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On “Our” Birthday (A Post with No Pictures)

Today, I am 36 years old.  I am closer to 40 than 30… and I am great with that. I look forward to my forties more than I could ever have imagined… which is bizarre.  I am thankful to have each breath and each day, regardless of the extra “I’m thinking hard” forehead wrinkle that is really taking up residence.

Last year, around this time, I was in a really dark place.  Depression, maybe.  Post-race blues, maybe.  Physical illness, yes.

Just lots going on, and I wrote this post, which continues to be a pretty popular post… so I thought I would re-share—because I do like the message at the end. Which I am reposting here:

Dear ____________  (this is the part where you enter your name):
Did you know that today you are alive?  No matter what negative thoughts or things that are happening, you are here? You are alive.  And do you know what an amazing body you have?  I mean, look at it.  It works.  It breathes.  That heart beats.  That brain thinks. And it makes your body run and cycle and swim, no matter how slow or painful or ugly. You work. Your body works.
No matter what the scale says. No matter how those pants fit…  even if you are sick and in pain and a ball on the floor of depression, as long as you are breathing, you are still here… you are still working, even if you feel like you aren’t.  And you matter.  You are somebody. You exist. Don’t take that for granted.
Do you also know that someone, somewhere, right now thinks you are amazing.  A-maz-ing.  Somebody does.  And they may not tell you, but somebody does.  Breathe that in and accept it. Because it’s true. Do you know that today is the first day… of the rest of your life?  Lyrics from an amazing Thriving Ivory song.  But think about it. Every day is new. The first day of the next part.  Every second is another chance.  Don’t waste it.
You have a purpose.
Finally, all that silence, the pain, the sadness and the darkness? Those terrible dark things in your heart and head?  They pass too.  Darkness before dawn.  All those quotes… that you can see the stars only because the night is black.  The fears and anxiety and things that make life “too much” —they will pass too.  You are not alone. You are not ungrateful.  You are not crazy.  You are human.
And one of the most amazing human conditions is not only the ability to love—but also the ability to feel deep emotions—ALL kinds of emotions. The recognition that emotions are not only happy things is important. Emotions include the darkness… the sadness, grief, fear, heartbreak and anxiety.  These are things to feel too. These are emotions. These are real.  Don’t be ashamed.  You are not alone.
Today, on your birthday [or non-birthday], you are not alone.  You are alive. You are here. You have a purpose. You are amazing.
#thatisall
Love, Me.

So I write, yes. I am a writer? Maybe.

For whatever reason, I have found it important for me to share my feelings out with the world since 2010, and even before that with the kids’ blog.

I don’t know why, but it’s a sort of compulsion.  I don’t think that I am that “important” to say things and have people listen. I really started writing as a way of journalism for my kids (the five-year long kid blog was here), and then when I started triathlon, the Swim Bike Mom blog was sort of my journal for that part of my life.

(Dear Diary,
I’m fat and I think I can ride a bike, carry on.
The End.)

And now, Swim Bike Mom has a big ole crazy life of its own, which is amazing. [And terrifying.]

Because I had someone remind me recently that I have apparently “lost sight” of what “we have started this for…”

We?  I’m sorry… we? I didn’t understand what in the hell that meant. We. 

I mean, the thousands (not exaggerating) of blog posts and book and articles and emails and messages  … how was that a “we” effort? Did “we” stay awake together for hours and hours working long after the day job was over and the kids were asleep… writing and planning and talking and responding?  Did “we” have any idea what in the world type of energy and effort and loans and debt and the years of work behind what this (whatever it is) has become?  Were “we” really together during all of this?

Yes …and no.

I realized this weekend at Ironman Arizona that the reason people are belong to the Swim Bike Mom “Army” is because they feel that they have a friend and a kindred spirit in “we”—that “hey I’ve been there” is a very real part of Swim Bike Mom and our TriFecta community.

When I write something, people are like:  wow, she’s crazy too. And I am not alone. And I can do this triathlon thing too.  And Swim Bike Mom and the community understands.

And as I flip through the opening of my book–that is exactly why I wrote the book and have continued to write and spend every single free second in this world.  I never wanted any woman (and now, later, man) out there to feel alone and helpless and fat and angry–like I did back in 2010. I wanted to share that life could be better, “we” could find a place in this sport that helps us be better people… survivors and thrivers and triathletes!

So in that regard, I understand completely the “we” behind it.

But here’s where I am starting to fade and wonder… I can write a post about how I hate a particular race.  And I get a response: “This very cynical post (yup I said it) has my friends and I reconsidering SBM as a positive Tri influence.”

I’ll be honest. I’m reconsidering whether SBM is a positive tri influence as well.

You know why?

Well, because people beat the shit out of you via social media and email for the good you try and do, and you get flipping sick of it.  No one sees what it really takes, and you know what?  I don’t know that anyone really cares.  And that’s fine.

But maybe in holding up others, I am getting tired.

And I wonder who is going to hold me–Meredith–up.  Not Swim Bike Mom.  Me.  As a person. Not a social media entity, where people can hide behind comments and show their true colors, but not look at someone in the face while they do it.

Maybe I get tired of spending my time and energy working towards something, writing to be funny and comical and ironical…  to be told that I may not be supported going forward, or that I am no longer a positive influence in the world.  Maybe I don’t want to be flipping sunshine and rainbows for the collective “we.”   Maybe I want to be honest and cynical if a race is terrible, if my day is long and if my hair is bad.  

Maybe I want to call out the bullshit.

Maybe that’s “who I am.”

Maybe I’m tired of the “haters gonna hate.”  Why?  Why hate on Swim Bike Mom?  What’s the point? 

Maybe, after five years of writing, and then writing a very truthful race report, that I get blasted for MY OPINION….maybe I don’t want to write or share my opinions anymore.  You have your opinions …but I can’t have mine.

Because I’m now being “reconsidered” as a positive tri influence… when I just returned from Ironman Arizona where I flew out to cheer on the athletes, be there for my own athlete and volunteer for our tri community.

If dogging me out for all of these things is what “we” are… Well, then I don’t want to be a part of a community that I started.

