It inevitably begins as I am reading through everyone's amazing and inspiring posts about how many miles they put in this week, or how many minutes they PR'd, or how many great epiphanies they had on their swim/bike/run. I am struck with this incredible Workout Blog Envy and I think, that was me not so long ago, and I will return to that! Just wait!
It's not that I don't put in miles or PR or have workout or race day epiphanies (a lot more than my blog would lead you to believe, especially the last year or two.) It's just that I am at a point in my life where I've realized a couple things.
Numero Uno: The -Itis
An old tri-blogger friend used to say to me, "that sounds like life to me." I don't listen to country at all, but I think it came from a country song. The gist of it is, we all have our own shit to deal with. While I totally agree with that general concept, the reality is that some shit is worse than other shit.
Case in point: since the last time we talked, when I was all happy about my new migraine treatments, I had a really bad set of migraine attacks - the first I've had since my new preventative medication. Since I currently only have to take one regular medication a day (and I need that to survive), I was totally okay with adding the Topamax to my routine to prevent the migraines, and then when this one hit me, I was totally pissed. (I hate having to be on pills if I can help it -see numero dos).
But then I found out I had one of my infamous, biannual sinus infections, which was beginning to creep into my ears and set off the headaches, and I felt a whole lot better. Sinusitis comes and goes; I can deal with that. Another round of docs, tests and meds, not so much.
So, as crazy as it sounds, I am totally grateful for the -itis. It's simple, it's common, and it's not chronic. Being without a thyroid, having a headache and not being able to hear because of tinnitus and dizzy spells most days of your life - those kinds of things are not just "regular life shit" but a little ol' sinus infection sho' is.
Numero Dos: Less is More
I used to share a lot. Not just with you, but with my friends in real life and those I'd met online. I learned many lessons from this. Among them: only one or two people need to know a few things about you, and we all need our secrets. Don't get me wrong, I know that people will judge and make their own opinions of you regardless of what you do. But (to give an example I've shared before) I am a generally peppy, bouncy, happy, person and oversharing every concern or philosophical thought I had through word and text - or trying to decide what to share and sharing the wrong thing with the wrong person - made it easy for people to not know me for who I really was and instead peg me as whiny, negative, or even as a "party girl." So now I share in moderation.
But less isn't just more when it comes to sharing. The truth is, less is more for me when it comes to training right now, too. Last year I sat down and prioritized everything in my life and agreed with myself that I would be realistic. I agreed that there is no shame in admitting that there are going to be things I can and can't do. I work a 40+ hour-per-week job, I have a really rigorous school schedule, I am chronically ill, I have pets (one of whom is special needs), parents with special circumstances, and many relationships I find it worth nurturing. And I feel really proud of myself that I have learned exactly when to push when I need to push and stop when I need to stop, even if that's less than it used to be.
The point is, when there is so much going on, I have found a lot of comfort and ease in simplifying. I do the races and workouts that keep me moving and active and require the least amount of stress if several are missed because of obligation or illness. I am more realistic about my goals. I know I'm not headed off to Ironman up the country, PR every race, or podium the town. I know that right now the most important part is to keep racing in my life because it keeps me training and seeing people I love, and those things keep me feeling healthy.
Numero Tres: Selling Out
I had a conversation with a girlfriend over a glass of wine a few weeks ago. We were talking about how many hours a week I worked during my post-baccalaureate years. I explained to her how I was trying to prepare for a PhD program and how I was working about 60 hours a week, much of it for free. I wanted to know what workload I'd face, and I wanted to better my chances of getting accepted. It was extremely hard, and I absolutely loved what I did, but in the end it did not help me get into my PhD program and it did not help me pay the bills. In fact, those were some of the poorest years of my adult life, and I felt like this part of my life was about looking towards finding the balance between happiness and financial security. Her half-jesting reply, which made me chuckle, was, "I get it! I sold out years ago!"
In all seriousness, though, this goes back to numero dos . . . I don't need to have limousines or $10,000 tri bikes (or even $5,000 tri bikes) to find happiness. But, while we all know nothing is predictable, this part of my life is more about working toward the general idea that perpetual struggle is something I'd prefer to avoid. There should be a good balance between getting by and enjoying doing something rather challenging. If that's selling out, then consider me sold.
Numero Cuatro: What It's All About
So all of these things come back to my original statement. As I read through all the training blogs, and maybe feel a little sad that I'm not writing about the same things, or putting in the same distances or PR's this week, or missing seeing a few people because I don't want to give them the -itis, I also know (between nose wipes), that I'm right where I need to be. That this blog will always be about whatever it needs to be about. Upon a time, that was more about training; then writing; then life; then training; then writing; then life. I guess you could say I've sold out; I'm no longer convinced that I'm a hard-core tri-blogger. And, since less is more - meaning, I don't want any one aspect of my life to take over any other - I won't be here every single day, or sometimes every single week. And I'm ok with that. Cause right now, this is what it's all about. And that is exactly what it is supposed to be.