I'm on this path to rebuilding health, and the results I'm getting in that department are far more valuable than MAF Test results at this point in time. I know the MAF Test is also there to show if you're a "healthy athlete" but that also assumes one is consistently training at/around MAF heart rate in order to maintain or improve the MAF Test. I'm all over the board to be honest. So who knows: I could be faster if I went and did another test, or maybe not. But I just don't really feel that feedback is needed right now.
This is not to say MAF Tests are old news though! I can still give you 101 reasons why nine out of 10 endurance athletes--like those I coach, lol--should be doing regular MAF tests every 4-8 weeks. It's just, for me, my "MAF Journey," is taking a turn........
So, I will tell you where my heart IS at. Two big things that are bigger and more important than me:
A Resource on Health
The more I open up about my personal journey in a candid way--in particular regaining "female" health after once being a broken athlete--the more I am so thrilled to be doing what I am because it's clearly needed.
I am learning how many women--especially those who are endurance athletes--are also struggling with their health and simply not functioning as a woman should. At least a couple times a week, sometimes more, I receive new stories of health and/or performance tanking. Going slower and fatigue to begin then in gets worse: injury, amenorrhea, acne, hormone issues, hypothyroid, adrenal fatigue, weight issues, gut issues, insomnia, erratic moods, and so on. Usual culprits often include overtraining, over-racing, stress, under-eating, unhealthy relationships with food and exercise, body dysmorphia, straight-up eating disorders, etc. Often they are lost. There's plenty of great functional health practitioners out there who can help these women but (correct me if I'm wrong) there's not a lot of female endurance athletes who are bridging the gap between women in endurance sports and the functional health world. I want to be that person.
I need to be because countless female athletes are hurting their bodies and health at an astronomical rate. Some want help and deserve the right kind of help; some need to realize their symptoms and issues aren't "normal" and they're not alone. Some women will turn to western medical doctors but get zero answers--or worse shit-poor advice like, "It's ok not to get your period" or "just go on the pill." I'm sorry but, FUCK! This is BS, and I've been fed that story too--by a female doctor nonetheless. So often the health problems just continue, unaddressed, for 5.... 10.... 15+ years.
I am obviously not a doctor, nor here to dish out individual medical advice, but what I can do is just share my journey in detail and dish out tons of resources, and hope that provides inspiration to those silently suffering on how they can get help and take charge of their health naturally with a practitioner (or team of them) like I have. Be a detective. Don't be afraid! Don't accept BS answers from doctors who only give you 3 minutes before moving onto the next patient. If you feel like something is wrong and you're not getting answers you want--go with your intuition and seek the answers.
For example if you're a woman listen to this podcast now and by Sara's book too.
Let me change gears slightly...
Family Planning (ah!)
Another reason MAF Tests don't really matter to me right now is because of what I'm about to share.
This year I am getting married to the man of my dreams, and we have plans. We want to start a family! We're not starting tonight (lol) but it's coming. Which makes me sooooo grateful I switched things up in late 2013 to build back health because I've needed these past couple years to take the time to do it right.
It's incredibly important for a woman to be in a good state of health if she expects to get pregnant and build a healthy baby to completion.... I don't take this task for granted and I'm also not living in la-la land like I've had a perfect bill of health all my life. Two years ago my hormonal status was basically at rock bottom, and I know there would've been no baby-making happening had we bothered to try.
Meanwhile, I know plenty of women get pregnant all the time with sub-par health in some way shape or form. So please don't misunderstand, I'm not saying I need to be "superwoman" and obsess over a perfect body and perfect pregnancy. It's not like that at all. I'm just being real with the situation, and I know I have to get my body over some final hurdles to make a healthy pregnancy possible. Thus, I am taking the time to read books, study, and figure out how it applies to me. Do the right things for my body--like not overtrain in a way that could setback my hormones and things like thyroid. For a somewhat technical example of what I mean check out this podcast or this book.
So anyway, wow, right? Did you see that coming?
What's Next for TriTawn?
This story, this blog, this journey is taking new turns all the time as you can probably tell lately given the subject of my posts--not really the triathlon race reports of the old days, and I should probably do a redesign on this outdated blog or at least change that header photo (fact: I was amenorrheic when that photo was taken and definitely too skinny). But it's all good; it's all related and all important here on tritawn.com.
So what about training and racing? I can say with confidence I'm not quitting anything. I'm 30 and have plenty of years ahead. I am an athlete for life. After 20-plus years of being an athlete I don't think that's going to change. And it certainly won't change just because we start a family. Perhaps I'll have to revise the plan and my race schedule temporarily to make sure certain things happen, but I'm not worrying about a thing...
We got Ragnar SoCal and I got the Boston Marathon coming up--I will be there! I know I've talked a lot about ultra-ing too. This year? Maybe, maybe not. It's not off the table, but I'm also 100-million-percent willing to pull the plug on anything right now if my body gives me the signal that it's just too much. We're just taking it one day at a time. I'm monitoring myself well. We will see..........
I'm curious to see what my body is up for in 2016. The unknown doesn't scare me. I'm so ready for this crazy ride........