So instead of burning the bridge and deleting this entire blog in celebration of my birthday, I wrote this post early this morning… then I walked away from it, not sure if I wanted to post it.

But I am posting it.  And I am moving on.

Head up, chin up, and cupcakes ready to light the candles.

I choose instead to look back at my birthday post–and the letter I wrote to you, to myself–the collective “we” this time last year.

And I realize that there is a lot of good “work” to be done and continued.  I don’t know what work, but there’s plenty to be done. 🙂

So I pull myself up by the bootstraps, hit “delete” or “ignore”, and I will plow on, in the only way I know how.

With words and hashtags and selfies, hoping that at least one more woman will be reached by the book or a straggler post… and maybe it will all be worth it in the end.

#HappyBirthdayToMe   #JustKeepMovingForward

 

97 Comments

  • Lauren Ellis

    November 18, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Keep on keeping on. People need to realize that it’s ok to have a difference of opinion. Nobody has to be happy and cheery all the dam time, I think it showed a great side of you. Although it was a terrible race you still tried to keep it positive. So go SBM, great job Meredith, and Happy Birthday!

    Reply
  • Carol

    November 18, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    Meredith – Who cares about the haters?!?! You have EVERY right to your opinion – bad race, good race, bad day, good day. Tell it like it is! That’s why we love to follow you, read your blog and be part of the SBM community!! It makes you all the more human, at least to me! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to YOU!! I hope in any small way, I can lift you up!! You deserve to celebrate YOU!!

    Reply
  • Brandi

    November 18, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    You gave me hope when I had none. You helped me realize that I can be beautiful and strong, whatever size and shape I am. You helped me to get out of my own way and just do it. If we all didn’t have different opinions, this would be a very boring world. When we are open to different opinions we broaden our perspective, learn, grow. Thank you for sharing yours, and for sharing your hope and strength with us all. Happy Birthday!!

    Reply
  • Cynthia

    November 18, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    You’re a treasure, Meredith. People are going to hate. What do they say? Ignore the noise. Sending you some birthday love and sunshine from Colorado! See you in 2017! 😉

    Reply
  • Cindy S.

    November 18, 2015 at 3:52 pm

    You’re a treasure, Meredith. People are going to hate. What do they say, “ignore the noise”. I’m sending you birthday love and sunshine from Colorado. See you in 2017! 😉

    Reply
  • Meg

    November 18, 2015 at 3:59 pm

    You’ve definitely helped ME pull myself up by my bootstraps. Thanks to you (and Rebecca, my fellow Oregonian and your athlete), I am now considering an Ironman in 2017. You helped me push those doubts out of my head enough to even consider it! Thank you!!

    Reply
  • Amy

    November 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    HAND RAISED!!! ME!! Right here, this girl!! I’ll hold you up, whether your SBM & need a sherpa or Meredith needs whatever, like maybe a beer or beverage in the morning, acternoon, night!! You are real!! People look to you because you keep it real. If you were sunshine & rainbows all the time then I’d think you weren’t real. Life had ups, downs, positives, negatives & i’m happy to read all of yours.
    Happy Birthday to you! Enjoy your day! Eat a cupcake or two!! Live it up!!! Life’s too short!!

    Reply
  • Cathleen

    November 18, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I’ve always appreciated how real you are Meredith. You are positive and inspiring, but get discouraged and frustrated at times too. That’s real life. Blogs that are nothing but shiny happy perfection are unrealistic and leave me feeling less than at times. You write about what happens in the real world, and if people can’t appreciate that, it’s their problem, not yours. Please know that you are loved for exactly who you are, and for exactly what you bring to all of us.

    Reply
  • Joy

    November 18, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I, for one, am so glad you have decided to continue! As my little group of tri mommas in Thomasville Georgia say – haters gonna hate! Thanks for you, and “we”!

    HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    November 18, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    Your opinion, occasional cynicalness and openness to share is what makes your blog great. It makes you real, makes it relatable and IS what brings people back. You are not only entitled to your opinion, that is what people are coming to the blog to read. If it was all puppy dogs and roses it wouldn’t be true, fun to read, or help people get past their crappy days. I, like I assume many of your readers, appreciate that you are honest and tell it like it is!

    Reply
  • Laura

    November 18, 2015 at 4:09 pm

    I think 2 of the best words said are “me too.” As Ann Lamott would say.

    Most of us r in our heads all day long beating ourselves up. Triathlon allows us to conquer feats and fears. We say instead – hell yeah! I did that! Your standing up and allowing us to know your story allows the rest of us to stand up taller too.

    And for all those that spew negativity in your page and in life ….well I am a New Yorker not a southerner. Eff em.

    Reply
  • Carol H

    November 18, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I found your blog last year and I was amazed that so much of what you have written mirrors my own thoughts. I am glad you are out there, that you share as much as you do. As you’ve said, so many can be very mean spirited. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to ignore the nonsense. And you keep on writing and sharing anyway.

    I’ve followed your races, cheered and then waited for the race report.

    You really are a treasure. And I wish you the best of birthdays.

    ps…40 isn’t so bad, and neither is 50. I’m having a grand time.

    Reply
  • Kelly

    November 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    You said it, you’ve done it and you HAVE to continue with it! You have reached thousands of women through your book and/or blogs (myself included…I have re-read your book 3 times. You’re MY inspiration when I want to quit). You have been given a gift to touch women in such a positive way on many different levels (athlete, mother, career professional, wife, friend) with your words, hashtags and selfies. PLEASE don’t “delete” all of the inspiration you have disbursed…it IS worth it!!!

    Reply
  • Melody

    November 18, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    While it is easy for me to say ignore the haters, I too, would struggle if someone were to be that negative to me. That’s why I’m not brave enough to do anything like write a blog, or post things that show my big vulnerable side. You, Meredith, are brave enough to do that and there are tons of people out there who appreciate you for that. Who enjoy reading your posts, even ones with a negative tone because we realize that all is not sunshine and roses, everyone has bad days and bad experiences and sharing them is therapeutic. For those who think you are no longer a positive influence, invite them to quit following you, quit reading your posts, and find someone else to hate on, for they surely will. Happy birthday to you Meredith! From someone who finds you a hugely positive influence!!!

