Authors note: As I sat down to write the first blog article since I moved to Colorado, I reviewed several topics I wanted to write about. For some reason sharing the awful heartache and disappointments I faced in 2016 seemed like where my gut was telling me to write about. After a conversation with my friend Kim, I was reminded that the Winter Solstice is today – the shortest day of the year, a time for closure and the opportunity for new beginnings. I wish you all well in the year ahead – you get one life, live it loudly!
I have been absent from the blogosphere since July. Partly because I’ve not had the time to write, but mostly because I haven’t had the heart to write. That sounds cliche and stupid coming from an endurance coach, I am sure, but I just didn’t feel like writing anything – or at least writing anything I wanted anyone to read.
I was sidelined most of 2016 due to health related issues and was not able to do any training other than pilates twice a week from October of ’15-March ’16. I had to overhaul my diet and ultimately shut down my body. I was slowly able to do some light cardio in March but it wasn’t until late spring I finally had some form of basic fitness. It wasn’t pretty but it was better than nothing.
Just as I was getting back into a groove, I got a phone call and my life changed forever. In the span of a few weeks, my marriage was over and I found myself out of my home. Sure, I made a choice to move on in my life and away from a husband and partner I’d shared nearly 8 years with but that didn’t mean I made the choice easily. I was losing a husband, my two step sons, my dog, a home, and a life I was comfortable with. Discomfort is a great catalyst for change.
So there I was; alone, unfit, and clueless about what I would do next, where would I go. There were so many questions. So much didn’t make sense to me. How had I gone from being a wife and step mom to whatever the hell I was now. I didn’t feel like an athlete because I was so unfit. I didn’t feel like a business owner because I could barely concentrate. I didn’t feel like a friend because I had no energy to spend on anyone or anything other than the crushing pain I felt everywhere in my body. I felt frozen in place while time continued to pass.
I have tried to find a way to describe the pain of my divorce and there hasn’t been one I have found other than this: when you get a paper cut it hurts instantly. The burning sensation paired with that crisp cut in your skin – it’s unmistakable. The next days you know the cut is still there. It aches. Your pulse throbs; annoying isn’t it? Then God forbid you get water or soap or LEMON JUICE – no thank you. It’s like that, only in your chest. And gut. And it lasts for months. And the worst part, there’s no bandaid, no pain relieving ointment. There’s no way to fix it except time.
Time in the world of an endurance athlete is everything. We gauge our performances in time. We think about our racing careers and how much TIME we have left. When we get injured or sick we think about all the time we are missing out of training. The clock does not stop and triathletes are keenly aware of this fact.
As a younger woman, time seemed so vast and seemingly endless. There was so much life to be lived. I never thought past what I was doing next weekend. I didn’t think I had to. Upon my divorce it was as if I woke up at 32 years old, not knowing who I was or where my life had gone. Hell yes I’m young and hopefully have many more years on this planet, but in the event I don’t, how am I going to make the choices that put me in the best place to succeed and enjoy every single drop of my life?
I’ve decided to embrace fear and do the things that scare the crap out of me anyway. When you feel you can’t get any lower there’s no place to go but up – but that doesn’t mean its not hard, or scary. What I challenge you to remember is that when your life DOESN’T have you on the ground, to push yourself to take some chances, risk the comfortable life, go out and do the thing that make you fearful. Forget the timeline. Forget your plans. They’ll most likely not happen the way you want anyway. Or you might get a phone call that changes your life…
We have one life. One chance to get every morsel of awesome out of our lives, our relationships, and in terms of sport – performance. So throw caution to the wind sometimes and see what happens. You might end up somewhere pretty awesome.