Subscribe

All the Posts

Truth. Fear. Compassion.

Well, it happened. I started working on a new book. Wait! Before any of you get too excited (or not excited at all)… it’s a three-year project. So, I have been slowly working on it, and realizing it’s a long process, but I was feeling good about it.

During talking about the new one, I had a conversation with a friend about my first (er, only) book. 

She said, “I can’t believe you wrote that book.”
I said, “Yeah. I don’t know where I found the time with the kids so young. It’s all a—”
“No,” she interrupted. “That’s not it.  The book. The voice in it. It doesn’t seem to… match you.”

Oh, another one?  Waaaaaaa —-we like the OLD Swim Bike Mom!

I didn’t respond, and kind of stared at her. Okay?

She went on, “It’s not that it’s negative. It’s just—something else. I don’t know. I can’t put my finger on it. ANYWAY…  I am looking forward to your new book!” she smiled, and that was that.

Okay?

I went back and flipped through the book.

Ah, I think I see…

Short story: I wrote Triathlon for the Every Woman in 2012 – after finishing my first half Ironman race in Miami, long before any Ironman finishes, long before coaching education, many injuries and the like.  So, yeah, it was a long time ago, that I wrote it.

[Triathlon years are like dog years.]

Ironman 70.3 Augusta, 2012

I am so thankful that I wrote it when I did. Because so many of the feelings, emotions, thoughts and doubts that are in that book–I would have forgotten 90% of them had I not penned them down at that time. I would have forgotten to break down triathlon terms to the bare minimums, to talk about packing a gym bag, the tiers of goals, the open water panics.  I wouldn’t have remembered the details necessary to be so open about the trials and troubles I faced with starting out in the sport.

Of course, I see many things that need updating, changing, and some statements that are generally wrong (at this point, over four years later–of course), but as a whole, I still stand behind the book.

But the voice in it… I see what my friend meant.

My voice has most assuredly, most definitely changed since I wrote the book.

People who didn’t like the book and have posted reviews—their main complaints are basically:  The writer has no confidence! She complains about being a lawyer!  She complains about being fat! The book is so long! She is fat and has no right to give advice! I am sad for her and her children!

Guess what? I am fairly certain that all those things can true, to a degree.  Everyone should be sad for anyone’s children, by the way–parents are notorious for screwing up children. Take a look around. And I am very certain that the book is long–it’s a giant book, I’ll give you that also.

IMG_8213[1]

But again—I don’t regret anything I wrote in the book (aside from the things that I would logistically change, now)… because all those words, those stories, those emotions? At the time of publication?  They were truths.  

And the backstory of that entire book?  My entire life, at the time?

Well, it can be summed up in a few words:  Truth. Fear. Compassion. 

I shared my TRUTH, because I understood what it was like to have FEAR, and I was COMPASSIONATE to anyone–anyone at all–who had experienced a smidgen of those same truths, those same fears. I was there to help, in the only way I knew. To talk about it.

The war within my head, and many of the same issues, still exist–to a degree–but my voice has changed.

Where I no longer fear the open water or my body publicly running, I have other fears:  failure, embarrassment, purpose, regret, timing.  

I have made a vast improvement on the funny fat girl routine. (Case in point at the gym today, I cracked a weight joke about the teetering steps that I was supposed to use, and my trainer said, “Was that a joke?” and my friend said, “Nope, not funny.”  Okay, fine… Touche. #WorkInProgress)

IMG_8222[1]

Sometimes I sit in front of the computer, and just stare, tho. I used to write constantly, and all the time, about whatever.  About the kids, the time I threw the cupcakes, our hell house adventures, the Expert.

But I tried to dial all those things back, especially as the kids are older… it’s funny to talk about the time Stella spread poop all over her room, because she was 2. Not so funny if I was to say the same now (and no, she didn’t do that recently.)

And the Expert and I used to ride bikes together–until he had the “man-trum” (man tantrum), followed a few months later with massive blow-out fight on a ride that culminated in: “I am never riding with YOU again. And keep me off your stupid blog.” (Hence his notable absence from the blog—for, I don’t know, the span of more or less the last two point five years.)  Whoops, I guess I talked about it afterall.

The Way We Were. :)

The Way We Were. 🙂

The Way We Are. 🙂

A rare cameo. 🙂

So yes.  My voice has changed.  And that’s okay.

I fear that when I write now, because so many more people are reading (or opening, and then clicking “unlike”), that the things I say don’t matter. That writing what I know or feel, or even just writing “for myself” isn’t enough–it isn’t enough to even try, sometimes.  That I need to go-go-gadget arm to write, and to REACH someone… Who is out there? Who is scared? Who refuses to run in public? Who is sad, alone, fat (real fat or self-though fat, whatever), and needs a goal?  Can I help? How can I help? What can I do? 

Truth. Fear. Compassion.

I realized today that the war within my head, or heart–is largely a game of perception, pain and truths. The things that I tell myself when I lay down to sleep, are the things that I need to deal with, talk about, write about–maybe not write about everything, but those are things that started my journey in the first place. So those are the things and the path that matter, too.

