Subscribe

All the Posts

People Pleasing and Goodbye to Race Season

I’ve spent most of my life perfecting the fine art of “people-pleasing .”

Which is a major reason that I like having a coach.  I like to make people (specifically authoritative figures in my life – parents, coaches, bosses) happy.  The benefit of a tri coach and people-pleasing is that I do the workouts. I did my swim this morning for the sole reason of making my coach happy. (And it did make him happy, and he sent me a nice text).

I told him that it didn’t make me happy.  [And that’s okay, too. I did a workout. Winning.]

The downside of people-pleasing and having is a coach is that when you don’t do the workouts–you can swing wildly to the other side of the spectrum: the “I am worthless” and “I will never amount to anything in this sport” side.

I think there is a fine line between healthy people-pleasing , and making yourself absolutely miserable.

I was talking with my fellow people-pleasing friend, Becky.

During our conversation, one of the fine folks in the LifeCafe brought over a half of a smoothie to the table–excess from another smoothie that someone bought–and gave it to me.

He said, “It’s whey protein powder, but it’s really good. Don’t know if you do dairy… but here you go!”

And I smiled at him and I said, “Well, thank you so much!”  And I took a sip.

Okay. So pause for a minute. Several things going on here.

1) The guy was nice to think of me.

2) I showed my appreciation and was polite–accepting the smoothie.  EVEN though he gave me an out – I could have said, “No I don’t do dairy” (even though I do) and that would have been it.

All is good until the next part… where I drank the smoothie that contained the protein that I avoid because I am allergic to it.

IMG_4319

People pleasing at its finest. And stupidly unnecessarily. I could have accepted it and not drank it, or whatever. Then I would have been polite AND stuck to my reasons for avoiding the protein powder.  I could have turned it down, politely.

But clearly, I operate on a large-scale, Wal-Mart-sized people pleasing mission.  I people please on the major things (like my profession) and the minor (like a stupid half of a smoothie that will make my throat itch, like all day).

Dumb.

Which is why not being a pushover and standing up for myself lately has been a big deal. Because I have realized that I don’t have to make people happy. I only have to try and do the best I can for myself and my family.

Being a pushover and a people-pleaser is totally related.  If you are a people-pleaser, this often stems from the fact that you can’t really stomach being disliked.  Being disliked stings.

So it’s easy to gravitate towards pushoverness.  Easy to find yourself putting up with toxic people and situations, because you are averse to being disliked by these people.

And how does that make anyone happy?

Dumb.

IMG_4321

Right now, triathlon does not make me happy.

Right now, triathlon is the proverbial “people” in my people pleasing world.

I love triathlon–as a general proposition.  But right now, I do not love doing triathlon.  I do not love training for triathlon.  (Maybe because I can’t run. I dunno). But, really,  I am people-pleasing through a sport that I want to quit (at the moment).  Or maybe just saying I am burned out is accurate.

Because I ran myself into a stress fracture in search of PRs and “I am a real runner status” – which is total bullshit, because who determines THAT status anyway?  Because I have spent four seasons chasing huge triathlon goals that were way out of my league–and achieving them—but then thinking, “Wow, I really don’t want to do that again. At least not under those circumstances.”

After having the best ending possible to a crazy season (bike crash, car crash) last year with a 15:28 at Ironman Louisville, and a fabulous half marathon as an opener this season, I thought I loved every thing about it…

In asking myself what makes me happy in this sport, I have really had to think.

I started this sport for a few reasons.  I was miserable. Out of shape. Sad. So full of self-loathing, it’s incredible. Addicted.

Triathlon training and racing has been a massive gift to me… it has allowed me to find so many things. I have said it time and time again–this sport allowed me to see the world and my blessings through another lens.

So much is good. But there are so many parts of the sport and this world that do not make me happy right now.

And that’s when it’s time to take a step back.

Right now, I am really enjoying doing other things, too.

