May 12th Updates! 70.3 Gulf Coast and MINDSET!
Since dealing with Lyme, fighting my way back to racing professionally, it’s been difficult at times (actually A LOT of the time), to stay positive. I have posted, and shared how the last two months have been very difficult for me mentally. I’ve relied on the support of friends, team iracelikeagirl members, family, and the crew at Red Bull - who have taking me under their wing!, with their health and wellness project thru the Red Bull high performance program. It takes patience with the medications, and time to get the bacterial load in my system down ,so my immune system can take over, rather than them (the bacteria) taking over me! I also work with Craig Manning - an amazing sports psychologist. And of course ,my boyfriend Tim (also my coach), who has been my rock thru this entire process.
[NOTE: Treating lyme and the journey of gaining your health back is a humbling experience. It’s a bacteria infection from ticks, that literally takes your body, and mind from under you. I’m treating it with everything I can (I’ve done my fair share of research!). I treated it last year - but unfortunately I wasn’t aware that I had to be on antibiotics for a much longer period than I was. My symptoms came back early Spring. Symptoms (anxiety, depression, headaches, flu like symptoms, weak body and legs, and neuropathies that literal had me almost bed bound again), occur because a short course of antibiotics does not kill all the bacteria, especially persister bacteria. You can compare it to using a lawn mower to get rid of dandelions. The antibiotics knock out the growing form of the spirochete , but not the “persister” forms like the root. Later, just like the weed, the bacteria will grow back, and cause relapse (this analogy was taken from a book I read). I wasn’t aware of this last year.. *For those interested in my current regimen, I have outlined it below (updated for May 2019).]
It’s with these people and support, and some pulling and prodding on Tim’s part, I jumped into my first race of the season. Truth be told, I was 100% NOT wanting to race. I fought the idea, and didn’t book a ticket or hotel room, until 4 days prior. Even when I landed in Florida two days prior to the race, I was texting Tim, “This is just dumb. I feel this race is a mistake. I’m not ready to test things. I know it’s going to just be a big blow to myself.” (Add to this, I was also premenstrual - any women (maybe some men!), know how hard it is mentally to be positive during those fun days before your period!). This mindset continued: “It’s silly I want my hand held. I get that. I’ll figure it out. /: I don’t have a basis to what to expect, so I feel overwhelmed with where I’m at physically, and mentally. Confidence comes with belief. And I don’t have belief in my body. But I guess part of that is I want to do well, and I really have no idea what that means, and what I can do right now. I say I just want to finish, but I want to be racing to my potential! Perhaps to finish is my potential right now, but then my ego, and understanding of what I know I’m capable of when healthy, $%*)s me up. // I just need to accept where I’m at, and take it in. I can’t rely on anyone, nor assume anything. It comes down to just seeing what I have on race day. Mentally, THAT I know I can control. Whatever the body does I need to accept that, and keep strong in my head. I want to race, and have the ability to back that statement up! I can’t do that when I only have 60-70% of my body back!”
Oomph! My mental side WAS A MESS! We talked some before I headed to bed that night, but my head was all over the map.
The day before the race, I woke up, reflected on the above texts, and my mind. I was able to shift this negative thought pattern.
What helped? What made the change?
1) A good night sleep, ha!
2) Thinking on gratitude, and self belief.
and 3) JUST GO HAVE FUN attitude. - that was Tim’s last text to me, and it was enough to shift me in the right direction, and start thinking on this question:
I asked myself: Why am I here? I’m here to see where I’m at. I’m here to step back into the ring, and fight! I’m here to take a chance, and focus on having an experience that reveals who I am. If I stumble, need to walk, and cry, I’l do just that. I’ll go into the race with enthusiasm, and love for this sport. If I fail, I did because I gave it what I could. I’m here simply, because this is what I do. This is my career, and it’s time to see where I’m at. I’m getting my health back and it’s the relentless pursuit of sport I love. Time to start this dance.
The mind-shifted. Sometimes, you need a little push from someone who knows you the best.
Race day came. I woke up excited. I haven’t felt those pre-race jitters since November and welcomed them. I reminded myself of my little pep talk I had with myself the day before. I was ready to see what I had.
I raced! I had fun! I finished! And…it was ugly. I met some amazing people and had people cheering for me - who doesn’t love that?! I pushed thru some pain, weak legs and muscles. I pushed thru with a body functioning at below par and a few cylinders not working. ;) And that, that I’m proud of. It’s one BIG step in the right direction. Albeit, physically I was in NO WAY ready to race, mentally, it was EXACTLY what I needed. Racing my way back to health - currently I’m in a way better spot than last year at this time and the body is responding faster. I did surprise myself a little. :) And I did have a few tears at the finish. Mission accomplished.
// And so, I want to bring this blog back to the real issue and subject at hand: MINDSET.
We all can falter in this area. And it can make, or break you. It’s a delicate calibration to find, and it’s definitely not easy to figure out, when things are not going your way. It takes work.
A good mental mindset however, starts with SELF BELIEF. Self belief is the core of who you are. You have to believe in yourself first. If you don’t, that’s when everything falls apart. Lyme disease [it really should be called an infection!] is coming at me. It’s NOT me. It’s an environmental, external factor that well, is living inside me! It’s a challenge that has come toward me, and beats me down. It’s part of my physical existence, but, it’s not me! (Makes me think of the “it’s not you, it’s me” saying to lose a guy).
