It's a Long Way to the Top if You Wanna Rock'n'Roll: IM Choo and my 6th Cancerversary

Today is kind of a big deal.

  1. First of all, it's Martin Luther King, Jr. day.  
  2. Second of all, it's my 6th Cancerversary.
  3. And 3rd - it's IMCHOO 70.3 week 3.  See what I did there?

I haven't been around much because of my Now Year's Resolution to streamline, do less, and simplify my life. So I've been busy not being quite as busy, so I can just focus on training and trying to keep things organized and stress-free.

That means hanging around the house a lot.  (It also meant a road trip to beautiful Savannah, GA for our 7th Anniversary and New Year's.)

One of Savannah's beautiful squares
Some wonderful anniversary dining
All three of the things I posted above share a common theme: how much good can come from something terrible.   I'll focus more on the third thing.  You no doubt have heard a good amount of the first one, which is the most notable, and the second I've blogged about many a time.

Also, the 3rd thing relates to my training, and this is supposed to be a training blog, after all.

Dr. King's death brought additional awareness to race relations in the United States and the importance of equality and inspired a wave of Civil Rights activism that continues today.

My cancer diagnosis, while far from the solution to my many chronic health issues, did resolve a large number of them and brought perspective and closure to the most difficult time in my life.  It also brought me the strength to handle many of those recurrent health issues.

And IM Choo training . . .well . . .it is actually my stress fracture that is the "bad" from which "good" arises.

One of the reasons I've been away is that, while being treated for the femoral sfx, the ortho and my amazing PT discovered that the biggest part of my discomfort is a somewhat uncommon bone tumor called an osteod osteoma. It's benign, but they take years or decades to go away.

So that certainly appeared, at least initially, to throw a wrench in my training.

Then I discovered that I am having some minor liver issues which may lead to some other concerns in the future. The only real solution, I was told, is to lose weight down to a number so ridiculously low that I'd probably need surgery to attain it.  And that definitely threw a wrench in my attitude.  (Thank God that doc suggested I go by body fat% instead of "ideal weight" because of my high muscle mass.)

But a bizarre thing happened over the last 8-10 weeks. I tried really, really hard to focus on eating well (even more than usual). I kept up my PT, strength, stretching, and swimming (then cycling - and, next week, a little running.)

And I got stronger.  Despite the tumor and the injury, I found myself increasing my upper body weights over the last few weeks, almost as fast in the pool as I was without my kick (had to take the kick easy until recently since it's very hip-driven).  Then I found myself only having to decrease my watts in cycling class minimally, then the very next week, increasing them minimally.

I got injured, I discovered I had yet a few more bizarre health problems, and I still somehow became #betterthanme.

I've planned for YEARS to make my off-season a Strength Fest.  I wanted to do drills and lift weights like a beast and focus on my limiters.  But, every off-season, I get kind of lazy.  This off-season, the injury forced me to be lazy for a few weeks.  Being lazy for reasons out of my control pissed me off.  And you know what happens when I get pissed off.

I take action.

Like this morning. I went to the pool for a nice Cancerversary workout and the aqua fit class was taking over the pool. I had to change my entire workout, outfit, and plan for the day.  But it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n'roll.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm far from my old bike pace and I can't even run yet.  But this is the best start to base training that I've ever had.

So I thought again about the power of language, especially when faced with a frustrating situation.  The struggle is not real.  The snuggle is not even real.  Those expressions insinuate that life is a struggle.

It's not.  Life is a series of situations that repeatedly teach you to re-evaluate your ideas - especially of what's good and bad and how hard you're willing to work to be #betterthanyou.  But, at the end of the day, whether the result is what you did or didn't want, you hopefully learn that wherever you have landed is still light years from where you started.

In other words, it's a long way to the top if you wanna rock'n'roll.

And now you can listen to AC/DC sing it.  (You're welcome.)

Have a Holly Jolly Thanksbirthmas

Having a holiday season birthday, as I've mentioned, is one of my favorite things in life.  But it can also be really tough.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are, arguably, the largest holidays of the year, so it's easy to feel overshadowed and forgotten when people are so busy with their holiday hustle and bustle.
Nonetheless, I grew up loving it and never felt like I "deserved" my "own" day.
The past few years, I've been uncharacteristically aggravated with having a holiday birthday. One reason is that I had some people in my life who made me feel like I didn't deserve my own holiday. One of them even told me one year that I didn't get a birthday party in November because I celebrated my graduation from CSU in August. (I mean, seriously, people - joy and cheer are not your private possessions, nor are parties or feeling special.)

The other thing that made me feel sort of lonely and left out was this living between two cities I do. I drive 70 miles round trip just for work, and one of my best friends is now 60 miles one way from me.

So, I wasn't quite feelin' the spirit lately like I have for the last 30+ years of my life.
Luckily, four things happened that shook me out of this aggravation.

First of all, it occurred to me that there's nothing I can do to make people less assholey. I can't control what people say to me or how they think. And, while I'm currently working as hard as I can to be closer to my office, I can't snap my fingers and move my house closer to my friends or my job. All I can do is my best to improve both situations and, failing that, deal with my own insecurities that cause my reactions to other people's bullshit.
Second, the B was having a conversation with one of his BFFLs about the impending birth of their first child. I mentioned that the baby will be "one of my people" (meaning born around the same time and a proud member of Thanksbirthmas.)  B and his friend were cackling about how being worried about being born around the holidays - and subsequently forgotten or overlooked - is the ultimate in first world problems.  
Which it is.  I mean, now I'm the asshole, worrying about only getting one gift or only having one party. (Still not as bad as the assholes who think they get all the parties and no one else gets any. I stand by that.)
Third, I've been feeling physically very well this holiday season.  I don't know if it's the forced rest from the stress fracture, the increase in my thy meds, or that the things I'm allergic to are not as active in winter. Don't care. Will take it anyway.
Finally, this Thanksbirthmas, the people around me really made me feel special.  I've gotten to do some amazing things and be some amazing places with all my best friends.  I realized I have a big group of people that are pretty much stuck with me for life.  (I know I probably sound nutty and a little whiny, but if you ever had to life with me, I promise it would be a REALLY good time.)

In other words - I realized that the holidays and birthdays are not about parties or gifts or money spent. They're about things that matter, like being comfortable with yourself, feeling physically well and spending time with friends.

Now I'm back to working on my recovery-to-70.3-training plan.  Hope you have a Holly Jolly Thanksbirthmas, too.
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