Getting my push-ups on.  Swimming.  Some riding. Still can’t run, but I do the StairMill for hours… so I’m not the next candidate for my 600-lb Life.

In fact, it’s the opposite, really.  My health and nutrition is the best it’s ever (ever…like ever) been.  That makes me really grateful, too. To have worked through many of the food and alcohol issues.

Of course, I still struggle… but I am empowered. I am grateful. I am in control.

IMG_4308

But that’s not triathlon. That’s pure and simple—self-care and health.

A major component I was lacking for my whole life.  It’s funny that I found triathlon first.  And over the last five years, I have very slowly, through major trial, hurt, heartache and error, learned to love and care for me properly–so I can then love those around me properly.

So I’m still here. I’m still working out.  I’m still traveling to triathlons where my girls are racing: Ironman Texas, Ironman Choo 70.3 (the Expert–not one of my girls, though he is one of my athletes…), and Ironman Lake Placid.  And because I do love this sport in general, I’m still very much doing many triathlon things–cheering, coaching, writing, etc…

…but I will not be people-pleasing my way through the 2016 season on my own two feet or wheels just for the hell of a it. Just so I have something to talk or write about.

I may change my mind once I get off the injury. But probably not.

Part of being the best me possible (my main goal for this year, if you’ll recall) is about being open to change.

Whatever that means, and in whatever form is required. Listening to my heart.  Listening to my family’s needs. To my kids and their feelings. And right now, my kids want to crawl in bed with mom in the morning and snuggle, and not talk to me from my perch on the bike trainer… so I’ve been doing that more lately.  

I’ve been sleeping. I’ve been joyfully sitting at baseball games instead of swimming thousands of meters.

And throwing pitches. “Mom, you really are a terrible pitcher…”

IMG_4301

I have been allowing myself the grace to recover from injury without rushing back and fretting and panicking about the future races and the endless time-bomb ticking timelines…

Because this sport also doesn’t feed my family, I am listening to my precious baby birds–and I am going to feed them.  And feed them on my terms, mind you.  [Not the way the people-pleasers or fakers or haters or whatevers tell me I should too.]

So this triathlon race season? What season?

To be honest, it just doesn’t matter a lick to me right now.

And that is okay.

#JustKeepMovingForward

28 Comments

  • Blake

    May 11, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    This was exactly me 2 years ago. I dove into triathlon doing back to back BIG races and loved it, but soon got burned out. My 3 littles missed mom and I missed being mom so I decided it was time for a break. Fast forward and I’m still working out and healthy – I hardly ever bike or swim or run, but that’s ok. My new triathlon goal to complete one the year I turn 40 (4 years from now) when my kids will be old enough to sleep through my morning workouts home alone or be old enough to join me! I was starting to think you might be a machine (in a envious sort of way) and it’s lovely to know that we are all dealing with the same issues!

    Reply
  • Amy

    May 11, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    Interesting! I love reading your latest adventures in self-actualization. I commend your bravery to make this journey public. It sounds like a good choice to step back from tri. I tell my kids about their sports and my big kids (adults I coach) you have to love every part of your sport: training, racing, winning and losing – or it’s not worth doing.

    On a deeper note, if you’ll take worthless suggestions from a stranger on the Internet: I think happiness can be tricky. I recommend the book by the Dalai Lama on happiness if you haven’t already read it.

    Reply
  • Kelly

    May 11, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Great article. I have a no race season right now also and am enjoying the same things on my terms as you are.

    I admire the courage and the clarity that is coming not only from being injured and unable to race but from the not drinking and food stuff.

    You can inspire in so many ways, and it doesn’t have to be 5 big races! Hugs from a people pleaser also.