And so it’s this mindset - that it’s NOT ME, that calibrates the real me, to believe in myself. This creates the energy to fight this infection.
Many fall into the trap of letting an injury/illness/relationship/race outcome define them. It’s not who are. It’s something that is happening outside of you, or to your body. The key is how to navigate that.
Be strong at your core. That’s what this past weekend helped reignite inside me. Over the past weekend, these thoughts stood out:
If you’re not willing to fail, you won’t win. I jumped into the first race of my season, definitely not even close to ready. I had trouble mentally being ok with doing it. My coach suggested it was something I needed. We needed to know where I was at - as we have been just trying to do what I can with training while getting the bacteria load down. So, I went. I raced. I finished. It was humbling, my ego was a bit hit, but it was something I desperately needed. My fire was lit. The fun of racing shined through.
Vulnerability is showing up and be seen, when you can’t control the outcome. I knew I wasn’t going to do anything spectacular come this past weekend at my first 70.3 back. But to be real, to show up! It was a huge step in the right direction for me.
With a pause, we can’t appreciate movement. Gaining my body and mind back with treatment is literally a gift. I appreciate my life and body more than I ever thought possible.
Always a minor setback for a major comeback. Enough said!
Fighting is a mindset, Life is an outcome, Healing is a choice. I heard this on a podcast I listened to a few weeks ago. Healing is a choice and you need the fighting mindset to have the life you want. So many can fall victim to and let a disease or illness or injury define them.
I get a number of emails and messages on social - words from strangers, friends and supporters, that have helped me thru some tough moments. The team, iracelikeagirl is yet another amazing group of ladies who I feel have truly embodied what it means to be a team. I am so grateful for them!
I want to share a few words from two special people. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support in the triathlon community. It’s amazing what people can do, when they empower one another! I hope that my fight for life, for this sport will help ignite your own fire and ability to KEEP MOVING FORWARD.
Maggie: (written to me after my post/story of my first race back): Thank you for reminding me that, as hard and humbling as it is to know your body will not perform at where it has in the past, running the race really is about something bigger. It is about showing yourself, Lyme disease, and all the other stuff that life can throw at you that it can not crush your spirit. Your race today- not just finishing, but being brave enough to put yourself out there and toe the start line- is something to be so proud of. Well done! I admire you so much for all you do, incredible lady!
From Jackie (written to me in an email before my race):
I understand, when when you say, it is hard to do what you say. It is easy for us to "say the right things" to our athletes, and tell them to believe in themselves, be strong, you can do this, but when it comes to our own selves, we don't do the same. It is hard going from being strong and having so much belief in yourself and being so positive, to almost the complete opposite.
[The team IRACELIKEAGIRL does a ZWIFT ride every Wednesday at 6am EST! - I put out the challenge of finding a mantra for racing/training] Mine used to be, "Keep moving forward at all costs. Don't look back. Don't look ahead. Just go." Right now, for 70.3 Choo, is simply, "You vs You." It is the old me vs the new me. It is just me against me, meaning, right now I can only do what I can do. I can only compete against me, doing the best I can do RIGHT NOW, not what I used to be able to do, and to simply..finish the damn thing w a smile on my face.
I know for you, it is a whole different ballgame, being that THIS is your job, your source of income, of survival. However, for now, go out there tomorrow and be Angela. Be the happy, smiley, giggly version of yourself whom everyone loves. Race because you love racing, not to win. Race to prove them wrong. Race to enjoy that you are ABLE to race. Race because you get to do this, not because you have to do this. Race for the love of the sport and why you started it in the first place.
We need to find our roots again...go back to the early days, when it was just for fun. Do that...and you will be a winner. Take the stress off and who knows what will happen or transpire this season. Remember, regardless of what happens tomorrow, you are building an amazing brand and you are a role model for women of all shapes, sizes and abilities. Go be you tomorrow!
Some Quick Notes About Lyme Disease
Lyme Disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete, a spiral-shaped bacteria that digs its way into your tissue like a corkscrew.
If treated early enough, three to four weeks of antibiotics will cure Lyme Disease. If caught later, treatment is much longer to eradicate the bacterial growth.
Lyme Disease doesn’t manifest itself physically (with the exception of a rash at onset). To others, doctors included, someone with Lyme can appear perfectly healthy. Thousands of people suffer for years without a diagnosis.
Blood tests for Lyme Disease are only 50-60% accurate. This makes diagnosis difficult, and many go undiagnosed because of it.
Doctors who treat longer-term infections are scarce, which makes it a very expensive process. Insurance companies don’t cover most, if any, of the treatment. Lyme treatment is often paid for out of pocket.
Current Regimen as of May 2019:
Cefuroxime 500 mg 1 pill 2 times a day. every other week.
Doxycycline 100 mg 2 pill 2 times a day
Nystatin 500,000 2 pills 2 times a day
Bactrim DS 1 pill 2 times a day
Plaquenil 1 pill 2 times a day
LDN 3.0mg daily
VID CBD Oil - for everything! 50mg 2x day (www.vid-cbd.com) - (use Code: AN0519 for 20% and free shipping)
Supplements (Thorne.com for most - use code Angela15 for 15%)
DETOX2 supplements (bentonite clay)
Grapefruit seed extract
oil of oregano
Viral killing and immune building Herbs.
Things I do weekly: