I have always loved sport because I was built for it. I was always tall and athletic and sport gave me a place in the world where people did not. It is a repetitive soothing motion that releases feel good endorphins and can sometimes be the difference between a complete failure of a day and a complete success of one.
Stimming or self-stimulating behaviour includes arm or hand-flapping, finger-flicking, rocking, jumping, spinning or twirling, head-banging and complex body movements. I use stimming to deal with stress and anxiety and to block out uncertainty.
I do not play sports for glory. I do it to prove that whilst I might be the weird kid or the awkward adult that does not like small talk or understand social cues, and fit in like everyone else. I am the one to look out for in a race. I am the underdog that when on form and focussed, will be the surprise exception to the rule. I like racing, not getting PBs. They are a bonus. I like racing and yes there is a difference. If someone has annoyed me I will book a race I know they are on just to try and prove a point...
I was never accepted in the playground clicks. I was however accepted when games were involved because I was fast and nimble and I understood sports. Sports are very logical. They have rules and structure and generally you get out of sports what you put in. Sport has been the only thing in my life that has never discriminated against me and the gym is one place I am comfortable without the need for headphones. If I forget them I don't stress, I just zone out and get on with what I need to get on with.
When I am stressed or having a bad day I go for a run or swim or even just a walk away from it all. I start my day and end my day with a cycle to work.
I compete in swimming and running and do the occasional triathlon. I am part of teams hence my gateway to socialising with like minded people and making some friends.
I was bullied throughout school but my lunch times and after school times were not a lonely affair for me because I used to go to every club. Hockey, trampolining, football, basketball, gymnastics, rounders, athletics, cross country and the occasional netball game.
I ran for my county, Cheshire and was looked up to by the younger years at school. I was made a girls Sports Captain in Year 11 and prefect.
At University I used to swim because I had a mental problem that stopped me from running. I could swim but not run. Swimming is my favourite sport. It is the one I am most natural at. I have a lot of confidence when I swim, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. If I could bottle how I feel when I swim and the effort and literal and metaphorical lengths I go to when I swim, I would be unstoppable. I can enter the pool with the weight of the world on my shoulders and leave a pool wondering why I was so stressed.
For many years I did not do sports due to life, work and relationships. I was undiagnosed autistic and also was suffering with a mental problem where I couldn't run without fear of dying. I had to have CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) to overcome that and I did.
I vowed to go back to my own running club which I did at 29. I made friends and trained and built it into my routine and I loved it. I had found a new focus, a new purpose and I enjoyed seeing the results of my hard work.
Sport has saved my life on more than one occasion. It gives me a reason to wake up every day and keep trying. My goals are both short and long term. The problem with sport is I am obsessed with it. It forms a massive part of my routine and grounding and my relationship can suffer because once I get something in my head I have to do it, achieve it and anyone who doesn't support me or gets in the way gets dropped. Simple as. I have my goals and that is it. If I believe I can achieve something (which self belief is something I do not have much of) I do not stop until it is achieved.
Friendships can suffer because my time becomes focussed on training, eating right and goals. I sleep better. I am more focussed in other areas of my life. When my training goes well other aspects of my life follow suit because my confidence and happiness grows with my training.
I have lost 2.5 stone since I made exercise a part of my life. I love weight training and seeing the change in my body. The concepts of training and the human body are logical and it is easy for me to be absorbed in different concepts and articles.
I factor in rest days and have friends that remind me to listen to my body. I do not have the Strava app on my phone because it is too easy for me to compare myself to others and get lost in other people's goals rather than focus on my own. It is therefore not healthy for me to have strava. Strava stalkers are the worst. I keep the majority of my training private because there are too many opinions and with sport you just have to do what is right for you and trust it works and if it doesn't there are many other strategies you can then try.
I know for me personally running everyday is not the right thing for me or my body, nor is training everyday. Recovery is just as important as training it's where your brain and body recharge and you can refocus and look at what went well and what could be improved. Diet is also just as important.
There is a lot you can control with sport. The training you do, the food you eat, the time you train, how much you train, how to train, what to train for, what goal to set. It is endless and I love it. I have learnt however, to swap my training around when the body needs it. If I am feeling a bit delicate I will maybe allow for an extra day to run depending on what it is that is bothering me or opt for an easier session instead of a tough one and do the tough one when I am feeling more energised.
This year the aim is to just get back fit again. Lose some timber I put on during lockdown 3, hopefully do some XC Races and some Masters swimming races if I can find a club to join and get my times down. The real focus is for spring and summer next year. I have some big goals I am aiming for and am currently working hard to achieve them.
Sport proves to me I can achieve anything I put my mind to. Fit in. I have gained a lot of respect from people through sport. Respect I do not get elsewhere. It helps me to engage with people, especially people who like sport whether to watch or play it. I have made many fantastic friends through sports I wouldn't otherwise have.
It keeps me sane, grounded and healthy (when I don't become obsessed)
My schedule at the minute is
- Swim 5 x per week
- Run 3 x per week (increasing to 4 every other week)
- Cycle 5 x per week (increasing to 6)
-Strength 3 x per week
- 2 x rest days (foam roll on these days) try to stretch every night.