IMG_8052[1]

Sure. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I write. Who cares what anyone writes, right?  It matters what I say, what I do–who I am, what my tapestry is made of.  It matters what the three other people in the walls of this house think of me, as their mom and wife.  And to them, doesn’t matter if I race another race, run another run, or quit entirely–in the grand scheme of things.  (Well, it might–because an endorphin rich momma makes for a happier momma). 🙂

Being on a journey like I have been on, for the past six years, has been tough on my family. But tough in a good way, I think they would say. I have become a completely different person through triathlon, and it’s a good thing.

Sure, my voice has changed–because I have changed.  And change?  Well, it’s good.  And it’s okay.

I am not the same person the Expert married. He’s not the same man I married, either.  The kids are actual PEOPLE now, not just drooling, crying-things smashing Goldfish into the car seats… humans.  How scary is that?

IMG_8279[1]

As I look back on the truth, I have this:  gratitude.

As I think about the fear, I have this one:  losing those who I love, those with whom I have built my little history.

And with the last element, compassion, I say this:  I thank you for being a part my journey, for as long as you have–whether since 2010, or last week.  And while I don’t know how useful I am sometimes, I do hope that you know you can always reach out to me… if you ever think of someway I can help you, your cause, your tri journey.

Today, I am eight months sober.

And I had a Chick-Fil-A cookie shake for lunch, which wasn’t ideal and a bit of a side step from yesterday’s clean eats and new size 10 jeans. But it’s Friday, it falls under something I am not going to stress about, and it wasn’t “the Number Five, twelve count nugget, large sized with diet coke and shake” too.  So that’s good. And hey–I’m not pouring a martini right now. I’m not having the internal battle, trying to figure out how I can drink all the drinks tonight, and still pull off a 4 hour ride tomorrow.

IMG_7452[1]

Sobriety, for me, has been the biggest truth and the biggest fear–I am grateful for every day.

It’s been a rollercoaster of a last six years–all kinds of loops, screaming, and upside downs–many things that are public, and many more you probably couldn’t imagine.  So with my internal battles and with all the compassion I have in me, I lay down the mouse and walk away from the computer for the day, and say:

I’m here if you ever need me. And I really do mean it.

Have a great weekend friends.

#JustKeepMovingForward #RamblingPost #WhatElseIsNew

M

749e12193d9d2fa7f43c41516881036d

39 Comments

    • Emily

      August 12, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      I started my triathalon dream because of your blog amd your book. I was the fat girl who ran at night and swam at 4:30 am because i was afraid to be seen in a swimsuit. I knew inside of me i had to complete this goal in my life that a very younger version and thinner had set. Today four years later i have completed three and four and five are coming in october. I have gain weight back okay a lot of weight but i am still moving and know that with that motivation to weight will go away again.

      Reply
  • Monica Johnson-Null

    August 12, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    I love you Meredith! You are always there when I need you most whether you realize it or not! Life has thrown us so many curve balls over the years and you know what? We’ve conquered them one way or another! I’m staring a whole new career in the eyes right now, and I’m scared to death. Job contracts, boards, salary negotiations, schedules, hubby starting new job, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I want to get off this ride now, but guess what? I’m so excited for this next new chapter too. And hopefully in a few short months, this too will be my new normal. Then maybe I can finally get my body back and start slowly training again!

    Sorry for the long post, but I guess I have some weirdness on the brain right now. Anyway, I love you Meredith! Thank you for always being there!!!!

    Reply
  • Heather Briggs

    August 12, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    Can I just say, I LOVE YOU! You are the true meaning of strength and encouragement! You inspired me from the beginning and you still do!

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    August 12, 2016 at 6:26 pm

    I loved your first book!! I laughed so many times! Forget the haters. They will always be there. People are rude. Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • Beth Vonau

    August 12, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I too am a Mother, Litigation Attorney, Wife, Business Owner and 1 year into Tri. I have fought my weight my whole life. I also fight insecurity, anxiety and depression. Keep writing! Keep moving forward! Keep taking care of yourself. You are an inspiration to me and my Sister who found you first. Be your best self because YOU are awesome!!!

    Reply
  • Nicole K.

    August 12, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    So grateful for your honesty. Thank you for having an impact on me & my triathlon journey. I hope to one day work with you. Congrats on your 8 months sober & an even bigger congrats on your forever life change. Always best wishes to you & your family. <3

    Reply
  • Sheila Kolesar

    August 12, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    Congrats on being sober for the past 8 months.

    Loved your book way back when, and love it still (yes I re-read it). The story I LOVED the most and had the most impact on me was the Alcatraz swimmer.

    I shared your book with a tall lean lawyer friend who was new to triathlon. She loved it too.

    Reply
  • Judy

    August 12, 2016 at 6:54 pm

    I loved your book when I read it a few years ago, and I’ve enjoyed your blog ever since, the writing and the pics, the stories and the insights. And I really love your sense of humor. This is a great post – thank you! Now I’m really looking forward to your new book (no pressure though!)