    Reply
  • Heather Neudigate

    May 11, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Wow. Are you sure we didn’t switch brains? ? This post spoke to me so SO much. Thank you for sharing your heart/journey, gal. You have a gift and I’m thankful for you. Praying for you this afternoon. ❤️

    Reply
  • Joan Kane

    May 11, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Ditto. I’m stepping back (not out) too. Fewer races and a whole lot less pressure to perform (aka please my coach). After you said you were not triathlon-ing this season I anxiously read through this post to make sure you’ll be in LP this summer. Looking forward to checking in with you in July to see how things are going. All the best to you, Meredith. 🙂

    Reply
  • Lisa

    May 11, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Oh may god! Me too! I miss yoga so much and every day I’m wondering why I’m making myself get on the bike when I’d rather do trail runs and learn inversions in a hot, sweaty yoga room. I feel extremely indecisive this season.

    Reply
  • Angie Z

    May 11, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Thank you for putting it all out there and saying its ok to walk away. It isn’t an always an easy decision, but showing it is ok to walk away and do other things in our lives that we need to do. Showing how important it is to listen to our bodies and minds about what we really need. I needed that.

    Reply
  • Cindy P

    May 11, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    Seriously?!!!!! I RARELY comment on ANY blog!
    YOU have just driven me to TWO posts on your blog…. and in ONE week!!!!
    I love you for your brave.
    …..for your honesty.
    …for your grit.
    ….for your perseverance.
    …for your Motherhood.
    ….for your sense of humor.
    …now I must add ‘Honey Badger’ to the list!
    I have SO much respect for you! We really should be ‘for real’ friends!
    Thank you~ That is all.
    Now I will return back into silent stalker mode. LOL

    Reply
  • Lori

    May 11, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    I completely understand where you are coming from on this. You have to do what’s right for you and what makes you happy.

    Reply
  • Nikita

    May 11, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    And this right here maam…. Is why I told you I connect with everything you say. Those kiddos missing me is huge, way larger than I ever thought it would be. Thank you for sharing and being so open and honest! Love ya!!!!

    Reply
  • Amanda

    May 11, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I think we are leading the same life. I’m done with triathlon too. I ready to sell it all, all, all but part of me wants to be smart about it and see if this is just a phase I’m going through. Training and racing in triathlons no longer makes me happy. Like you I love being surrounded by it but I’m done spending hours in the pool or on my trainer. Funny thing was that a few months ago I was set to buy a fancy new tri bike, because I thought maybe I’d like doing tris more if I had a better bike. I went to go pay and order it in my size but something said “don’t do it.” I came home and did some soul searching. Actually I looked over my Instagrsm account and noticed all my happy smiling photos were of me mountain biking or hiking. So that’s what I’ll do. I have one race on my calendar right now and that’s a 10k. And you know what? I’m going to walk that damn 10k!!! Why because I can and want to! I’m going to take in the sights, chat with racers who are also walking and look up to the sky and be thankful for that moment in my life! Happy (un)training to you! I’m right there with ya!

    Reply
  • Renee

    May 11, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    One of the best things to come from being 40 (at least, so far) is the ability to give less of a damn what other people think is important for me to do, or be, or spend my time on. As a life-long people pleaser (to a fault), I find myself in many of the same situations – I want to make everyone happy, and when they get there, I want to keep them happy..and invariably, I end up stretched thin six ways from Sunday until I absolutely crash. Hard. I’ve been this way my entire life. Not sure what, exactly, changed about being 40, but there was a subtle small shift that moved me out of the pleasing mode and into the, gosh…I-really-dont-have-to-if-I-don’t-want-to mode. It’s a great place to be…but I wish I had gotten here sooner. Nice post 🙂

    Reply
  • Christine

    May 11, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Well, I can’t say I’m happy to read that you’re stepping back from triathlon, but I totally get it. It’s easy to get burnt out and it seems like you’ve been living and breathing it for a long time now. I’m a little disappointed because this is my first season of triathlon and I’m eager and motivated and loved reading about your training and insight, since it’s in the perspective of a “normal” person and not an elite triathlete. From the little I can tell about you from reading your blog, it seems like you have the addictive, type A personality that goes head first into everything and gets fully immersed in it. I admire people like that, but then again, seems like there’s a downside too. Balance and moderation, right? Easier said than done!

