Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Allergic to the Peanut Gallery

I read something on the internet yesterday and it upset me.

(I know).

But seriously - I did.

Nothing political, just someone's opinion.

But it upset me.

Now, no one should give a flying fart that I was upset (not even you, Mom), no one should give a flying fart what the original words were that specifically upset me. I won't even repeat them (plus, I don't want to get sued for sharing intellectual property without permission). So, I'll simply share how it made me feel.

It made me feel that I, technically, suck at triathlon.

  • I have never podiumed.
  • I don't workout 24 hours a week (yet). In fact, my new plan only has me working at that intensity for a few weeks. I don't ever plan on working out 30+ hours a week. 
  • I am not "good" at swimming. In fact, today was such a slow swim I fully expected to start sinking at one point.
  • I am not "good" at biking. I just bought a tri-bike so I could be faster, and I'm much slower than I was on my road bike.
  • I am not "good" at running. 13:05/mi pace on my ten miles. That's twice as slow as people I actually know, not just professionals.
  • My coach and I broke up because I did not/could not put in the time he expected of me.

ALL those thoughts lived in my head last year. All season long and into the winter. Which is precisely why I decided to try for a different type of PR at the Asheville Half-Marathon: to enjoy and be thankful during a 13.1 mile run.

And I did just that.

My last two blog posts mentioned how happy I've been during my training - how GOOD it feels. FINALLY. I am thankful. I am pleased as punch to have a body that does the reasonable things I ask of it (it has yet to respond when I say, "run a 7:00/mi mile!"). I like swimming and biking and running. Even if I... "suck" at them.

But after I read something on the internet...

I could not shake it. Because my take-away was that it wasn't as noble of me to enjoy triathlon if I am not very good. My take-away was that there are probably people judging what I do (even though I do realize most people probably don't really care what Heather S. is doing at any given moment).


There it was again - the peanut gallery. Some parts real, some parts in my head - but there was the peanut gallery.

There I was, miserable. Angry. Hurt. Pissed.

I had a tempo bike ride this morning, 30 minutes normal pace, the last 20 minutes comfortably hard. Every pedal stroke, I scowled. Every breath out was a release of hot, angry air. Angry. Bitter.

Mostly, honestly - I was angry at myself for once again letting myself worry what other people think about me. After working so very hard to find my happy place again.

That anger would not shake. I scowled during my swim today. I am still scowling now.

But then the remarkable words from my husband... I'll try to paraphrase.

"Christ, Heather. Lots of people golf and they aren't very 'good' at it. They spend money on expensive clubs, they pay good money at different courses, tournament fees, club dues - and they are pretty lousy at golf. But they still really enjoy golfing because they just do.

"You know what determines how you evaluate your effort in triathlon? It isn't your times or Strava segments.  It isn't what a coach tells you. It isn't in the medals, it isn't even whether or not you made the finish line. It's you. YOU get to evaluate YOUR OWN efforts, and whether or not you are meeting YOUR goals. No one else gets to determine that for you."

So right. And so exactly what I had been doing until my derailment yesterday.

*I* get to evaluate my own effort. And what have I determined right now?

I am working out. I am checking off boxes on a training plan. I am trying to raise awareness for ALS and ALS research foundations. I am enjoying this journey. I am doing my best. I am balancing all of this with two busy children, a part-time job, and all things mom. I get to hang out with some pretty cool people. I am thankful for my body. I am thankful for it all.

I've been in a pretty delicate state of mind the last few months as I recover from depression. It's self-preservation, and I just can't deal with the peanut gallery right now (real or imagined).

Glad my husband, the human epi-pen, saved me this time around.