    Reply
  • Ruthann McGee

    November 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Keeping it brief. Real life is good…….that’s what makes you awesome………real life is not unicorns and rainbows each and every day. Thanks for keeping it real!!! I LOVE real!!!

    Reply
  • Danielle

    November 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    First off – Happy Birthday. It really, truly only get better each year.

    Second off – I love that you’re authentic. I love that you are genuine. I love that you are naturally positive, but you’re real. If things suck ass, you call it. We all have expectations in life. Whether or not we like it or want to admit it, we hope every race is awesome and it would be great if the world was filled with unicorns and rainbow farts, or whatever.

    Keep being you. Keep writing from the heart on the good days and the bad and everything in between. Your words will reach those who matter. As for the dumbasses in between. Delete. Don’t read every comment or every email. If it doesn’t fill your jar with love toss it.

    Thanks for keeping on….. and if one day you opt to step off the internet, know your time here was valuable and valued…. and most importantly, if you want out – go. Ultimately this is your life. You don’t have to share and when you’re ready to move on – do it guilt free. Cause it’s what you gotta do for you – not anyone else.

    Happy Birthday!

    Reply
  • Beth

    November 18, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I cried when I read this – simply because the weariness at copping it when you’re giving more than anyone ever sees is so familiar. I cannot understand what motivates people to criticise in that way – they are surely free to just go off and do their own thing. I assume that they’re not doing so – as no one really putting energy into their own life giving and community building pursuits would have the time or inclination.

    You don’t know me. I’m on the other side of the world trying to get my fat butt out the door to run or ride or do something.

    I’m so grateful for you. I should have said so earlier.

    Reply
  • tg

    November 18, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    You know what ruins tri for me? The people who think you have to think and act a certain way, adopt a party line, represent a “positive tri influence.” I find these people judgmental, creepy, and cultish, and, frankly, way too many of that type exist in this field. Non-thinkers, scared of holding two opposing ideas in their minds. You are a breath of fresh air. Your voice talked me into trying tri. This post is talking me into re-trying it. Those critics can put their positive party line in their compression sleeves and smoke it.

    Reply
  • Pam

    November 18, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Sometimes you just have to remember that “People Suck.” Yes, I said it. And passive-aggressive posts like the one you printed in your story, totally piss me off.

    Reply
  • Anne Royston

    November 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    I like honest race reports and to hear other people’s opinions. I don’t see that as negative and swimbikemom.com is not a negative “place”. I’m thankful for all of your posts and appreciate all of the swim bike mom army. I would not have completed IMAZ 2015 without the support of this group, so thank you for all you do.

    Reply
  • Deborah

    November 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Happy Birthday! Thank-you for sticking your neck out there! I completed my first sprint triathlon after finding your book while I recovered from bariatric surgery. You gave me hope that I could do it. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could. You are a huge inspiration to me. I hope you never quit blogging!

    Reply
  • Anna

    November 18, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    I hate the social media world sometimes. I hate how others put people down. I only just started following you a few months and I think what you do for the Tri community and the mom community and the overall women community is AWESOME! You are real! You say what a lot of us want to and you should never be afraid to be honest! You are true to your feelings as a triathlete, woman, person and mom! Don’t stop doing what you do!! I support all the good you do! You best believe that once I become a mother, I am rocking SBM gear like nobody’s business!!

    Reply
  • Nancy

    November 18, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    I finished my first sprint tri training and race this year and am looking forward to a 70.3 next year. Your book and blog have been there for me through it all. I have kept reading precisely because you are honest and you don’t pander or sugarcoat. You talk to me like a best friend would, and it makes the journey easier and much more fun. Thank you for that.

    It takes a lot of strength and courage to put your personal story out into the public sphere, and it is particularly difficult to do it with as much charisma and style as you do. I admire your fearlessness and strive toward that quality for myself (as I think many of your readers do). Remember that it requires far less energy, intelligence, and heart to tear down than it does to create.

    Happy Birthday to you. I wish you cupcakes, smiles, and love!

    Reply
  • Kendell

    November 18, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I can’t imagine how hard it is for you to put yourself out there the way that you do. It leaves you vunerable. But YOU make me want to Tri. I need you to know that you continue to inspire many people with your realness and I hope you continue. Happy Birthday.

    Reply
  • Stacey

    November 18, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    F*$! sunshine and rainbows and unicorns! That $hit ain’t real! But you are! And “we” love you for it – the cynicism, the realness, the good days and the bad. Keep on keepin’ on. “We” need you! And happy birthday 🙂 Have an extra cupcake for me – that’s why I tri 😉

    Reply
  • Julie Gronewold

    November 18, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    I became part of the SBM group this past summer when I stumbled across a blog post of yours and in between my tears from laughing so hard, I emailed the link to my bestie and said, “OMG…you have to read this gal’s blog…..she is hilarious and could definitely hang out with us on a century ride any day!” I was instantly hooked by your TOTAL honesty and genuine spirit in all of your writing! I’m guessing anyone who is reading anything you write was hooked for the same reason. The fact that people are being big babies about your honesty is maddening! I know, easier said that done to just shrug it off and move on, but really…..don’t let the negative people bring you down! You’re a ROCK STAR! Happy Birthday! 🙂

    Reply
  • Brenda

    November 18, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Your complete honesty makes you a positive force. Life is not always sunshine. It’s your ups and downs and how you get through them that makes it believable for the rest of us that follow you that we can too. Be who you are. Stay honest. And happy birthday!!!!

    Reply
  • Heather

    November 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    I think you are awesome and this blog is fantastic. Please continue keeping it real. Sugar coating everything is NOT real and your honest opinions are appreciated. If people can’t handle straight forward opinions and commentary, they can go somewhere else. I’ll bet “somewhere else” will eventually write someting they don’t like or agree with too. Please don’t change or stop writing. <3

    Reply
  • Mcihelle

    November 18, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    You HAVE to blog. HAVE to. I never comment on things on the internet (“shouting into the void” and all that) but you need to understand what you do for people….I went from “potato” to “athlete-ish” in the last two years, and became a committed and obsessed runner. Then, this year, I signed up for my first [sprint] tri. I found your blog. I left it all on the field at that tri, and it felt great. I’ve set my sights on a half Iron Man next year (with a “someday, secret-heart-dream goal” of a full). I’ve started to shop around for memberships at local pools, put together training plans, research Open Water clinics, and save up for bike upgrades.

