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One of Those Days

I’m having one of those days.

Those days where you are doing side planks with leg lifts (um, WTF, owwwww), and you crumple to the floor in tears, for no apparent reason. Well maybe not you, but me.  Me did.  I would call it hormonal, but that’s really not the case.

I’ve had a lot of neck and shoulder pain since the lady t-boned me in a car accident in September of 2015. Strangely, after the accident – I was okay for a while. Then it started creeping in (I hear that’s pretty common with auto accidents). And yeah, it’s excruciating at times, fine at other times, uncomfortable most of the time. I have numbness in my hand, tingling pretty frequently.

Swimming has been the biggest impact by the accident—and as such, something I used to love (swimming), has really fallen down on my list of likes–because it hurts, and I really struggle in the days after the swim. I swam this morning, and as I sit here and type, my right hand is dead cold… it’s so weird.  Lately the neck has been a really causing sleep issues, too.

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And this AM, on the side plank, the pain just wailed through me, and then I just had the rush of things running through my head:  You suck.  This is ridiculous. Who do you think you are, trying to workout at all?

[That last one was realllllllly, stupid by the way.]

I have made massive gains with the talk between my ears over the years, but today, it was like the old Meredith from 2013 appeared and took over my mind (and my body, for that matter).

“Somebody once told me the definition of hell: ‘On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.’ — Anonymous

(I’ve heard this quote before, but saw it again on a really great article here, if you want more reading.)

Sometimes, I guess I get tired of trying to become anything, tired of “becoming” and I just want to “be.”

What am I working so hard to swim for? To run? What do I care? I mean, I’ve accomplished enough in swim and bike and run to make me happy.  ME happy.  I am fine with what I have done in this sport, and it’s been a great ride, and journey…

So why do I keep trying?

TO GO FASTER!  To RUN faster! But why? Because I am slow?

I have to laugh. First off, I didn’t know that I was trying to make the Olympics. And second, I never started running for speed in the first place.

I ran because when I started… I could NOT run.  I couldn’t run (at all). And slowly but surely, then I could, and then I did more.

Running has NEVER been about the speed for me.  It’s been about the effing proof that I can lean on something long enough—and slowly, but surely, I can change.  I can go from a 40 minute 5k to a 27 minute 5k. I can go from the couch to a triathlon, from point A to point B, no matter what speed, and I can go places I NEVER believed I could, in a million years.

[Read this post, and ask if this girl had ANY shot of being an Ironman from the likes of that?]

But I did.

And… that, people, that is what running (and triathlon, for that matter) is for me.  Running, at whatever speed, is proof that you are not a tree. Running proves that we, as people, can change.  Lord, I have changed.  And I love that!  Holy heck, that’s good stuff.

I felt that way wholeheartedly, until I started thinking I should be faster.

It’s the natural progression, I guess, with sport—further, faster, stronger, harder.

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Why do I care? Should I care?  Why keep trying?

Because I go back to the fact that triathlon is hard.

I am built for lifting heavy things, not traipsing through the woods like a gazelle. Triathlon challenges me every single freaking day.  It challenges my mind, my heart, my willpower, my ability to remain positive.

And at the end of the day, progress and action and all that makes me happy.  

So… in the spirit of that quote, what if the person I became meets the person I could have become—and they are the same person?

Ohhhhhh, snap. Take that, Hell!

Maybe.  Maybe I can become exactly who I want to be.

Maybe, just maybe if I work really really hard…

But I have a day like today, and I think: I don’t care.

But I DO care. I do.

At the end of my life, when I stand before God, I just want to say that I gave it all my best effort.  And if that means I never got a lick faster? Who cares.

Separating the truly-caring-about-life and triathlon from the doldrums or a “bad” day is tough. I have been dealing with depression a lot of my life, and I have to work really hard to not let the teeth of one bad day really dig in and get me. Since quitting drinking, the depression does not get me like it used to.  That random bad day, however, can manage to show up.  I am not immune.

I realized today, as my neck throbbed and my shoulder hurt in the pool today after strength, that I didn’t care about getting faster.  Truly, didn’t. Today, at least.

I care about my mental health.  What I feel.  What my family feels. How I make them feel. [I care about talking to my son, who can get himself into a righteous funk, right between his own ears, very easily—just like I can do.  And I care, that from experience, I know how to help him.]

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I have no point to this post, as is often the case when I just open up the browser and go.