    Reply
  • Mary Lou

    August 12, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    My impression of your writing is there is less drama. That comes with a sober lifestyle. I still read, relish & absorb every post because you continue to inspire by sharing your truth. Thanks, Meredith & congrats on 8 months! Each day – a gift.

    Reply
  • Marcia

    August 12, 2016 at 7:44 pm

    I loved your book and I love learning about life through your journey. Change is good!! So needless to say you’re an inspiration and I wish you lived next door 🙂

    Reply
  • Lisa Camera

    August 12, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    In 37 days, i will compete in my first HIM to cap off my third Tri season. I will be 60yo. You and SBM have been a part of it from almost the first day. I think Jan Stover sent in my name. From Traincation to the first SBF, you and your journey are intwined with mine. I was a sad, fat, tired 58yo when a gf said i should try this local Tri team. When people ask me what discipline i come from i say, “the couch”. As a single mom for the last 22yrs, triathlon is the gift i give myself everyday. It gives back to me so much more then fitness and a size 4 dress at my sons wedding. When i cross the finish line in AC, i will be wearing a TriFe kit, and i will be smiling from my soul. Thank you Meredith!

    Reply
  • Lisa Hemann

    August 12, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I loved your book so much and have really enjoyed watching your evolution over the years. Especially this year – it’s been amazing and inspiring. Your willingness to show the good the bad and the ugly is the most helpful thing you do. I’m always grateful that I found your blog.

    Reply
  • Amanda F.

    August 13, 2016 at 10:59 am

    I am one of your original readers. But I haven’t been reading much this year. So I went back and caught up on some of what I’ve missed. Awhile back, I posted a comment that I wasn’t interested in your blog if it wasn’t you writing it. I was beyond selfish. I don’t think I really thought about what it must be like to share your story with the world. How much it can take out of you. All I knew was your blog made me feel like you were actually my friend. But I realize now that although many felt that way, many did not. And, yet, you have continued to share much of your life. I still totally admire you. Although we started our triathlon journey at the same time, you have come a long way. I can’t imagine sharing almost everything with the world for the last six years.

    Reply
  • Barb

    August 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Loved the first book. Read it 3 times. When I did my first sprint Tri in June I knew exactly what to expect. Not negative. HONEST. Can’t wait for your new book

    Reply
  • Allanna

    August 13, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    I was four stone overweight and planning to do my first proper triathlon (ironman 70.3), 9 months after giving birth. Your book inspired me greatly and helped give me the confidence to train hard and complete it. I have another coming up in 7 weeks and have lost 3 of the 4 stone. You play a big role in inspiring women to become triathletes and as Tara Mohr says, ‘women who play big, get criticised, period’. You might make a few changes in the way you approach this new book as a result of some of the useful feedback, but don’t allow the ‘non relevant feedback’, discredit the huge value your first book has brought to many.

    Reply
  • Bridget

    August 13, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I am seven months sober next week & a big part of finally seizing the” real-deal, full-on, okay I can say it: SOBRIETY” was your inspiring example. Thanks so much for your bravery & transparency & for putting it out there. It’s more important that you may ever know. Very grateful. Also, love the first book (have read & listened to it several times) and looking so forward to the next.

    Reply
  • Vickery

    August 14, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Just finished your book a week ago, and my first sprint tri yesterday. I appreciate your voice then and now and am grateful for my 2hr 4 min finish even if I was last in my age group 🙂 keep writing, things should change or you’re not living!

    Reply
  • Jennifer

    August 15, 2016 at 7:51 am

    You are just one amazing woman. Congratulations for all of your success. I was doing a tri this past Sunday here in Pennsylvania and I was waiting for my heat by the lake. There was a family waiting with a little girl wading in the lake because it was 95+ degrees. On this 4 year old’s arm was a tiny tattoo. I knew it instantly. I asked the Dad was it from Swim Bike Mom? Of course he said Yes and spoke about her Mom’s tri race. You are inspiring families all across this world and even now inspiring our little ones. Thank you for the work that you are doing. You are going a fantastic job! Well done my friend.

    Reply
  • Belle

    August 16, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    I just wanted to say that I recently started reading your blog and I bought your book also. I’m a lawyer, wife, and mom of a boy and girl training for my first triathlon and your book and blog posts (both past and more recent) are really inspirational to me. I appreciate you taking the risk of sharing your journey. Thank you!!

    Reply
  • Jeanne Diedrich Harrison

    August 27, 2016 at 12:14 am

    I am a little behind on my blog reading and I rarely comment, but as I sit here at ten minutes after midnight, waiting for my 15yo sons football bus to arrive back at the high school, I have fallen in love with you all over again. Just like I did that very first time I read your book back in 2013. I love who you are. I love what you have done for all women. I especially love how you have shared yourself open and honestly with us. Love you Meredith. Keep moving forward!

    Reply
  • Lorie Toplikar

    October 8, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    You started me on this journey in 2014 when I read your book and I’m so grateful. Thank you for being who you are and encouraging others to do big things. As a wife and Mother of 7, I need this sport. It keeps me sane. It is crazy busy but my family likes me when I’m training.
    The motto just keep moving forward has kept me moving forward even when I didnt feel like it.

    Reply

Leave a Reply