    Reply
  • Joe

    May 11, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    There is a whole world outside of Ironman. You know the short races can be fun and less taxing on your body. I could understand why you’d get burnt out doing Ironman races but you’re a celebrity in Atlanta. I’m sure there’s a lot of people who’d like to see you out at Tri the Parks or Ga multi-sports. Just my two cents.

    Reply
  • Kelly

    May 11, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Preach. On.

    We are living some sort of parallel life! I Love to still keep up with you on social media…if you ever want to get a drink, have a play date (have a play date with drinks)…let me know 😉
    Kelly

    Reply
  • cherie

    May 11, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    I’m in my 34th year and still LOVE competing and training for triathlon! Racing makes me giggle and smile and jump for joy! I just completed my 127th and128th this last weekend (back to back – Oly followed by a sprint and placed both days in my AG!) It’s so much a part of my life that I can’t imagine life without it- but then I can’t imagine life without doing things w/hubby, daughter, my 40 years of teaching kids with special needs and the people with whom I work, gardening, hiking traveling, cooking, sewing….it’s a big world out there. Try to find a little time for everything that makes you happy!

    Reply
  • Alice

    May 12, 2016 at 8:39 am

    I found your site because I googled “what to wear for my first tri” a couple weeks ago. Your post saved me (the European nudist in me actually thought about changing in transition). Thank you! I’m a bit of a people pleaser too so I can relate. Good for you to do exactly what feels right to you (and nobody else). Rock on!

    Reply
  • Susie

    May 13, 2016 at 9:23 am

    I loved this post. I recently came off my first half ironman of the year back in april and set a HUGE PR of an hour and 6 minutes! I worked my butt off and felt so great during my training leading up to the race. Now I am prepping for the Vineman half in July and my body seems to be rejecting the training. I feel tired all the time, sore, and slow and yucky in my workouts. This is causing me to not enjoy my workouts. And I cant understand how I could go from feeling on top of the world and getting so strong to literally one month later feeling so gross. I am wondering now if it is worth it to continue training or say f-it and walk away since right now I feel like I am forcing my body to do something it is telling me it doesn’t want to do. Not sure which route I will choose but I totally get where you are coming from and it was a nice refreshing read to hear that even the most hard core triathlon people must make a choice to take a step back for their own well being.

    Reply
  • SoAnyway

    May 13, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve been injured and mostly unable to run since about October. Not being able to run has been shockingly hard on my self image – worse than that time I decided to DNS at CdA. Also, not running led to essentially no training at all and things have gone more or less sideways since then. Of course not backing off my eating with the dramatic reduction in my activity level didn’t help… You have my admiration for many things, but among them is your recent nutritional discipline, in particular in not gaining 15% of your body weight while your movement is limited 🙂

    So anyway, I’m a little surprised to hear that you’re essentially pulling the plug on the season, but I’m entirely certain that it will be the best thing for you :).

    Reply
  • Angie

    May 15, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Love your post. You gotta do what makes you happy. I am training for 70.3 number 3, but my third in 3 years. I only do one per year, and then smaller races leading up to it. So that is about 5 months of training and racing, then I take the next 7 months off and do whatever the hell I feel. I sometimes get the inch to load on another 70.3 or two, why not, that is what triathletes do right? But I would totally burn out. I also get lots of snuggle time with my little ones, which ALWAYS comes first. It is hard to find that balance but it’s there. Good luck, you are an inspiration!

    Reply
  • Linda

    May 17, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Oh how the mighty have fallen!

    Let’s see if I’ve got this straight.

    You stopped drinking but tried to say “no, I don’t have a problem, it’s all SBF! (Product placement) , got called on it, and miraculously, yeah you did go to AA at one time. Sober. Authentic.

    Best year ever coming right up #fiveraces – As you trained with your “coach” which had you obviously over training or was that just you? (Do you actually have a triathlon coach or do you consider the Lifetime Fitness personal trainer in the red shirt to be your “coach”.) Looking for a way out of your races? Who with a coach and training plan, gets injured. All your posts showed all the classic signs of over training. You’re a coach too right?

