It suffices to say a lot has happened since then!
I'm going to try and condense it into one reasonable-length blogpost, so I might just skip and skim over things but with the intention to expand on them in further posts. So here we go!
The Race: Short Report!
Sure, maybe I was a little anxious about the race as anyone would be, but physically I could acutely feel that my body wasn't in a good place. I was inflamed, bloated and in pain after anything I ate, I had mental fog and a constant, omnipresent fatigue that had become my daily state, as well as my heart rate that would sky rocket the moment I engaged in any physical activity. That morning I remember sitting in fetal position in the kitchen holding my stomach in pain, and maybe for the first time in a conscious way I acknowledged that I just felt really out of shape and unhealthy. Uncomfortably and painfully so. I also felt constantly confused about what to eat as everything seemed to cause intense pain. I really wanted to represent an image of health and promote veganism and the lifestyle, but because of how I felt and (thought I) looked, I felt quite ashamed and down.
Excitement took over when we arrived at the event, and while I was waiting for my call to the start line (females went after all the men anyway so we had a while), I met some really awesome people from all over the world.
While we were waiting, heavy rain poured down, and we heard reports of land slides on the bike course and flooding of the run course.
The pros were already on the bike when I was called, and we lined the start with butterflies in our stomachs, eager to go! I just remember thinking how impossible it felt at that moment that I was going to do it, but that somehow I knew I would finish. And then we heard the announcement. Race cancelled.
Behind the scenes confession
"a raw Plant-Powered, inspiring-Ironman triathlete".
And as much as I wished this to be my identity, real life had other plans.
It's almost like the period of my last post provoked a new life phase for me - a challenging one, filled with uncertainties and re-evaluation. My nutrition has transformed quite a bit, as well as all other areas. I still have strong standards and values but with the framework of acting with integrity and mindfulness, I aim to be open to change with the seasons, the environment, my current state of health, ect, instead of acting purely within a limiting box called dogma...
Making reality fit dogma is never a good idea...
If anything, I am even more connected than when I limited my life lens to only see through vegan eyes, and where anything non-vegan was ultimately deemed unsuitable, wrong. I no longer see in black and white. I try and see in full spectrum colour and make the best choice taking into consideration the context and situation. Although at first it was very unstabilising, now it feels like it has grown into a life-enhancing liberty!
I learnt a lot from my strict vegan and 80/10/10 raw food days (i.e 8 years!), and although it ultimately culminated in a slurry of health issues and disordered thinking, it has given me a perspective, experience and insight I am deeply grateful for. Not least for the psychological insight into the human psyche and truly how powerful the mind is - I have been through stages of denial, vicious self-sabotage, various eating disorders in varying degrees, negative self-talk, and anxiety to name a few.... all guised under the pursuit of perfect health. And what I've found is that it was because of the gap between what was in my head and what reality really was. In my head, everything I was doing, my lifestyle, should have brought me to a state of amazing health and fitness, yet over the years my body deteriorated, became depleted (severe nutrient deficiencies) yet toxic (insulin-resistant, scary high levels of blood triglycerides along with many other unbalanced biomarkers) and unhealthy (high body fat percentage despite eating 100% fresh, raw fruit and vegetables, and many minor and major health issues). My wake-up call was being clinically diagnosed with Grave's disease - an autoimmune hyperthyroid condition. This forced me to change and completely re-evaluate my beliefs and lifestyle.
That's not to say I've found stable ground - I am still experimenting and open. I am also still dealing with the consequences of the health issues resulting from long-term raw veganism, and I am grateful everyday for my health and fitness improvements. But now, 2 years later I feel as though I am slowly able to put my feet on solid ground :=)
New Life Phase, New Country
Still, sometimes I still feel like I fail, day after day, for days on end. But then I look at where I have come from, and where I have been in the past and I can only see the huge (yet definitely non-linear!) progress - made up of many small, seemingly insignificant triumphs. Seeing the larger picture, for me, is often what I need to switch perspective to one of overwhelm, to one of gratitude. So I keep going with my head up and a huge smile, acknowledging that failure is PART of it - I'm not aiming for perfection, I am aiming for progress. I just have to stop myself from getting in my own way ;)
All I can do is choose to do the next best thing, moment by moment.
Full circle & Come Back race!? ;)
I participated in the Copenhagen Half marathon. No huge expectations - first priority was just to finish, as I hadn't run properly for so long, and in my 3 weeks of training for it, 6km was my longest run. I trained and raced with my heart rate though, which I feel is such a game changer for me.
Long story short, I took it easy and paced myself to fully enjoy the race and finished in 2:01 and never at one moment did I feel fatigued, or like I had to stop (unlike other half marathons where I had down moments). It was just pure fun and energy! I had amazing support from the crowd the whole way, the most awesome man sprint to find me through the 25'000 (!!!) other runners, and run with me until the end, and my wonderful mother who visited from Geneva to encourage me throughout. Certainly felt like a good comeback ;=)
Rounding up and starting off
I would like to use this blog as a platform for sharing, reflection and expression, and as a tool to clarify, develop and exchange thoughts, experiences, ideas and concepts. Especially around my interest topics of nutrition, fitness (lifting heavy shit, crossfit, triathlon, yoga, hiking, cycling....), mindfulness, eating disorders, autoimmune conditions, endocrinology and hormone optimisation, metabolic health, mental health, epigenetics (wow, check out all those topics ahah!), and PRACTICAL wisdom of optimising everyday life and living.
Most of all, I'd love to expand the focus to helping others in whatever way I can, and connecting with people :-)