Saturday, March 16, 2019

Thank you, friends!

Today I enjoyed my longest ride in ages - just shy of 60 miles (6700' of elevation gain, ouch), with a big chunk of those shared with a friend, Desen (pictured). We hadn't ridden together before, but we immediately clicked, and it felt good to work with her across the miles. It's nice to ramp up the training again and notice some fitness returning after my least consistent winter ever.

Less than four weeks ago my mom passed away - maybe you saw my post. We'd known since late November that she had just a few months to live with metastatic brain cancer.

For most of my adult life, I talked to her nearly every day (sometimes twice) just to chat about the goings-on of life. She was a wonderful advisor to me. That's gone. At least in the way we used to do it.

But in the aftermath I have felt friends "circling the wagons" for me, especially those in my triathlon/running/cycling world. They've been ready with hugs, encouraging words, ears to listen, and just as important - they've been there to swim, bike, and run with me.

Triathlon (and running/cycling/etc) is a community of survivors and thrivers - those who push through challenges whether it be a major life change, illness/injury, or even just getting out of a warm bed for an early morning session.

During tough times I keep training as I can, and I encourage others to keep training through their tough times too. Dial it back and give yourself flexibility to adapt, but keep going. It's not just for the physical and mental benefits, but for the community.

Last week I really struggled. I think my efforts to be strong and keep everything going - work, family, all the paperwork and things related to my mom's passing - it all caught up to me and sort of boiled over on Thursday. The last thing I wanted to do was go to Master's swimming, but I went. I told my coach I was having a really rough day. It felt really comforting to just be in close proximity to my friends, to chat and share the workout. And darn if I didn't swim pretty decently. Afterward, our coach asked me, "How do you feel now?" I of course felt much better :-)

My mom was part of a community of lifelong friends forged through tennis (many of whom I've enjoyed catching up with over the last few weeks.) I can't imagine my life without the friendships that have blossomed through the sports I enjoy.

I just want to say thank you for every kind word, text, message, email, card, phone call, and shared workout. Thank you friends. And thank you Coach Jim, who has lovingly coached me through so many challenges throughout the last ten years. He always seems to know just what I need.

The sweetness of life comes from connecting with and loving others.
That's all that matters.
That's everything.