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 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.”
Why can’t I just 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.
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 after CrossFit, that I didn’t care about getting faster in triathlon or any other sport. Truly, didn’t. (Today, at least.)
But I do care about the sport, and I do care.
I care about my mental health. About getting stronger so I feel better. About having a body that will work for me, well into my late years. I care about how 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.]
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 moving our bodies is about how you treat people you love, and how it benefits your life—not hinders it.
Maybe swimming is a testament to how you treat yourself. How you can sleep at night.
Maybe running is really about how you talk about people when they aren’t looking.
Perhaps cycling is about being fiercely generous–even when it’s later forgotten, thrown in your face.
I don’t know what triathlon is about. Maybe it’s just fun. But it’s more than that. I know it. You know it.
At the end of the day, though, despite the year of NONSENSE (2017), I am rooted firmly in who and what I love.
I care about what matters–relationships and community. I care about the people I love and those who continue to be a part of my life. I deeply care about those who are lost and down on themselves, like I have so often been–and thankfully I found this sport.
It saved me.
But anything can “save” you–when you are ready to be saved.
Triathlon is not my master. I don’t owe it my life because it saved me once upon a time. It’s just a sport. It’s just something I do because I love and hate it, sometimes all at the same time.
I love my people. That’s why I keep going.
Post adapted from January 2017