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The Art of Not Losing Your Mind


Ooops. Perhaps it is all too late for me. When the monkey hat comes out, we’re all doomed. The Hot Mess has returned.

I woke up this morning still sick. Our family was hit by the Christmas plague. First, the girl Swim Bike Kid brought pneumonia home, then the Expert got something horrible and then me.  The boy Swim Bike Kid spent most of Christmas sniffling and threatening to get the plague too, but it never panned out for him.

On my way to work this morning, I pulled the car into a random doctor’s office.

“I’m here. I’m a walk-in. I need to see a doctor.”

The lady behind the glass looked at me, “Well, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, I’m sick. I need some help. Some drugs. I mean meds. Or whatever.”

She stared.  “Okay, have a seat.”

About a half hour later, I was being seen and sent home (well, to work, actually) with a prescription for an antibiotic and cough medicine.

I realized why the lady behind the desk looked at me so weird.  Because the hot mess was back. Even she could sense it. When I got in the elevator at work, I realized had kale in my teeth.  My hair was pulled half out of the bun, and I was wearing a ridiculous yellow coat.

I texted Sweet Red this morning and sent her this elevator picture and wrote, “Look. I’m so fat and ridiculous. I look like Paddington Bear.”


“You are not Paddington Bear,” she texted back.  “You are an Ironman.”

“Ironman Paddington,” I wrote back.

The Art of Not Losing Your Mind?  Why am I even writing about this?  Oh hell, I don’t know what that is.  I feel that I have lost my mind most of the time, and I am just wandering around, picking up pieces of it, gluing them back together so that I have portions of the mind left.  I’m a half-assed mind.

For me, things rock my boat and I’m all out of kilter.  Being sick, not training through the sickness, and (once again) stuffing so much (good) food in my face over Christmas… I can’t figure out where I keep going wrong.

Today, I feel absolutely… lost.


[Actually… nothing wrong with this meal.  Holy guacamole…. it was insanely good.  And the meal before that was good too… the Expert’s cioppino.  Okay, so Christmas was a food fest coupled with sickness, but it was grand really.]

photo dsd(6)


So yes. Lost.  I go from intensely focused, to complete wandering lost-ness monster.  In a snap of the fingers.  From happy and joyful, to complete doldrums.  Alot of it may be the post-partum depression of unloading the book… it’s done and in all the distribution networks, so I am done with that project. Alot like post-race depression. That was an eleven month push, and now what?

Last night, I told the Expert, “I am just having a hard time figuring out what to do next.

He stared at me.  “You need to get your nutrition in line and finish Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Nothing else. Got it?”

I sorta nodded.

“No new projects, Mere.  You GOT it?”

I nodded again, reluctantly.

No new projects. No new projects. No new projects. No new projects.

Going into the New Year, I am going to continue to be hard on myself, because that’s who I am.  [I am Ironman Paddington Bear.]

As far as my “resolutions” – I don’t believe in resolutions as much as I believe in setting goals and crushing them. Crushing! Woot! Okay.  Well, that’s the spirit, anyway.


Trying out the Swim Bike Kid’s Princess Vanity

When I resolve not to do certain things (like stuff my face with pizza)… I am more likely to fail. I have found myself more likely to acheive a goal of finishing things… instead of drawing hard lines about what I won’t do…. I do better with the other “w” word… WILL.

I will be grateful for all I have.  I will love my family with my whole heart. I will focus on my workouts.  I will be diligent about my nutrition. I (holding breath here) will finish Ironman Coeur d’Alene.


So as we tick into the New Year, I declare that the Art of Not Losing Your Mind boils down to separating the wills from the won’ts.

Let’s find the core of our wills, and just go from there.

No new projects. No new projects. No new projects. No new projects.

(And if you find out how not to lose your mind in the process… you can submit a guest post to me.)

photo sd5)


  • Cameron

    December 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Meredith, you’re amazing and being “lost” just means you are more in tune with how you are when you are focused. I am like you. I’m either both feet in or both feet on the couch with a pint of B&Js……or maybe some delicious pizza (my all time fav food too!) 2013 is your year!

  • Karen

    December 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Just enjoy the madness now … 100% agree with the expert – resist the temptation to start up another project. You will have PLENTY to do as you get closer to CDA. Save the projects for post IM when you have the post-partum over that one 🙂

  • Rene' Whiteley

    December 27, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I just started following your blog Meredith, but I so feel you. Our entire house is sick. I have 11 miles to make it to 1000 for the year and I am in bed with a fever. We definitely can’t get out of our own way. Taking it easy has given me waaaayyyy to much time to think which is bad for this OCD runner/mom. I agree with the Expert, focus on what is ahead then pick a project after.
    PS…love your blog.

  • Kourtney

    December 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    I’m pretty certain we (women) are programmed to have crazy busy too much on the go lives that include all these dreamy projects. You’re not lost – you’re just in the midst of all things life and you’re working your way towards then end of just one part of it (IM – or maybe just the holidays). And… you *will* forgive yourself for being human once in a while and indulging in pizza, or missing a workout, or eating too much (good) holiday food like the rest of us do.

  • Polly

    December 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I just found your blog yesterday and immediately ordered your book, meaning you inspired me in less than the 10 min I had to read your story. From what I can tell, you are a mom of two, working full time, writing a book, and training for an IRONMAN. So even when you’re a hot mess I’m guessing you’re pretty pulled together, right?? Not that I’m judging you, because I can totally relate, but just wanted to encourage you to give yourself grace and know that you’re pretty amazing even on your off days!! I did one sprint distance triathlon in 2007 before kids and you have inspired me to train for another this year — so thank you!! Your book arrives tomorrow, BTW, and I can’t wait to read it. 🙂

  • Betsy

    December 27, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    I get lost (and sort of bored) when my goal is too big or too distant. My absolute favorite coach says to break the big goal into little ones. Example-I want to do 10 pull ups by march 1. First goal- I will do 1 pull up by next Thursday. I practice and do one pull up by thursday. I do it again friday and saturday. After I have mastered that goal, the next goal is 2 pull ups by the next Thursday. Then 3, etc. Much more manageable than saying “I will do 10 pull ups by March 1.” Plus, it gives me many opportunities to celebrate my victories. Breaking up training into small achievable goals and moving the goal forward works for me. Good luck-you got this!!!

  • Colleen Kingery

    December 28, 2012 at 12:37 am

    No new projects huh? 🙁 Does that mean we can’t brainstorm soon? But it would be totally triathlon related brainstorming and I would totally ask you about your training and nutrition so that would count as focusing on your current goal, right? 🙂 I miss you! Hope you are all feeling better.

    And no Paddinton bear for you… love that coat and you DON”T LOOK FAT. Silly girl.

  • Patti

    December 28, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Wow, I’m a sort of newbie to your blog but I have to say I didn’t know you still had a “real” job. How do you balance it all? Do you have flexibility at work? I find the 9 to 5 gig is just killing me! (Join the club, right?)

  • Kelly

    December 28, 2012 at 11:01 am

    I cant get past the first sentence in any of your blog posts without CRACKING UP! I freaking love you…and all your inspiration. If I lived closer I would make you hang out with me. HA!

  • Karen

    December 31, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    Not losing your mind is not a new project, but an active part of IronMan training. I too, am training for CDA 2013. I work full time, and have a mini ranch to help with. Not losing my mind on any given day is a full time occupation. I am also, on occasion a hot mess in the elevator. Even when I’m not sick. This usually has to do with a message from my trainer. Or the lack of one…..


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