Monday, September 26, 2016

Do the Do

Today Derek called to ask me about signing up for Cub Scout family camping. We knew we would not be camping overnight this year, but wanted to go for some of the activities. Unfortunately this is the same weekend that I am traveling for a friend's wedding, and my friend's birthday party. Oh, and I also need to swim, bike and run because of my upcoming race.

I think Derek was expecting me to reply something like, "sure - Saturday afternoon would be great and I can even stop by." Needless to say, when I burst into tears and lost my mind for a moment - he was a little shocked.

I am very excited about my friend's wedding, and I can't wait for my other friend's birthday party. I am happy my son has been enjoying Cub Scouts so far. While Derek tried to calm me down about not worrying about the camping, I blurted out, "It's not that! It's because I am wasting precious time training for a race I probably won't even finish."

There. I said it out loud. I said what most people are thinking.

I probably won't even finish this race. I'm in great shape for a 70.3 right now, but unfortunately I signed up for twice that distance.

I even unplugged from Strava for a while because I didn't want people dissecting my every workout and analyzing my speed and whatnot. Dissect this: I RUN A LOT SLOWER THAN PEOPLE WHO FINISH IRONMAN RACES. I DON'T SWIM AS OFTEN OR AS LONG AS I SHOULD. YES, I TOOK A REST DAY WHEN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN RUNNING A SPEED WORKOUT.

When I think about the likelihood of not finishing and answer my question, "so what?" the answer is of course a very logical, "that's alright, it's not how I make a living, I just want to start the race and do my best, and appreciate the gift of moving my body. I am trying to raise awareness for ALS, and that's why I race."

But then I think about the time I am missing with my family. Two kids who are struggling in different  and similar ways. I had a talk with my daughter's preschool teachers today because apparently she was miserable and cried often, was defiant (!), etc. I also spoke with my son's assistant principal about an incident that happened on the bus, and received an email from the principal and it all left a very bad taste in my mouth.

I said on my Facebook page that the correspondence went something like this, from an episode of 30 Rock:

Jack Donaghy (me): The ceiling is leaking.
Cooter Burger (other person): No, it's not. I can show you the study.
Ceiling (the situation): *drip* *drip*

I feel like I have abandoned my family. And yet the training I have been doing... is probably not enough for this race. So, whee - I suck at it all. At least I am good at something: sucking. /self-deprecation

In spite of all that ^^, I made a bit of a breakthrough with how my son's anxiety is wired and his meltdowns when he is frustrated. I remarked to "just do the do, and try not to get caught up in the worry." Working on redirecting on solving the problem and not getting side-tracked by the emotions. It seems to help when I am there to redirect, hopefully he can make a habit of this himself.

But here I am, unable to "do the do." Any of the "do's." Getting caught up in my own head and crawling into my little hole of never being enough... and feeling myself spiral down into that abyss of depression. I was glancing at pictures in my phone, and other than ones where I am smiling after a run because I was planning on posting it on social media, I am not smiling. Not a single one.

And I get - and appreciate - all of the good in my life, the wonderful people, and I hate that my mild depression appears as though I am unappreciative.

But, tomorrow is a new day, and we are all lucky when we get another tomorrow. A day to "do the do."

I am going to try.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Are You Afraid Of?

Two weeks ago, I attended the funeral mass for the mother of one of my best training friends. Her mother's death was very sudden and unexpected. I did not know her personally, but listening to the stories and reflections - and the strong, successful woman my friend is - I realized the potential we all have to make a lasting impact in this world. Even if you don't know someone, you can still have a positive influence in their life - but you'll probably never be aware of it. I do know I am incredibly thankful for my friend - and I cannot find the words to express my gratitude for her mother's influence on this world. I hope her family is healing from the pain of losing such a wonderful person, and finding comfort in the lasting memories of her love for them.


The truth is we are never guaranteed our next moment. No one is - not a single person. You have a choice - you can be afraid of that fact, or you can live this moment as fiercely as possible. With purpose, with confidence. And with gratitude.

At my last appointment with my therapist, I mentioned my hypochondria issues to him. How a cough is never just a cold - it's lung cancer. When my wrist hurt after 75 miles on the bike, it wasn't just being sore from a long bike ride - it was because I was developing some sort of permanent nerve damage. Ahh... life with anxiety. Then he asked me, "what are you afraid of?"

After a quick talk about the fear of death - something we can't avoid and something I honestly don't think about very often - I realized irrational fear was behind every single hesitation. Fear. I had been thinking of anxiety in terms of worrying, but I never really considered it "fear." For me - that's exactly what it is. Fear.

While I am not a great runner in triathlons (or running races), I am quite talented at running away from "things." That needs to change.

  • I am afraid of not being very good at something, and everyone calling me out on it.This is a tough one, because people do call you out. Most of the time it's behind your back, which makes it all the more difficult to swallow. But, no one is perfect. People are going to talk crap - everyone - and you have to make the decision to keep that person in your life or walk away.
  • I am afraid of being really sick and/or having cancer.Another tough one because I have had cancer, but it was treated both times and didn't require additional procedures. But the thing - if I think I am sick, just go to the doctor. Period. The end. If you get the worst news - live as much as you can for as long as you can. Just like you should be doing, regardless.
  • I am afraid my kids will get/actually are really sick. Or grow up and not be happy/successful/healthy.You take them to the doctor. You don't freak out. You keep on doing your best. And you let them be who they are going to be, because it's ultimately *their* journey. They'll figure it out, or they won't. Nurture and love.
What are you afraid of?
I've been answering that question a lot lately. And I keep answering it until that feeling in my stomach goes away. Sometimes I have to say a lot, but ultimately it always ends in:

*This* moment. I am doing my best in *this* moment.

And that's nothing to be afraid of.