Friday, July 12, 2019

The Next Chapter, A Decade in the Sport

I'm typing this from my front porch, as I listen to the birds, watch the goats in the front field (the neighbor's goats), and enjoy a gently snoring dog and a sprawled cat next to me. I finished a short pre-race brick and am cooling down.

I moved across town at the end of April, into my own home, after 15 years in the same house where my ex and I raised our kids. Finding this home was a dream come true for me. It's a lovely wood and stone home on 17 acres, within two miles of the New River, and offers great running and biking routes. As I've explored on foot and by bike, I've met so many of my wonderful neighbors. I am happy to be a part of this community!

It is the start of a new chapter. It is full of promise and hope.
But it is also a bit scary. I'll officially be an "empty nester" in a month. And I am solely responsible.

The last 3+ years have been packed with major life events - sudden death of my dad, selling the childhood home, moving my mom, helping my sister to care for my mom, separation, divorce, my mom getting sick, my mom passing away, job changes, shepherding two kids through high school, going through the college application process, and getting them headed off to college (UVA for one, Carnegie Mellon for the other).

Through it all I trained and raced (very helpful for my mental health), but I was going 100 MPH to make it all happen. A lot of important things slipped - like cooking, eating well, sleeping well, taking care of myself, keeping up with medical appointments, reading - that sort of thing.

I felt like I was on "high alert" constantly and that I had to be productive 100% of the time or I would just get buried. It was exhausting.

No more.

I'm working less now, and have allowed myself the chance to SLOW the HECK down for the summer. But it's not easy to retrain myself. "Just breathe," I have to say often.

I am starting to get back on top of the things that have slipped. June was "medical catch-up month." After one pair of very expensive computer glasses, bloodwork, and a mammogram scare, plus four wisdom teeth removed from the kiddo, we are through that. I've been cooking again and eating a lot better. I renewed my library card and I've read some books. I'm enjoying mowing (only a small part of the property), working in the yard, and doing house projects. My kid and I just finished a puzzle. I'm getting help for a glute/hamstring issue that has plagued me for 6 months. And I'm spending time with friends.

I'm working to recharge my personal batteries.

The hardest thing for me right now? That would be not having my mom to talk to, to share this with, to lean on. We would talk daily, sometimes multiple times per day. She was always my sounding board and advisor.

I recently got a standup paddleboard that I've been enjoying on the river. It's pretty awesome to paddle hard up river and then sit back for a slow, quiet drift back. Those are the times I "talk" to my mom and my dad. The peacefulness from the middle of the river is really healing.

Now back to triathlon, since that is really the point of this blog.

I'm racing the Scenic Mountain Triathlon in West Virginia on Sunday. It will be my first triathlon of the year. Yes, you read that right. My first. I did the Duathlon in April, and then concentrated on the house. My typical 99.5% training compliance dropped to about 85% during the house moving process but it's come back up. I can feel myself getting stronger. I'm not putting down amazing speeds or power, but that's OK. Not every year, not every race needs to be full-throttle.

This August marks one decade for me in the sport of triathlon. The "why" of it has changed for me from year to year. This year my "why" is really focused on being among the community of triathletes. I've been incredibly grateful for my friends over the last few years. As I lost my mom, they have really helped to lift me up, and I hope I do the same for them.

Thank you, friends, for the conversation, companionship, and laughs!

Here's to healing, recharging, and goat snuggles!