Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Enjoying the Journey

Hello Monday after time change;(
Hard for me this morning and will continue to be for a couple weeks.  Something about spring time change that throws off my circadian rhythm. And to really mess me up, I will be travelling at the end of this week with a time change 2 hours earlier.  Back to my "regular" time plus 1 hour.  Nuts.

Had a pretty good training weekend.  Rode 25 miles on the trainer Sat morning then 22 miles outside on the fat bike that afternoon.  I still freeze my butt all the time on the cold outside rides.  I haven't found the right layering and recipe for keeping the thighs warmer.  They sure were a bright red when I was done and hurt like heck.  I am thinking to purchase a down skirt to wear overtop of what I am currently wearing.

I ran 18 miles on the treadmill on Sunday morning.  All of my long runs have been outside so running on the treadmill was a big change.  And my legs could tell the difference.  The top thighs are SOOO sore.  What gives?

How come there is never anything good on tv when you need there to be? It was the food channel and HGTV.
I did watch something amazing on my IPAD though.  

I can't get the video link to show but it is a 1/2 hour film about Camilla Pedersen, a Danish triathlete entitiled: From Coma to Kona and can be watched HERE.  It is really worth the watch.

I have always followed both Danish triathletes Camilla Pedersen and Michelle Vesterby.  I met Michelle Vesterby at Ironman Oceanside in 2015.  She impressed me with her easy going humour but I also loved the edge that she has that obviously makes her successful in her athletic pursuits.  I had no idea that Camilla had been in a terrible bike accident that had her in a coma for almost 3 weeks and had a future prognosis of maybe being unable to walk.  You need to watch the film!! No more spoilers from me.

On a completely different note,   I had my first baby when I was 23 and was done with having babies when I was 29.  I didn't do a ton of traveling before children but I did obviously have my own life and independence.  And for those who have kids, they know, things change.

For a couple of my friends, the career path came first for them.  They were jet-setting around the world for great vacations and working in really cool cities. They had adventure and their life seemed exciting and full-filling.  At this same time, I had 3 kids under 4, had put my career on temporary hold, and spent my day doing thankless work (changing diapers, making meals, cleaning, playing with the children).  You never really know about something until you actually go through it and I learned that having children was hard work physically but was pretty tough mentally also.  I struggled a bit with how my husband still continued on his normal daily life path with socialization, encouragement, positive feedback and routine.  These things were sometimes pretty scarce in my life.  If you aren't careful, I think it could easily lead to friction between  a couple.  I was lonely sometimes.  We had 1 vehicle and it wasn't the easiest getting 3 kids out the door so stopping over at someone's house for coffee was a rare occasion.

That's not to say I didn't have other choices I could have made. I was home taking care of my kids because that is where I wanted to be.  But it was easy to forget the importance of what I was doing when I had changed the 8th dirty diaper for that day and it wasn't lunch time yet.  Staying at home with children is super hard work.  You get little appreciation, you clean a lot of messes and it seems like your former life is light years away.
When my jet setting, living life to the fullest best friend started her family life by getting married, we were both into our early 30's and my "date" to her wedding was my 5 year old son.  It was planned for my husband and I to have a 4 day vacation together but 2 kids that got really sick last minute changed all that.  And we had to roll with it.  So my son and I had a brief visit with my friend and her fiancee the night before the wedding as the gathering was at a local lounge and I was asked to remove my son.  At the wedding supper, we sat with lawyers, doctors and other very career oriented people and I did my best to fit in.
I was so glad I could go to be there for her special day, but I had never felt more left out, in the wrong place, alone and and overwhelming: when can I go home.
It's a terrible feeling when you don't feel like you belong where you are.

Fast forward a few years.  My kids are no longer 7, 5, 5 and 1 but 12, 10,10 and 6.  We are visiting my friend who now has a baby.  Then 3 years later, another baby.

Our friendship has quietly faded as the years have progressed.  She has expressed a frustration of how her life has her chained down, the kids are a lot of work and she isn't able to continue with her career and still have her free time that she had before.  Her relationship with her husband is in hot water.

 And worse is this resentment I feel towards me because I have freedom and am travelling and can pursue anything I wish to.

So, I am telling this story why?  Because I think there are a lot of others who have these struggles I have faced (and my friend is facing)  Women who are struggling with their training/free time, their careers, being down on themselves, feeling lonely.  Dealing with never ending guilt that there doesn't seem to be enough of them to get around to everything they want to do.  Ladies who love their kids but may be resentful of how life is challenging and has changed from what it was.

This quote has made a big difference in my perspective in life.

Everything has a time and place.  We all find our place and time when it is right for us.  There are a lot of things that are good but not all of them are good at that exact time.  Everything we do requires some effort and some sacrifice.  Priorities.  There are times in our life when we can spend a lot of time pursuing things we want in the free time we have.  There are also times when our careers demand longer hours for an extended period of time.  Children also require sacrifice.  Things will change.  Change isn't bad for us. Helps us grow, helps us re-evaluate what is important to us.

So I spend more time focusing on what I have at this moment instead of looking at what I have left in the past or what I will eventually get in the future.  This moment is precious.  You may have to tell yourself that a million times in a day but it is so important to enjoy every moment.

Now that I have 3 kids that have moved away from the home, I look back with happiness at those quiet days of reading books, cuddling and bath time songs and it's funny but I don't so much remember doing dishes 4x a day, changing endless diapers, locking myself in the bathroom for a moment of peace only to have someone bang on it 2 sec after I get in.  And interestingly enough, those tough times make me smile now.  I think "Oh boy how did I get through that".  

I chose to put my career on the back burner.  And now I have a really fulfilling job that I never would have imagined I would have.
My exercise was with my kids by pushing them in the stroller, riding bikes through the puddles, hiking, fishing and swimming and now I am competing in ultras, marathons and Ironman distance triathlons. And my kids are active as well.

So many people are involved in exercise  with the "running from or running to" approach.  They are either running from their job or home stress or running to a certain time on the clock in an event.
My question then is....what is happening in between?

I'm not saying that exercise isn't a great way to get some of your own time or that running a marathon to qualify for Boston isn't great either.  I do these things too.

What I am saying is that if your whole focus for what you are doing is escaping something or running to a certain time- eventually, something's gonna give.

There is so much validation in triathlon, running etc.  You nail a workout- you feel good.  You get the time you want in an event- you feel awesome.
The danger in this for me for a short time was that it became one thing after another of me trying to get another "hit" of validation, appreciation and self-worth.

Racing for about 3 years with a serious infection (didn't know it until later) changed all this.  For most of that 3 years, I felt pretty terrible.  I would get so discouraged with the training and especially with racing as I never could do what I thought I was capable of doing.  I got some serious criticism, was told I don't belong in competitive sports as I was just a participant.  But I weathered this all with the believe that what I was doing mattered, I mattered.
I was no longer running to get away from stress because the runs were stressful too and I didn't compete for a certain number because my body would not cooperate.  So I ran and biked and walked and skied and kayaked and swam and whatever else caught my fancy for joy, for adventure, for the journey and for fun.
It wasn't about the start or the finish anymore but about the parts in between.  I am still a bad ass about some events/races.  But I roll with things better too.  I am enjoying where I am.
If you are dealing with puke and poop, enjoy it.  If you are working big hours for a career, enjoy it and if you are somewhere cruising on a boat on vacation, enjoy it. Nothing lasts forever and what have we got in the end if at a lot of points in our life we are waiting for the next thing or longing for once was.


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