We all deal with stress in our lives. Work stress. Family stress. Financial stress. The list can go on and on. I am certainly as prone to getting stressed out as the next guy.
Recently, my stress level has been as high as I can remember. You see, I am the operational lead on a massive project at work. This project could well be the biggest project I’ve worked on in my career. Once finished, it will impact the way several thousand folks do their job in a very tangible manner. As we say at work, it has huge “optics” on it. Lots of folks, both inside our organization and outside our organization have a very keen interest in the success of the project. Needless to say, the pressure is to get it done correctly. Complicating that fact is that we had a very short timeline to implement this transformational change…under six weeks.
And how have I dealt with the stress?
Like many folks, I have lots of coping mechanisms. For example, one way I deal with stress is that I work out. There’s nothing quite like a good hard swim, bike, or run to take your mind off things. I’ve often found that I go much harder in my workouts when I’ve got a lot of things on my mind. I tend to sprint harder, go longer, take shorter recovery breaks.
As often as not – and typically when my stress levels are at their highest – I tend to “shut down”. Sometimes I sort of want to check out mentally. My motivation to do things other than obsess on what is causing me to be stressed sinks to very low levels. I find it difficult to get out to do the workouts I know I need to do. Just the act of getting out on my bike or into the pool takes a real effort.
Where am I at this week? Well, I started the week with a bang – I had two really good workouts on Monday. A solid bike effort in the morning and a really great swim workout in the afternoon. Since then, my motivation level has been really low. For example, I had planned on cycling this morning. I even had the alarm set early enough to get in 35 miles or so before I had to start working. And then I woke up. Zero motivation. I laid in bed for ten minutes after the alarm, listening to Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas on the radio (by the way, that’s my wife’s choice of wake-up music, not mine). Once up, I migrated from the bedroom to my den, and assumed a very horizontal position on the sofa. I promptly fell asleep again.
So here I am four weeks away from my next race and about 60 days from my A race – feeling both undertrained and unmotivated to get trained. All because of the way I deal with stress.
I guess the good thing is that in two weeks I take a week of vacation in Puerto Rico. Maybe that will allow me to purge everything and get remotivated. Hopefully.