Tapatalk


Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2019, 11:15:35 am »
Hell's teeth, Kev. That's rough.

Whilst I can't comprehend what you've been through, I can draw a few small paralells and the things I have learned.

I am on an enforced break from riding at the moment due to ongoing chronic muscle maladies that are trying to pull my knee apart. I've had breaks like this before and it's same each time - a week or so of rudderless depression and despair, followed by acceptance and the focus to 'get better'. Cycling is 'my thing', to freinds and colleagues I am 'the guy who does silly long bike rides' (I don't, compared to you lot!). So when you are forced to stop doing it, not only are you adjusting to not doing that thing you enjoy, you are being stripped of your very identity.

TCR was something you had been planning for well over a year. When i'm riding towards a goal, it feels like every pedal stroke of every training ride is meangingful progress towards that end goal. When it's passed, or denied, you are just left with a gaping void. That would be hard enough to swallow in normal circumstances. You shouldn't feel any shame in coming apart at the edges a bit considering what else is going on in your life.

"There are more important things than riding bikes." 100% correct. But it is jolly fun.

Take a break. Regroup. Fall in love with cycling again for it's beautiful simplicity and the theraputic benefits it offers. Speaking for myself, I'd probably even bin off the idea of an SR/400, but if you want that intermediate target to swing for, go for it.

We rode together a bit on a 200 earlier this year wher eyou told me about your TCR prep. Hopefully I'll see you on another one and reciprocate on the pint you bought me at arrivee.

Good luck mate.

Re: Mini Meltdown
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2019, 09:06:20 pm »
Hi Peat, apologies for not replying to your kind post sooner. I'm sorry to hear of your knee problems; sincerely hope things have picked up a bit since your post? Was the 200 we met on the one that started at Gary Harris cycles and finished at the pub? A good ride that one! Hopefully we'll cross paths again before too long.

I've decided to go for the SR ride. I've entered the Trafalgar Way 500 on the 28th of the month. I'm not at my fittest, but hopefully I'll wobble round ok!