Monday, October 06, 2008

An Ironman Dream Deferred

I've strayed away from this blog recently. But I've been sorting it all out in my head. Plugging along, training (or not) and racing on autopilot. Ignoring the cliffhanger I posed in early June about my plans for Ironman Florida in 2009. Perhaps scared to admit that I've chosen not to do an Ironman this year. Maybe worrying that I don't have it in me. Or that I've lost focus on that goal.
But recently, I've been taking some time to think more about me. Despite a new job that is challenging to say the least -- and the fact that I'm experiencing a major learning curve while I adjust and try to master new skills -- I've taking some time out to refect on me. The kids are at school, and one day a week, I try to squeeze in just a little time to focus on my goals. It's funny how you can put everything on hold, just by having kids. I feel like I've been on auto pilot for years. Finally, I'm taking the time to reflect and make some more deliberate decisions about my future. Decisions that require more thought that just the 1 hour nap time, or 2 hours squeezed in here or there.

I've been examining my career, my role with TRIgirls, what really makes me happy, and how I can live more passionately. I mean, that is why I started my triathlon journey in the first place. I wanted to feel alive, experience life more fully and to take some controlled risks -- out of my comfort zone to challeng myself. How can I balance being a full-time mom, an athlete, a TRIgirl team leader, a loving wife, a writer, a daughter, a sister, a PR & marketing coordinator, and blogger? Can I do well at all these things at the same time? Or, does something have to give? How do I choose to give less to one of these very important things or not put my heart fully into one of them. Until I recently took the time to reflect, I might not have lived my life as deliberately as I would have liked.

But things change. We grow older (and wiser). We write and reflect. We find that we are stronger than we realized. Then, we find something we need to be stronger for.

I'm not sure how this ties in other than It's helped me understand (without fear for a change) my own mortality. About 10 days ago, 2 friends were killed in a fire. They were not close friends, but still they were friends, and more importantly they were beautiful people trying to live their dreams. My grief for them is reminding me to balance goals in my life with relationships. To balance work with play. To live my life with no regrets. To place more emphasis on the people in my life that I love and respect. I regret not getting to know Oi and Nit more while they were here and now I've lost that opportunity. And, I'm trying to turn that regret into change in my life.

So, while I still have Ironman dreams, I'm thinking maybe now is not the best time to accomplish them. My son will never be 4 again. My daughter will never be 7 again. Maybe I'll wait until they are just a bit older. And maybe if I do that, they will understand more fully the sacrifice that an training for an Ironman takes. Maybe it will impact thier life differently --maybe they will be inspired.
Perhaps in a few years, I'll be in a better stage of my life to truly appreciate what completing an Ironman means as well. Maybe I'll be able to savor each mile more carefully, knowing that my family didn't make unwilling sacrifices for me to get there. I know I don't want to feel a tinge of guilt while I am fulfilling my dream. I don't want to be selfish.

And, I find myself coming back to last summer's posting about weight, self-esteem and the Ironman Pill. I mean if you are going to do an Ironman, you better do it for the right reasons right? I figure if I am not at my best self when I start the training, I likely won't make it to the starting line on race day. If I'm not doing it for the right reasons, and with the full support of everyone in my life, I doubt I'll have the fortitude to finish. My Ironman dreams need to be based on just me -- not improving self-esteem, or proving something to someone. Not even proving something to myself. Maybe some people would find that the Ironman completes them, or makes them whole, but for me, I know that if I am going to be sucessful at this, I need to be complete and whole from the day I sign up. And my Ironman, If I ever get there, will be the icing on the cake.

After getting a comment last week from someone who wanted to include my Great Chesapeake Bay Swim story in a book they are writing about the Bay Swim, I revisited my race report and realized that I still have alot to learn. My journey is just begining. And if I'm going to do an Ironman, I want to do it right and be able to enjoy each moment of it, and I don't just mean the race.

So, I'm still on my journey to Ironman. It's just that getting there for me might take a little longer.

Happily, I'll still get to be a TRIgirl team leader, with more of the work picking up when my job ends in June. Coach G is so understanding and flexible. And, I think she realizes how much TRIgirls means to me. And in the mean time, as I get an handle on my new job, I'm hoping, with a little hard work, everything else will fall into place.


Sarah said...

I am so glad that you came back here and that you posted this. For me, my HIM training has been a way to fix some of the things that I don't feel so great about. But I have your same feeling of Ironman. I want to be at a healthy place at the start of training, to do it for the right reasons. I've begun that journey and I'm hoping that I'm well on my way.

It's so good to hear your thoughts and where you are. Keep posting.

Anonymous said...

TriMom..amazing post. I was in the car driving to work this morning lamenting on the Wildflower t-shirt I kept from teh race earlier this year that I did not finish. Seeing that t shirt made me question WHY Id' even signed up for a HIM. reading your blog took me back to that introspective moment this AM. Thank you for sharing such a moving thing. And good luck with your journey..and please, keep posting!

SusieQ said...

You are a wise woman. Really enjoyed this post-


nikole said...

Jonah, this is a really beautiful and moving post. I have tears in my eyes reading. I would love to read more about your journey to find balance and peace. Thank you for sharing, my friend.

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