Saturday, April 19, 2014

A weekend of family, flowers, a farmer's market……Happy Easter

At 400AM, I woke with a start….OH CRAP I'M LATE…and I jumped out of bed and started looking for my bike jersey.  My dog looked at me like I had lost my mind…and I guess maybe I had…

Im still in Ironman mode.

Months have past since my Ironman but I still wake up most mornings at 4am..my body still remembers…but my mind .. well Im not sure where it stands.  As I shuffled around my room to find my way back to bed…I decided to go outside and enjoy the early morning and the incredible moon.

As I walked outside it felt so strange…a Saturday morning that soon would be filled with a cup of coffee, a 3 mile walk/run with my dog (he's never gone that far before…yeah Finnegan), a visit with my parents who are rarely in town this time of year and a visit to the Farmer's Market.  This has NOT been my Saturday morning in a very long time…and I took a deep breath and took it all in….and
tried to enjoy the solitude…the quiet…the relaxation of it all…

And I really couldn't…

It is a very odd thing when the body is restless but the brain is not ready to embrace the pain of training long distance.  I wish I could tell you I knew a way to get the two in sync…but I don't.  It pains me…it frustrates me…and it brings tears.

So to appease my messed up head, I embraced this unique Saturday.  I enjoyed the walk in my neighborhood admiring the homes that I usually ran past in the early hours of Sunday mornings when a 16, 17 or 19 mile run was on the training plan.  Finnegan (my Golden Retriever) and I did our good deed by moving people's newspapers from the driveway to their front door so they wouldn't get wet and greeted other walkers along the way.  I realized as we got past the 2 mile mark that my 2 year old dog was a bit winded…even he needs a bit of training.

After a visit with the folks, it was off to the Farmer's Market to buy some fresh beautiful produce and some plants. This…I miss.  Seeing people you know from high school, smelling the kettle corn being cooked on the street and the blossoms of the flowers for sale was just amazing.  And you know..those plants somehow made it into my car…and to my front porch.

I pulled out the gardening gloves, my hand shovel and began the process of replanting these beauties.  I got my hands in the dirt and it made me smile.  Don't get me wrong…Im not the greatest gardener..I can kill anything and my thumb is more black than green…but I do love the feeling of making our space beautiful and full of color.  Sometimes plants do better when they are repotted and replanted in new soil…

And so do athletes…

A little replanting perhaps is in order for me…a different pot…some different soil…a new adventure…a different challenge.  Not to say that the old challenges can not be revisited…but a fresh perspective might just be the trick to see new growth in this tired frustrated soul…

And that IS what Easter is about…rising again…the promise of new life…everlasting life…and of hope…we can all use that don't you think?  I believe in all those things…and I know that God has a way and a purpose for me and a reason for this path…I just have to have faith and find my way…

Happy Easter everyone...


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Changing the course of a boat adrift...

I wish I could tell you how many times I have sat down to write in my blog.  I must have at least a half dozen drafts that I have not published because they didn't sound sincere. One of the promises that I made to myself as I started to blog about the life and times of an overweight athlete is that I would be honest with myself and my words…and sometimes that is hard.

It's hard because,  it's difficult to face your demons especially in an open forum of "blog-dom".  I think blogging is very therapeutic.  Writing to express emotions instead of stuffing them down with food is a positive step I started several years ago.

It's been 14 years this week that I did my first triathlon.  It amazes me that I have been doing this type of racing for this long.  I guess some people would say that you aren't "racing" if you're not "winning" but for me…it's been a race to get to a better me: Physically, Spiritually and Emotionally.

Last year, I poured my heart and soul into this one goal: Ironman.  I put things aside and pushed hard towards this goal that  can not be "bought".  Ironman can not be handed to you.  It is a goal you can not "fake your way through".  Ironman is tough…well at least it is for 90% of the triathlon population.

As I approached this triathlon season, I waited for the excitement to come to my soul…and it didn't arrive.  I waited for the thrill of the first hard bike workout and that first long run workout to appear…and it didn't.  It was then I realized that I had to take a different approach to my goals and dreams in this sport..

It meant realizing I need a break.

When you are driven to accomplish something, it is very painful to admit your plan is flawed.  It's even harder to do when you watch so many of your friends, teammates and acquaintances move strongly forward while you struggle.  It brings me to tears to think that this goal of Ironman just seems so far out of reach as I sit here today…but my plan of continuing to train as I am now is not going to work….so a different plan of action is needed.

After 14 years, I have only taken a break from  triathlon a few times: mostly due to injury or illness…but this feeling is so strange and new to me…I feel adrift.  Like a boat without power, a sailboat without wind, I feel lost with no direction.

It is almost therapeutic, however, to admit there is an issue that needs to be addressed and freeing to admit when you know that you must take care of other matters and then RETURN to your initial goal.  I know in my heart that I will not complete a full ironman unless I grow taller or get leaner.  Im not adding any inches to my height any time soon so, even with the weight loss of last year (i have kept off all but a few pounds of that), it is time once again to face the demons of food, eating and weight.

I have no idea how long this break will be.  I do know that I have a great trainer in Ben Graves who will help me along this new path of finally finding my way to my goal weight.  For now, my race schedule will be filled with running events with friends and some shorter distance triathlons until I get a grip on my body size and on fat loss.  A wonderful Ironman friend of mine told me…"Melissa…you gotta take a break until it's "fun" again.." Ill be search for the fun via half marathons, relay races and some 5k's.

I wish I could express how much I am going to miss long distance triathlon community.  The friends that I have made and the things I have learned about myself have been life changing.  I will continue to write here because training for half marathons and shorter races is still very challenging but don't for a moment think I have given up on Ironman..just realize I must make serious changes to be able to complete that distance…

Until those changes are achieved…Ill keep you posted…Thanks for following along…the next few months should be unique and interesting and exciting no matter what...