    I have so much to look forward to next year, but I need to know that I can come here and read your words and get that extra boost and the no-holds-barred, nitty-gritty, “even-the-gross-stuff” advice, and feel like I’m part of something. None of my friends or family do triathlon. Really, I think of you kinda as MY own Swim Bike Mom….or Swim Bike Witty-Aunt-Meredith-Who-Tells-It-Like-It-Is. I don’t come to your page looking for a “positive tri influence” or feel-good fluff. I come to your page to mentally get ready for giant blisters and potential DNFs and washing-machine swim starts. I come to your page because you’re a normal human being like me who has the discipline and drive to do extraordinary and way-beyond-normal things. And to totally kick ass at them.

    Please stick around….there’s so much more ass-kicking left to do 🙂

    Reply
  • Kate

    November 18, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I am part of the “we”. I want to hear if a race sucks. Because sometimes I suck, and because sometimes the race sucks. People who send shitty emails suck too. Suckfest. #keepmovingforward

    Reply
  • Lisa Serrano

    November 18, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    When we share ourselves publicly, we have to thicken our skin and know the haters are out there hiding behind social media. It hurts hard and they love that. I blogged about my fears of unemployment and trying to become an Ironman. I was blasted that I didn’t deserve to be an Ironman unless I had a fulltime real job like everyone else. It crushed me. My family supported me. You need to turn toward your supporters when you get blasted by morons… and then slam the fucking door in those critics’ faces! We love you for being real. Never change. Be you .. F.O.R.E.V.E.R. cuz that’s who we love. Keep on moving forward with your REAL self! XOXOXO P.S. I will die if you stop blogging so please don’t stop!

    Reply
    • Danielle

      November 20, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      What kind of BS is it that one couldn’t become an ironman without a fulltime real job? For serious?!?!?! I hope you kicked ass in that Ironman… and if you haven’t completed it yet. Know you too are not alone. Part time self employed Mom of Two going for the Full Ironman. Guess I’m not legit either?

      Reply
  • Jana

    November 18, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    My favorite thing about reading your blog is how REAL it is. Truth. Warts and ALL. I love the honesty, and honestly sometimes things aren’t all rainbows and sunshine. A LOT of times, in fact. I adore reading your posts. Please don’t stop, and never apologize for telling it like it is. You rock.

    Reply
  • Susan

    November 18, 2015 at 5:51 pm

    Happy Birthday Meredith!

    Actually I don’t think it’s the sharing of a difference of opinion, it’s the opposite. Some of us feel you are actually losing your authenticity to uphold this swim bike mom persona you created.

    For example, in your recent beginner triathlete article about “not being a trash can” you talked about your Lake Placid race and how it turned out to be one of the best races ever. Yet you yourself on your blog talked about how awful this race was for you, mentally, physically and that you even considered pulling out of IMLOU because you barely made it in Placid. Does this have to do with the fact that you started a nutritional program and that was the focus of the article? Was that the marketing piece?

    This. These inconsistencies.

    On Facebook you post these copper fishes your dad makes and put hashtag swimbikemomsdad

    I think this is where some may feel the swim bike mom persona is usually the one “on” most of the time versus Meredith. Which is different from when this started. You promote products because you are sponsored by them.

    I’m sorry you feel this way but it happens with all people who were ordinary people and then reach some type of celebrity status. Whether you like it or not, you have to choose, if you’re going to make a business and make money off of it, then you have to take all the criticism, hating, opinions, etc. That come with it.

    Reply
    • Swim Bike Mom

      November 18, 2015 at 6:03 pm

      I wasn’t going to respond but I am going to respond now. First, the article in Triathlete was actually written in MAY – two months before Lake Placid. I was referring to my 70.3 in Gulf Coast. So there’s your first “inconsistency.” In the magazine world, articles are written MONTHS before they are published. For example, in October, I wrote my article for February. That’s how that works.

      “As I head into my next race [LAKE PLACID], I am leaner (but not lean) and faster (but not fast). I am the best version of myself—today—because I care about what I am putting into my triathlon machine. While I will certainly be thrilled to just finish my next long race, I also know that it will not be a case of dragging my tired, sluggish and doughnut-fed face across 140.6 miles. I understand that race day comes with zero guarantees. But I also recognize that being the best version of myself does mean that I will toe the line knowing I am ready to do my very best—racing hard and to my full potential from the inside, out.”

      Marketing? When I am writing an article about my health?

      Second, my Dad’s fishes was on my PERSONAL Facebook page. NOT Swim Bike Mom. Am I no longer allowed to have a personal Facebook page? We have a joke in my family – they call me Swim Bike Mom too. SO it’s a funny joke “swimbikemomsmom” and “swimbikemomsdad”. So whatever. I’m sorry you think it’s marketing. When I have a family joke.

      Thirdly, I wish you knew how MANY products I turn down on a regular basis.It’s at least two. TWO per DAY. And I have FIVE current sponsors. I promote products because I BELIEVE in them and want to share things that are GOOD in this community. I have a bike trainer, a gel, a shoe, and a sock that I all believe in. Because I have tried them. How is that CRAZY? And then I provide readers with those things – for free and giveaways – and standing discounts and because they are GOOD products. I have a small HANDFUL of products that I am sponsored by. Go really look at the bloggers who are product hungry. I’m not even close.

      Your comment was jerky and unfounded.

      Reply
    • Beth

      November 18, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      Gasp. I cannot believe you have the audacity to write this after what Neredithhas shared about the impact this is having on her. If you don’t enjoy what happens here then you are certainly free to go elsewhere. I have no idea where you get the idea that critiquing a person (A PERSON!!) in this way is decent.
      Please choose to be kind.

