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The Day I Almost Quit

So yesterday’s blog about San Diego and my super trip, was a tad on the lying side.  Not anything about the San Diego trip, but the bottom part:

The Expert and I put down 45 miles today on the bike at Silver Comet.  
I might as well have done a century, as bad as it hurt. 

The part about the 45 miles was not a lie.  The part about hurting was true. But I kinda glossed over (completely omitted) a very important event of the day.  The why of the hurt.

The part where I stopped around Mile 32, got off my bike, waiting until the Expert rolled back to me.  The part where I was hurting and tired and angry.  

And where I looked at the Expert and said, “I’m not doing this anymore.”

He stared at me. “You have to.  You have 13 miles to get home.”

“No. I mean.  I don’t want to do this anymore.  This training. This this this.”  

Really that was the first time I actually thought about hanging up all this insanity.  The first time since my first real bike ride back in August 2010.  I have been scared about races.  Scared and thinking, maybe I should bow out of this race, or that race.  

But yesterday was a I-think-I-may-bow-out-of-this-entire-triathlon-thing type of day.  
I’m not sure what it was.  Yes, I was tired
from my trip.  Yes, the ride was the longest one in a while.  Yes, New Orleans is creeping scary close.  

But it was something bigger. 

It was about 40 degrees outside.  I was frozen from the ride.  My kids were at home.  I missed them.  It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was suffering when I could have been reading Elmo, shopping or watching a movie or organizing a closet.  But instead, I was physically hurting and doing it on purpose.  At Mile 32, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

The Expert kept riding. He knows when I slip into crazy, to move along.  Said he had his phone and to call if I had a mechanical or anything like that.  I told him to go on.  I rode a few miles, stopped, and sat on a bench.  I did this a few times. I rode about 7-8 miles per hour… on a completely flat ride.  People on grocery-getter bikes were flying past me.  I didn’t care.  I was hungry.  Tired.  Tired of it all. 

How did I go from totally stoked and motivated from my trip to falling flat out of space? 

I was sad.  I was sad that I wasn’t even trying to pep myself up, talk myself out of it, put my “yes you can” motivation tactic to work on myself.  I just gave up for no real reason. Swim Bike Mom was headed to just a blog called Swim Bike Mom.

Today, I woke up and our baby girl (well, age 3) was sick.  After taking her to the doctor, I dragged myself to the gym.  I missed the scheduled spin class due to the doctor. So it was just me, sitting in the dark room, by myself.   

“The hardest thing in life is knowing which bridge to cross, 
and which bridge to burn.”
-David Russell

I sat on the front row, under the dim lights, turned on Snow Patrol (instead of something peppier), and held on for the misery.  I listened to Chasing Cars, Crack the Shutters, and Set Fire to the Third Bar – my three favorite SP songs that make me feel a little teen angst-y, Claire Danes like.  Which was fine, because that’s how I wanted to feel.  

I stared at myself in the mirror for the first fifteen minutes while I rode.  Little by little, my legs picked up speed. Then, my heartrate climbed.  The sweat started pouring.   Thirty minutes later, I was suffering, riding faux hills, in and out of the saddle.  

An hour later, I was back on the triathlon high.  The proof?  Well, I skipped over the treadmill and ran 2 miles in a little over 21 minutes.  And I drove home.

And just like that, I’m back in it.   I can’t explain it.  But I think the simple answer to all of these emotions… is literally my little mantra: just keep moving forward.

If I had truly “quit” and sat on my lazy bum all day, I would not have been rejuvenated by the spin/run…and quite possibly, I would have let the negativity take root and that could have been…well, that.

So today, I confess my “I quit” attitude of yesterday.  And now, I tell y’all… I’m back.  (Even though you never knew I was gone.) 

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Don’t Quit…Make friends.

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  • Carrie Hanson

    January 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm

    I didn't think "quit" was going to feel good for too long. Good for you, for allowing yourself that period of just wanting to hang it up, and for finding your spirit again. And, you had reason to us that "no stopping" sign :).

    You bless the rest of us with your honesty!

  • Anonymous

    January 16, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I had a very similar experience during my last marathon – all I could think of was all the fun things I could be doing if I wasn't running a stupid marathon. I actually called my husband from mile 10, to see if he was anywhere near me, and I would've dropped out in an instant and been done had he not been miles away.

    In that moment, I was so done with running and marathoning forever, I just wanted to be done and live a normal life, free of training, obsessing and endurance events. I wanted to be someone who goes to the gym and works out for an hour and leaves, who doesn't wake up at 3 am on Saturdays in the summer to do ridiculously long runs before the heat/sun come out, who can have a cocktail and a salad for dinner on Friday and not have to worry about fueling for a long run the next day.

    There is a lot of sacrifice, and a lot of discipline in what we do – and it can take a toll. You spent the weekend away from your kids and your life – heading out on a long ride as soon as you got back had to be hard. The fact that you got on the bike today and did hills – HILLS!! of all things – suggests to me that you are not yet as ready to quit as you might have thought. I think sometimes when we know we have a choice to do something or not, it becomes easier and yet harder at the same time. Having to ride 45 miles is one thing – choosing to do it is somthing else entirely.

    Either way – you are awesome and I love your blog. 🙂

  • Kristin

    January 16, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    After reading this post I have come out the other end not thinking "Geez, I can't believe she came so close to quitting" but rather, the next time I am feeling exactly the same (because everyone does at some point), I know I can think of this post and tell myself, "Meredith was here and she kept going and came out the other end in one piece"
    You are such a huge inspiration for me, not just because you do these amazing things that I can only dream of (a half-ironman? Seriously?) but because of your honesty throughout the journey to get there.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Jeannie

    January 17, 2012 at 1:41 am

    We all get those I think. I definitely felt like that this weekend. I was so sore on Saturday and my energy was just totally gone! I was supposed to play indoor soccer Saturday night and do a long spin afterwards. Well, I didn't feel like playing & ended up not going anyway because of bad weather conditions. Thought I would still do my long spin but just couldn't get myself on the bike. Ok, so I will get it in early in the morning. Still felt like crap in the morning and bagged it. However, took the kids to the Seattle Center to see a train exhibition and watch a train movie at the IMAX. Totally snowed while we were there too. Made it home safely in the late afternoon. My energy and motivation had suddenly returned and decided to hop on the trainer to squeeze a long spin in before dinner. Ended up getting in an hour & 20 minutes. Awesome when it returns! 🙂

  • Cheryl Kellond

    January 17, 2012 at 2:15 am

    I rarely comment on blogs but I just had to chime in here. I love this.

    I love that you were brave enough to admit you cracked (because I suspect we all do at some point – I know I have, multiple times) and love it that you are brave enough to admit what we also all experience…that crazy obsession/identity that we can't shake because we know being a triathlete makes us better in every other more important role (mom, wife, professional) we fill.

  • TX Runner Mom

    January 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    Great post! I have "quit" triathlon and running many times, only to quit the quit. It happens. Glad to know it doesn't just happen to me, though. 🙂

  • Eleanor Burns

    January 20, 2012 at 11:12 am

    I feel this way about 6 miles into most of my long runs. Today's long run is going to be tough – I'm already hurting. I always tell myself that I can slow down if I need to but I cannot stop.

  • Tues

    January 22, 2012 at 12:52 am

    De-lurking here to say that this is so timely for me. My 20-mile run last week in 8 degree weather totally demoralized me and undermined my confidence for my first marathon in 5 weeks. Boo hiss.

    Good to hear this quitting for a few days, hours, or minutes is normal. At least I'm normal-ish… 🙂


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