I have to start this post off by telling you how incredibly frustrated I am. If you've come here today to find some inspiration and positivity, I can't say that I have the answers for you. Today is just rough.
I'll get to why soon enough, though. First, a little Flashback.
Eight years ago, I started running races. I've been running off and on since 1995, and working out pretty regularly for the most part since 1998 (talk about going way back in The Wayback Machine!) But, prior to eight years ago, I'd never run a race.
It all started because a friend was doing Ironman and she inspired me to try a 5k. And another friend said, "I'll do that 5k with you." I loved it. I got sucked in. I decided to do my first tri. Eight years later, I'd done 6 marathons, 12 or so half marathons, many triathlons of different distances up to 70.3, some bike races, some swimming events, and more running races in the 5k-10k range than I can even remember.
In the midst of this, I felt horrible nearly every single day and, to add insult to injury, many people did not even believe I was sick. I was finally diagnosed with thyroid cancer, heart arrhythmias, asthma, hypoglycemia, and inner ear problems.
But training became my "new normal." It gave me a reason to get out of bed every day. I like to say it saved my life.
A few months ago, that terrible roller coaster started again. Thankfully, not all of the problems I once experienced still plague me, but my vertigo, ear problems, headaches, and intolerable fatigue are back, with no idea of where to begin treatment. This week, my MRI results came back normal. Last week, my hearing/balance tests came back the most normal than they've been in 10 years. This is great news, except that I am still plagued by these horrible dizzy spells, ringing in my ears, ears not popping, headaches, and horrible fatigue.
Believe me when I tell you, from years of living with undiagnosed thyroid cancer, heart arrhythmias, asthma, hypoglycemia, and inner ear problems, I know the difference between everyone gets tired tired and something's wrong tired.
At first I blamed it on things in my control. I just need a break. It's the off season. I'm not motivated. And then there have been days I haven't been able to drag myself out of bed. I can usually rally for some kind of a workout, even at an early hour, even during my worst. And these days, that is just not doable. I'm sluggish. I've lost most of my bike speed. Some of my endurance. I'm at a run plateau. I haven't been to lift weights in about a month. I've gained a few pounds - not a consequential number, but enough that my clothes don't feel good all the time and I feel pot-bellied. I realized this was something's wrong tired. And that's when the unhelpful tests started all over again, just like they did 10 years ago.
I like to think that everything is in my control. But the truth is, sometimes it's not. I feel like I'm going to have to start all over again right in the middle of the best training and racing years of my life. Nationals again any time soon? Out the window. 20+ mph bike averages? Psssh, in another 3 years maybe. Meeting that 25-minute 5k threshold? Ha, ha, HA! I'm trying to do my best, but it just doesn't seem good enough. I'm lucky to get 2-3 workouts a week; a little swim, a little run, and my weekly 50-60 mile training ride for Tour de Cure.
I haven't even done any real fundraising for TDC this year.
Aside from feeling shitty, I work pretty much nonstop, then there's school, family, and terminally ill kitty. But the goal is to train enough on the days when I feel ok, that I don't lose much by stepping back on the really bad days. I can usually do that. But I don't feel like that's happening.
And I'm just. plain. frustrated.
Not training is becoming my "new normal."
I don't like it.
I am one of those people who abhors excuses. I like to be able to just stand up, fight it off with attitude, and push through it. But there's a place where you can say you're "pushing through it" (like when you feel really fatigued and sort of woozy but you hit the gym anyway) and when you just need to give yourself a break (when running on the treadmill through a splitting headache might turn into a vertigo attack, or when you decide not to ride 50 miles with a urinary tract infection.) Training usually makes me feel better, but lately even training isn't helping me much, and unfortunately it means I'm training less.
I was watching the Netflix series House of Cards the other night and one of the characters quoted Winston Churchill. He said, to improve is to change. To be perfect is to change often.
But changes are scary. And sometimes they're really big. And sometimes the biggest, scariest ones aren't the ones that are thrust upon us, but the ones we have to make ourselves. That's why some people just get stuck in a loop and never take that big step if they don't get forced or pushed to do it. Being the one responsible for the change is terrifying. So that becomes I'll exercise tomorrow. I'll work on my self-esteem tomorrow.
It appears that I'm at something of a standstill. Now, like so many years ago, a change needs to be made.
The question is not whether I'm up for it, but where to start.