Monday, January 30, 2017

Who Am I Anyway?

What do you call a triathlete who doesn't swim, bike, or run?


If you were hoping for a funny punchline, I apologize -- that's the best I've got right now. I promise I do mean it as a joke, though! The last thing I want is for this post to end up sounding whiny or obnoxious. I've been through a lot in the past year, and truly one thing that helps me cope is laughter. I'm trying not to take life -- or myself -- too seriously. And thus, I am the butt of my own joke.

So, I haven't been on a bike since Iron Girl, haven't run since....well, I'd say sometime in July, but there was this one time when I ran a little bit along with one of my kids during his cross country practice....yeah, that was a mistake. And I haven't darkened the doorway, much less the actual water, of my beloved pool since the summer.

To say I miss it all is an understatement. Not working out, not training for any races -- it feels like something is missing from my life! At the same time, my life is so FULL of other things that I don't have much time to dwell on what is absent.

I hardly even know how to describe my status right now. I guess I'm (officially? unofficially?) taking a break from triathlon and its elements, but it's a poorly defined break because it is not due to a single cause. I'm in the midst of a perfect storm of ridiculous life circumstances that make triathlon an unfeasible priority. Notice I didn't say "impossible" -- I'm sure with the right amount of sheer grit and determination, I could overcome my many obstacles in order to get back into training and racing. But that decision would come at a cost, and wouldn't be consistent with my current values.

Wait -- that makes it sound like I think training is morally wrong or something. That's not what I mean!! I'm talking more about how I prioritize my time. I know at times my health has suffered because I put myself last and didn't realize that taking care of myself is not selfish and in fact makes it easier to take care of everyone else. So right now I'm not talking about making myself the lowest priority again. I am trying to take care of myself, but given all of the circumstances of my life, the self-care is leaning more towards the mental/emotional/psychological/spiritual. There are a few physical aspects I'm working on too -- trying to go to bed earlier, keeping up adequate water intake, and working at recovering from past injuries.

The unfortunate irony is that working out actually helps with all the mental/emotional stuff, and I really do miss that aspect. But I have physical obstacles complicating matters, and not nearly enough hours in the day to do everything I need to be doing on a regular basis. I'm finally working again, but my commute is over an hour each way, and my volunteer responsibilities have recently increased. Since I returned to work, I've been struggling to manage my time better and I have not yet found my way.

My big picture plan right now it just to take it slow. I haven't given up on any of my fitness goals or dreams; I'm just looking at the road to achieving them as being very long. Like I mentioned above, I'm working on getting more sleep, and that is a huge underpinning for the rest of the physical stuff. When I'm exhausted all the time, I can't get anything done. And when I oversleep and start each day already running behind, not only is my productivity hindered, but my mental health suffers as well. So I'm focusing on very small goals right now and I won't move beyond them until I have them under control. The keys right now are sleep, rehabbing my formerly broken finger (which might ultimately need medical attention if I can't get it back to normal through stretches and exercises), continuing to fight the plantar fasciitis (which also might someday need medical attention for a proper diagnosis and then maybe something like physical therapy), and very gradually shifting my diet back to a little more healthy and a little less junky.

So that's where I'm at. I'm not sure if I am still entitled to call myself a triathlete, but in my mind I still am because I'm not done with this sport yet. I have a lot of race distances still to conquer, and "miles to go before I sleep." :)

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