      Reply
    • LS

      November 18, 2015 at 8:48 pm

      Geezus.

      Seriously. Maybe, just maybe, people write something at a single moment in time and then, at another moment, there thoughts change. When people cross the finish line they often say, “Wow! I’m never doing that again! Screw that!” Then they see registration opens and they’re like, “Hell yeah! I’m SO doing that again! I loved it!”

      Why are you giving her a hard time about wanting to support her father? Her dad has a passion. She loves her father. She wants to support her father. You’re going to give a daughter a hard time for loving her father and wanting to support him? WTF?!

      Seriously. Just because you read somebody’s blog, know so much about them, and sit behind a computer doesn’t give you the right to talk openly about them.

      The golden rule is a great rule to live by: Treat others the way you would want to be treated.

      If you were the author here, would you appreciate your comment? I don’t think so. I really don’t. Jealousy will get you know where.

      Congrats, Meredith. Happy Birthday. Screw the ignorant people that feel obligated to say ignorant things to you on your birthday. It’s a great barometer of their character.

      Reply
    • Colleen

      November 18, 2015 at 8:58 pm

      Susan, if you don’t feel Meredith is authentic anymore, then go somewhere else. Really. The fact that anyone feels they can judge her about a blog and tri-community SHE built and inspired on her own is astonishing to me. She’s not trying to be the messiah for all thing tri-women-related. She is one voice, that happens to echo so many of us on many issues. I don’t agree with every single opinion she has, but I don’t look to Meredith that waY, to be my brain, my own source of thought or opinion. I may try a Disney race one day, and maybe I’ll love it…. Who knows. Quite frankly, who cares. It doesn’t mean anyone should rip her down this way. She’s a human, with a huge heart, and people insensitively hurt her.

      Reply
      • Nancy

        November 19, 2015 at 8:01 am

        Totally agree. How unfair of someone to lash out at someone else when they’re just trying to do their part, right? We should all try and put ourselves in the other person’s shoes.

        Reply
    • Esther

      November 20, 2015 at 12:00 am

      Susan, please provide us with your insight on your accusations of Meredith losing her “authenticity.” She was and has been honest with her posts! Meredith is transparent about her life (the good and the bad) and shares it openly with us. For that, she has more courage than the majority of the population. Would you have the courage to share your life with everyone so publicly? Could any of us share our lows out in public like she does? Would you share how you an “ordinary”‘person changed her life and became an inspiration for many?

      Now don’t even fathom throwing out the “she’s in the public eye so she has to take all the negativity with it” rationale. That type of comment is only true if there is evidence to support it! The claims of her non-authentic posts are unwarranted!

      Some insight into this behavior.!! It is something that Meredith has talked about many times in her blog that should not happen. That Susan… is judging people without knowing all the details. No one likes being judged without evidence. Based off your response, there is evidence to deem you as an uncaring person. It sounds like you’re the type of person that gives athletes a bad name. How does that feel? Meredith’s response to your judgmental post was epic! Meredith has been an example for many. If you don’t like it, then go else where!

      Oh PS

      1. Has anyone ever told you that you shouldn’t speak for others? (Your “some of us” comment)
      2. Your negative post was started with “Happy Birthday Meredith.” WOW JUST WOW! Let me wish you a happy day but let me come down on you about you have lost your way. Totally uncalled for! Again evidence of your character.

      Reply
  • Courtney

    November 18, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    Happy Birthday! You are amazing and real which is why the “army” follows you. Anyone who feels the need to write nasty comments aren’t worth your energy……well maybe just the energy to boot them in the ass from YOUR blog ? You are truthful and many of your followers have identified with your struggles and it does bring everyone into the we’re in it together feeling. The world needs more of you. You keep on doing you and don’t pay attention to those people. That cynical comment ticked me off beyond belief it was like a family member was insulted. Again, Happy Birthday you get better with age! You know what else does ? Wine ? so it’s time to celebrate your day and have some!

    Reply
  • Carrie

    November 18, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Don’t go!!!!! Your book inspired me to do things I never dreamed I could actually do. I can’t BELIEVE that I can now say, ‘yeah, but it’s only a 5k.’ Only!! That seems like a mighty positive thing to me. Maybe haters gonna hate, but appreciaters gonna appreciate, too. Happy birthday.

    Reply
  • Karen Okupniak

    November 18, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    Happy Birthday! Thank you for all you do to encourage everyone to be or become their best selves. My birthday wish for you is a mental calculator that would tally the support and zero out anyone who can’t disagree with you politely. In the absence of that, more wine.

    Reply
  • Kate

    November 18, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Girl, you nailed social media on the head. Wouldn’t even think twice if you stopped writing because I couldn’t deal with the negativity.

    However, I would greatly miss your posts as they are such a comfort to me.

    No matter what your decision, I wanted to take a moment to share a memory. I was standing on the beach in Anderson about 2 years ago or so. I had never done a 70.3 before, but there I stood watching the men dive into the water. I was going to be sick. Then I saw you. I introduced myself, and I think you hugged me and told me I could do it. As I turned around, my husband appeared. I kissed him and ran toward the water. There I was entering the water with 2 people watching who thought I was amazing and would be proud of me no matter the outcome. Since that moment, we have never crossed paths again, but I treasure that memory.

    Your birthday post moved me to tears. I have been fighting injuries for 3 years. 2 months ago they said I may never run or bike pain-free again. I’m taking some time to yoga heal myself. Just this week, I thought maybe I can give all of this up, but reading this today ignited my fire. Thanks for reminding me of who I am.

    Reply
  • Lisa

    November 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    I don’t normally comment but I am compelled to do so this time. As most of the comments prior have said, you are an incredible role model and person. People talking behind your back, or behind social media, are behind you for a reason. As a woman in a different, but highly public role where others feel free to judge harshly, I have heartfelt empathy for you. Do what is best for you and your family because you and they deserve it. But please remember that most of us have a tremendous amount of respect for you, and spend some of the valuable time left to us after work, kids, partners, cooking and training WITH YOU. I am rarely on FB and have 34 (not a typo) friends, and Meredith, you are one of them. I am neither troll nor stalker, but if you ever need to talk or email with someone for your benefit, please reach out.