I just wanted to say that maybe swim, bike and run is actually not all about speed.

Maybe, just maybe, this sport is about relationships. 

Maybe triathlon is about how you treat people you love, and how it benefits your life—not hinders it. Maybe triathlon is a testament to how you treat yourself.  How you can go to sleep at night.  Maybe the sport about how you talk about people when they aren’t looking. Perhaps triathlon is about being fiercely generous–only to have it thrown in your face.  I don’t care about the murmurs, the drama, the lies, the gossip.

I care about what matters–relationships and community.  I care about the people I love and how my broke ass neck impacts them… not how it impacts my swimming. Triathlon is not my master.  It’s just a sport. It’s just something I do because I love and hate it, at the same time. That’s all.

Because right now… that’s what I deeply care about—relationships.  My people.  And those who are lost and down on themselves, like I have so often been–and thankfully I found this sport.  It saved me.  And no matter what, I care about that—and keeping on.

Today, I don’t really have a plan to “snap out of it,” except create a plan and try and execute on it. And I’ll share what my plan is:  eat well today, get some rest, take care of the kiddos, and read before bed.  In between there’s all the things that one “has” to do like bills, work, laundry and whatever.

But, I just wanted to say that it ain’t all sunshine and roses over here, I guess.

And that, in case you missed me, the crying and emotional messy Meredith is loud and proud today.

Sometimes, I just feel like maybe I should share that… in case you are feeling the same way.

#youarenotalone
#justkeepmovingforward

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13 Comments

  • Alice

    January 10, 2017 at 2:43 pm

    Yes! I loved this post because it was strong, and vulnerable, and a bit chaotic, yet to the point. You’re officially my #1 girl crush of the week (and there was Meryl Streep. So yeah.).

    Reply
  • Darra

    January 10, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    Yes we all get tired of “becoming” and just want to “be” especially when most of work is happy with just “be-ing.” You feel lonely *and* tired. When that happens to me I reach for a book, spend some time in the sunshine…just some small things that help my mind get focused instead of racing off on tangents.

    Reply
  • Wendy

    January 10, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    You channel so much of my thoughts and feelings. All. The. Time. Thank you for being so open to sharing all of your experiences! We are better for it.

    Reply
  • Sara Pank

    January 10, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    Know what….your post just made me WANT to try the indoor trainer again. It is tough when our body does not do what our MIND demands. Nerves burned in my lumbar spine last week and awaiting a hip injection/MRI next week I ask myself “Why?” Why do I still need to do this sport? Because the most alive I have felt is crossing the finish line! So pull up the big girl panties…roll with the punches….control all things you are able…and let go of the things you can’t. Get your neck figured out and get the treatment that is available if any. But what we must all learn is moderation…something triathletes know little about.:)

    Reply
  • Crystal B

    January 11, 2017 at 10:55 am

    I’m in that starting place right now. My asthma has been kicking my ass over the last while. But I had a recent scare where I couldn’t breathe and my left arm seized up and my husband was freaking out because he thought I was having a heart attack (it was a really bad asthma attack and a pinched nerve in my arm). I’m only 34. I can’t be having a freaking heart attack. I’ve got stuff to do. I’ve got a kid in first grade.
    I’ve spent the last year being down on myself because I couldn’t climb the freaking stairs without puffing on my inhaler. I spent a year (and way to much weight) moping on the couch because “if I can’t even get around the block, what’s the point”. And the point is that it will get better. I can’t get all the way around the block. YET. I used to be so brave, and then I got older and I let my internal negative B take the driver’s seat. Your last few posts have been kicking me in the ass. So thank you! I need someone to tell me it gets better. 🙂

    Reply
  • Courtney

    January 11, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    Have you seen your active release guy for your neck issues? Dynamic Spine and Sport in Kennesaw is amazing. Dr. Scoville is a miracle worker he’s saved me multiple times. I hope the neck pain and hand numbness gets better ?

    Reply
  • Sarah

    January 13, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Thank you. It feels good to know that we are not alone, that I am not alone to feel that way. You put down in words all my chaotic thoughts right now and I can’t thank you enough for that.

    Reply
  • Adjusted Reality

    January 19, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    ““Somebody once told me the definition of hell: ‘On your last day on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” Oooh. That is definitely something to ponder. Part of me feels like I’ve accomplished a lot and there’s another part that wants so much more. I hope you get some relief for your neck issues!

    Reply

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