    What happen to the whole I’m not going to be just a finisher, I’m going to compete blah blah blah…..

    See, you write all these blogs about being real, authentic crap but really, nothing you’ve actually said you would do, you are actually doing. Except maybe food pics to promote SBF.

    So let’s add up your “authenticity”

    Drinking and eating- turns out admitting you have a drinking problem and asking for help, really does work! And no SBF necessary. (What’s your registration rate these days? )

    Epic Five Race Year- haven’t even done one and basically did what I predicted when you posted the whole “I’m a competitor”. Overtraining and , posting distances that made no sense for a 70.3 season opener. And just like last year, whole skipping major bike workouts, oops I have an injury. IM LV best race ever right?

    Do you want to know why you aren’t authentic? When everyone is able to predict that you aren’t actually going to race any of the races for this year back in January. When people who have been following your blogs for years see a recurring pattern of the whole “I’m real and I say what’s on my mind that’s why people don’t like me” whine, you do every six months, seriously look at your posts. You become predictable. The sad part is you don’t see it in yourself.

    So now that you have taken a break from triathlon, let’s see how long your followers last, if SBM merchandise continues to sell, if you just being a coach (who herself overtrained and gets injured, yeah I want that coach) and showing up at these races is enough for people to continue to buy into your authenticity.

    Triathlon doesn’t feed your family? So you don’t get royalties from your book about TRIATHLON, you make no profit margin OFF anything TRIATHLON you sell at SBS, nothing right?

    That tift you had with fellow woman blogger? Have you noticed in her Instagram she replies to every comment or addresses anyone who mentions her on Instagram, Facebook etc.

    You? You ignore everyone unless they are a friend sbcmama, yes they can say you are authenticate on every single IM picture, doesn’t make true.

    You surround yourself with yes people. The internet is the big bad world with the meanie, liars. No Mere you are the greatest!

    Just go back in time one day, sit and read through your blog and all these patterns will emerge. Yes, you’re thinner, not drinking and taking care of yourself. Good for you! But that doesn’t mean you’re anymore real.

    #epicyearfail
    #SBMisnomore
    #shereallydoesthinksheisRinny
    #yourenotRinny
    #watchSBMempirecollapsecomingrightup

    Reply
    • Sally

      May 17, 2016 at 8:30 pm

      Wow “Linda”. That was entirely unnecessary and really mean. And I’m pretty sure everyone else thinks so too. Your world must be pretty small and shallow if you spend this much time analyzing another human being who never did anything to you. Hashtag your bitchy ass off…. doesn’t make you classy or “authentic”…. Just makes you a lazy typist. #loser

      Reply
  • Mel

    May 17, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Wow- How sad your life must be that you spent that much time criticizing someone who has been such an inspiration to so many people. Your comments are so ridiculous they don’t even deserve a response.
    I wish I wouldn’t have wasted my time reading it. I guess it is like a bad car wreck- just can’t look away. I will be praying for you.

    Reply
  • Colleen

    May 18, 2016 at 9:00 am

    wow “linda” i wish i had this kind of free time to hate on someone i don’t know. even if what you have said is true (which its not but i’m not going to try to convince you of that) who cares? who really cares? just don’t read the blog or buy SBM product or enroll in SBF. maybe do something else, like rearrange your sock drawer or take up a hobby… some hobby or anything that isn’t mean and hurtful. Whether you think she is authentic or not, Meredith does happen to be a real actual human being with actual real feelings. She is not a computer nor does she live there. I hope you find a way to make peace with yourself because it seems like you must be really unhappy in your own life to completely attempt to rip apart another person’s creation, product, thoughts, and “empire” as you say. If you’ll excuse me, I am going to read Meredith’s latest blog, think about her points of view and how I agree/disagree, and go on with my actual life.

    Reply

Leave a Reply