    And happy birthday!!!!

    Reply
  • Martine Rose

    November 18, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Congratulations! You TRULY ARE CLOSER TO 40! That’s around the time that I started calling out the BS for what it was. With all the pulls on the strings that come with Mom, we sometimes learn to put up with too much crap. I’ve learned( I’m closer to 50 now) to call it like I see it, to trust my gut, to mistrust before I give trust, to appreciate tucking in my kids, to absolutely hit the delete button. HAPPY HAPPY BIRTHDAY Meredith! And don’t forget to say Happy Birthday to your Mom too!

    Reply
  • Cheryl

    November 18, 2015 at 7:34 pm

    Meredith

    Happy birthday you!

    Sorry that Susan felt the need to dump on you in a public forum on your birthday. Yet if it weren’t for her rude post, I wouldn’t be able to point out to you that she represents 1 negative condescending post out 46 positive and affirming posts. So here’s the deal, I will tell you my story.

    In 2014, two months before IMMT 70.3, I was diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer that less than 1 percent of the population get. Funny thing is I was reading your book at the time and in a dark time in my life, your words provided me with some laughter and confirmed my decision to continue on and race to the very best of my ability not knowing what the future held. My surgeon understood completely my need to have the operation 4 days after my race saying that it would be better for me mentally. I knew I wasn’t going to be racing at my best, that I would just be living in that moment, on that day. It wasn’t the end if I wasn’t top ten in my group because your book showed me that it isn’t about the finish time, it is about the journey to the finish line……having to face all the fears of cancer, be positive and take the race as it came that day. No excuses, no explainations, No regrets…..just me telling myself that I would finish. Your writing showed me that everyone has baggage at the starting line…..weight, fear, equipment issues, illness. It is what you choose to do during the race to overcome these obstacles!

    So yeah I am not going to Kona anytime soon, so yeah I am not in the best shape after cancer surgery which was followed by a total hip replacement, so yeah it will take strength to get through living my life in 6 month test increments but I kicked cancers ass, I have done 3 century rides, an interprovincial swim, I am doing two 70.3 s this summer and because I knew that even though you don’t know me, you, Meredith, SBM extraordinaire, believed In me when I didn’t.

    Thank you for writing inspirational words that made an impact on my racing then, now and in the future. If you choose to take a break from the the blog, understandable. Just know that I believe in you and your blog as your words represents life…..the good, the bad and the ugly.

    If you ever want to race Ironman Tremblant…..you are more than welcome to stay with my family..we get ya!

    Hugs

    Cheryl Turpin

    Sorry this is so long but I wanted to know you make a difference!

    Reply
  • Duckie

    November 18, 2015 at 8:31 pm

    I just love and adore you. You are so refreshingly honest!
    I am so sick and tired of people being so afraid of offending people… of the need to be PC.
    You know what? If I don’t like something… so be it. It does not mean that I think everyone else should dislike it! We are people with brains. If we can’t use them to make our own decisions we should just pack it in now.
    Live your like Mer! Enjoy yourself. F*CK those that feel you need to be “contained”. Be yourself. Voice your opinions. They are YOURS and no one can take them away from you.
    Hugs and love from Massachusetts. (Now go makes some nut jokes!)

    Reply
  • Paula

    November 18, 2015 at 10:25 pm

    Happy birthday, Meredith! Just keep on being you-nobody does “you” better! And you’ve made me believe that I can accomplish a 70.3…and a140.6.

    Reply
  • Lisa

    November 18, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    Apparently that Disney report was the equivalent of the Starbucks red cup. Get a life people. Even when I disagree with you I respect that you’re vulnerable and real and I think you would lack credibility if your blog was a constant positive meant only to make your readers feel good. Stay real and have an excellent year and TRY to ignore the peanut gallery!???

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    November 18, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Sunday, as I was volunteering at IMAZ, as I was handing an athlete a banana I saw she had on a SBM visor and I shouted “yea Swim Bike Mom!”. And she turned to me with a big grin. Then she was off running and I had more bananas to hand out, but because of you, this athlete I don’t know and I had our “We” moment. Thank you for that!

    Reply
  • Lauren

    November 19, 2015 at 12:47 am

    I feel sure that there will be an endless supply of comments left by your appreciative supporters and I have never commented before so I feel a bit silly doing so now, but I couldn’t read this post without throwing my own words of love into the mix. I enjoyed reading the Disney race report as much as all of your race reports! And it gave us all real information, that we can learn from or ignore as we wish. I think when you’re a sensitive person with a kind heart it must be so hard to have your good intentions and positive energy pooped on by meanies. Screw them, you are a fantastic and inspiring lady.

    Reply
  • Sara

    November 19, 2015 at 6:04 am

    Im almost afraid to chime in because I had commented on the RunDisney post and Ive actually lost sleep tonight afraid that my comments were taken the wrong way. I hope it came across the way it was intended – full of sympathy to your experience. I’m so sorry it sucked. I’m a big Disney person and my comments were intended to be helpful. I really hope they came across that way.

    I absolutely love your blog. I don’t comment often because I am honestly kind of in awe of everyone here, and feel like I have nothing to add to the conversation – like you’ve all said it all and usually much better than I could! That includes tonight – but I do want to add to the love in the comments here.

    For someone Ive never met in person or even emailed with, you’ve had a huge impact on my life. Your blog has made me laugh out loud and cry real tears (not just internet ones!). In preparing for my first tri this summer, I read – no, STUDIED – your book cover to cover at least three times! I even wrote an amazon review about it (which I never do. Five stars btw ;)) And when I did have the inevitable panic attack in the open water, it was your advice that got me through it. You’ve changed the way I eat and fuel since participating in Swim Bike Fuel this past September. I get excited for your race reports. I’ve learned so much from you. You’ve impacted my life way more than I ever would have expected the day I stumbled across your blog for the first time.

    I think you’re a total badass. You’re a great writer, you’re funny as hell, and your honesty is invaluable. I’m SO GLAD you are always honest. I’m SO GLAD you don’t sugarcoat. And I think what you have created is beautiful. I cannot imagine how much work it is. And – I mean this sincerely – I think the triathlon community is better because of what you have created.

    I hope you had a great birthday and I hope you can feel all the love I’m sending from Boston 🙂

    Reply
    • Jocelyn

      November 19, 2015 at 1:37 pm

      Hi Sara – I read your comment on the Run Disney post and I thought it was helpful/interesting. Not rude. I did not get the impression at all that you were coming off as a “hater” in any way. 🙂

      Reply
    • Colleen

      November 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      I re-read your disney response, Sara, and thought it was fine. You expressed a different opinion with some good information for people to read and think about… so they can then make their OWN opinion about doing a disney race. You wrote with respect, and expressed yourself while honoring Meredith’s opinion as being a valid one, too. Let your Disney Freak Flag Fly!!! Ha ha! I thought you did great!!

      Reply
  • stephanie

    November 19, 2015 at 6:11 am

    Go Mere! (And happy birthday!) Your venting makes this site real which is way more important to me than positive. If SBM can have a bad day then it’s ok for me to have one, too. Anyone who needs unending positivity probably needs another glass of wine. Or tequila shot.

    Reply
  • Alice

    November 19, 2015 at 6:52 am

    I for one find you so much more inspiring because it is not all sunshine and light. It’s not! And negative race reviews have to be done so that the positive ones actually mean something. yours is one of my favourite blogs full stop because of the honesty with which you post, please don’t stop!

    Reply
  • Robin

    November 19, 2015 at 6:57 am

    We’ve never met. I’ve never commented on your blog posts or your instagram feed. I don’t even do triathlons! And I don’t have kids? WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE? 🙂 But I do work to transform my life, I do struggle with self image, and I do compete in races (half marathons and duathlons). I do practice the power of performance to improve myself.

    And I do feel like you have a made a positive difference in my life. I know you have. So many times I’m struggling through a run because my pace is so slow I wonder if I have some sort of degenerative disease, and I think, Meredith struggles too, and she keeps going. So many times I want to beat myself up for bad food choices and I think, so many people struggle with this, you’re not alone, you’re not broken, you’re just human.

    So many times I have pushed myself to keep moving forward because I read something you said, or identified with your journey. So many times I have found a reason to think things will get better because I’ve seen them get better for you. So many times I have stopped judging myself so harshly because I have seen your courage to get past that mean inner voice.

    I’m sad for the people who have to say mean things to you. I’m sad for the world that there is so much hate out there. I don’t always understand it. But I hope you take some comfort in knowing that all your hard work has made a real difference in the lives of people you never even see, probably never will.

    I’m obsessed with the musical Hamilton – one of the many things this show is about is the conflict between Hamilton, a guy who stands up for what he believes in and fights, even though it makes him a target, versus Aaron Burr – a guy who holds back, doesn’t put himself on the line, doesn’t risk anything. (Hamilton, in short, is the guy who writes the blog. Burr is the anonymous guy who hides in the comments throwing hate.) At a turning point in the show, Hamilton sings this to Burr about the need to step up and stand for something, to put yourself on the line: “When you got skin in the game, you stay in the game. But you don’t get to win unless you play in the game. You get love for it. You get hate for it. You get nothing if you just wait for it. God help and forgive me, I want to build something that’s gonna out live me.”

    You’ve built something that’s gonna outlive you – not just the blog, but the people you’ve changed that you will never even see.

    Happy birthday indeed.

    Reply
  • Amy

    November 19, 2015 at 8:34 am

    I love it when you get a little po’d! That’s when I really connect with you!! It makes me feel more normal to have an occasional negative thought, or frequent self esteem issues. It makes me glad to hear that I am not the only one who sees through some of the bullshit and calls a spade a spade! I love to encourage and support our “Tri be” but there are times when REAL LIFE is slapping us in the face and we need to be able to say that without tip toeing around people feelings! When did we, especially endurance athletes, become so sensitive….
    Keep speaking honestly, haters gonna hate!

    Reply
    • Kate

      November 19, 2015 at 9:40 am

      Yes!!! Agree with your comment SO much. Real life is REAL. It’s not always puppies and ice cream and rainbows. And sometimes (shocker) other people have opinions that are different that yours! (Again, shocker. How on earth did that happen? haha.)

      Reply
  • Kate

    November 19, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Meredith, you have initiated, lead, and cultivated a community of triathletes that is positive, that allows us to motivate each other, feel each other’s pain, and of course, swap training tips and race reports. I love reading ALL race reports. The perfect race with a PR, the race where someone gets lost and ends up in a field with cows (I don’t remember who wrote that one!), and the reports of challenges, crappy experiences, all of it. You’ve been able to cultivate this atmosphere because of your HONESTY. Every time. You always tell the truth even when it’s hard. I hate that people can hide behind their computers and fire off nastigrams and act like immature bullies. I don’t understand that mentality, not at all. Keep doing YOU, because you ROCK at being you, and we all enjoy being a part of the Army that you created. And HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! 🙂

    Reply
  • David

    November 19, 2015 at 10:21 am

    Happy Birthday to you!! Thank you for being honest and being real!! I appreciate all the hard work you do, because it matters to me! It keeps me going in my quest to tackle the TRI and life too!! I enjoy your honesty!! Please keep in mind people get strange with social media, just ignore them and keep moving!! If you ever come near the Chicago land area to race I will make a point to come out and cheer you on!! And give you a high five too!! Many thanks for your hard work that you do!! Now go and enjoy your Birthday and give yourself the treat of unplugging from social media for the day!! Sometimes unplugging for a day or two can be really refreshing to do!!

    Reply
  • Beth E.

    November 19, 2015 at 10:26 am

    I don’t often comment, because not being a mom, I don’t always know if I fit here, but I have to now. Meredith, you have been such a joy to watch blossom over the past several years. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your posts, as they always make me laugh and make me feel less alone about a lot of things. You have openly shared your struggles with your family, your marriage, your children, and balancing work, family, and training, and that is so refreshing. I don’t blame you for being tired of the social media crud. Many bloggers have thrown in the towel over it (I’ve been reading a lot of material for my class about all of the social media harassment that Serena Williams gets — yikes.) You need to do what’s best for your own well-being and for your family. I would certainly miss your sense of humor and watching you develop even more as a beautiful, strong woman. When I turned 40, my aunt told me that the best thing about turning 40 is that you don’t care what anyone thinks about you anymore, and I have to say that’s mostly been true for me. But I’m not in the public eye like you. I’ll finally wrap up by saying whether you like it or not, you are a role model for many women, and more than you’d probably ever guess. “We” love you.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth

    November 19, 2015 at 1:52 pm

    Wait a minute, you mean your blog is only about being POSITIVE in triathlon and life? I didn’t know it was a requirement that you have to be a positive influence! It’s YOUR blog after all. Jeez, if those are the rules you were supposed to keep, I would have tuned out LOOOONG ago. Tri (which as you often point out is a metaphor for life) isn’t always bloody flippin ‘butterflies and feel-good inspiration. It’s painful, it’s hard, and there are plenty of downsides. Your blog is your own, WE have the opportunity to be a part of it when and where we choose. You have provided a community for like-minded folk to feel like they belong. However, there’s always going to be a nutter or two in any community. Just like those crazy relatives most of us will have to spend time with this coming holiday. Just roll your eyes and send them to the kids table. Just keep moving forward! 🙂 PS- this Thanksgiving, I will be feeling grateful for your blog, and our Army.

    Reply
  • Helga Junold

    November 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Don’t stop. Stay real. Your post on Disney experience (which was very fair and even handed btw) was impressive. Journalists write the truth not what others expect to read. And, Thank you!
    H

    Reply
  • Karen

    November 19, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    Happy Birthday Meredith! I absolutely love your writing and find you to be such an inspiration! PLEASE keep doing what you are doing and ignore the haters! BTW I ran the wine and dine this month. I love disney but everything about that race SUCKED! Have a fabulous day!

    Reply
  • SoAnyway

    November 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Three things:
    1. Happy birthday! Looking at like from the other side of the 40 year wall I can tell you that it’s only gotten better from where you are to where I am
    2. You’ve been nothing but an inspiration to me. It’s no exaggeration to say that your example and encouragement (witting or un…) has completely changed the trajectory of my athletic “career.” Anyone who says you’re anything less than an unfailing lodestone for how we should be approaching triathlon is just flat wrong.
    3. It would be sad for me (or “us” if you will) if you gave up SBM because 5 (or 500, or 5000) people don’t like something you wrote. I guarantee you that for each nitwit who thinks you’ve somehow harmed the sport there are dozens who love what you do.

    You’re a phenomenon SBM 🙂

    Reply
  • Bryan

    November 19, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Happy birthday!
    You were at IMAZ? I volunteered this year too! I swear I saw someone at bike check in that looked like you (and your fam). I told them they looked familiar but I couldn’t place it. If that was you I appreciate you wanting to retain anonymity. I appreciate your effort on the blog (my wife blogs too and I see her at the computer in the middle of the night when I wake to use the bathroom. Then I go back to sleep ?).
    All my best in whatever your future!

    Reply
  • TriBabe Terry

    November 19, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    F*ck the haters. I appreciate your honesty, your sarcasm, your insight are your being you. You have a right to your opinion. Yes, SBM is a community, but you are not a “we”. Because of you, we became a community. Some might say you are our leader, but I think of you more as part of the group. Just know that there are more of us who love you and don’t want you to change how you present yourself, than those who don’t like it. You are a positive influence and don’t you forget it!

    Reply
  • Katie

    November 19, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    I saw you at IMAZ! It was during the run, right by the bridge near transition, you said good job or something to that effect, and I recognized you, but thought I might have hallucinated the whole thing as I didn’t know you’d flown all the way to Phoenix to cheer. THANK YOU! It was my first full Iron (and my last, I swear to God, lol…but I think you said the same thing!) and I was sooooo nervous. Like, the most nervous. I am a longtime lurker on your blog, and you have been so helpful to me. You are seriously pretty much the only voice for the normal non-Kona just-let-me-finish-this-alive athlete in all of Triathlete magazine, and I really, really love/need/am grateful for that. Happy birthday and thanks again for coming out to cheer, it was noticed and very appreciated!

    Reply
  • Liz

    November 20, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Even when you are writing about a bad experience or a “negative” race report you make me smile, so thanks for keeping you personality in all of these blogs. Things aren’t sunshine a roses all the time and its healthy that you express that. Sorry some people feel bummed out by that but maybe they should accept that people aren’t always there to make them feel better, they have to find ways to that themselves, which I think is your whole point. At least that’s one big takeaway of your writing for me.

    I’m finding myself putting down the social media machine lately because it hasn’t been healthy for me emotionally, and that’s probably tougher given that it’s you job, but maybe some unplugged time would help 🙂

    Happy birthday- hope you enjoy it!

    Reply
  • Cheryl Hutcheson

    November 20, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you for your posts. You encourage me to go for my goals. Just 5 k’s for now. Next year a 10k then looking forward to doing something I was told “you’ll never do that”. A triathlon!! Your struggles and triumphs inspire me to get off the couch and Go!!! Please don’t stop doing what you do

    Reply
  • Maty

    November 20, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    I read you today for the first time and was blown away. I’m a Disney person but read your review and completely related to your experience. And then I read this entry and wanted to say THANK YOU for standing up for your opinion and not being all rainbows and sunshine. You have gained a new fan!
    And by the way, happy birthday! The 40s will be great with your attitude.

    Reply
  • Andrea

    November 22, 2015 at 9:00 am

    I think you are awesome. I have loved reading your posts & following your progress since I started reading in 2011. I appreciate your honesty. Life isn’t always puppies & rainbows. You keep it real & I respect you for that.

    Happy Birthday!

    xoxo

    Reply
  • JR

    November 23, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    For what it’s worth, I am guy that stumbled across one of your race reports and enjoyed reading it enough to want to check back on a regular basis. Nothing has changed, keep up the great work, if you want to.

    Oh yeah, you are freakin’ cute.

    Reply

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