Monday, March 30, 2015

On Numbness and Vulnerability

It's funny how the universe works, right? Earlier last week I was talking to my mom about this numb feeling I've been having, like whether something good or bad happens I'm tuned out to it. Right now I am in this weird in-between period. December was a whirlwind month, with graduation, Christmas and my birthday and within three weeks. So much of the past few years led up to December. All the papers, all the hours studying for exams, all led up to graduating college. And it was exciting, it really was. And then most of January was spent prepping for my grad school interview. By the time February rolled around I was strikingly aware of the lack of things going on in my life.

It felt like everyone was starting the spring semester or getting a new job, and what was I doing? Binge watching Grey's Anatomy and eating too many pierogies, that's what I was doing. I spent countless hours thinking of all the ways my life would be perfect once I moved to Philadelphia, which in turn only made me spiral further. I wanted so badly for things to be different, to be happier, to feel more joy. I felt helpless, but it was in the helplessness that I found joy. You see, for the past few years I have felt this numbness. It swept over me slowly, so that by the time I noticed it I was incapable of feeling any emotion at all.

It was at this moment that it hit me that I no longer recognized myself. Sometime over the last five years I lost myself. I never noticed it because I was slowly chipped away at. I woke up one day, unable to feel excitement over something good happening, terrified of the person I had become. I hadn't thought about this numbness for quite some time, until last week. I had been in such a funk, sabotaging my training, moping around the house, that I was unable to see what was happening.

Friday I watched this TED talk by Brene Brown. I found myself nodding along in agreement, as if she was speaking directly to me and everything I was experiencing. She talked about how we numb ourselves to avoid vulnerability, and quite frankly, truer words have never been spoken. This got me thinking about so, so much. What emotions have I been hiding from? Why? I know for one, I'm afraid of getting hurt. In the span of three months I lost both my dad and my boyfriend, two of the most important people in my life at the time. When you go through a loss like that it is really freaking hard to make yourself vulnerable again. To open yourself up to getting hurt again.

But in hiding and trying to protect myself from experiencing more pain I was preventing myself from experiencing joy. When we numb ourselves from the bad we inevitably numb ourselves from the good too. So where do I go from here? How do I ease this numbness? Honestly, I'm not quite sure. I wish I had an answer but all I can do right now is acknowledge that I am in a period of decrease. I may not have tons of incredible opportunities on my door right now but I also don't have loads of stress to deal with either. Right now I'm acknowledging that I am lost. But you know what, I'm on the way to finding myself. And I know that the universe is on my side because it gave me exactly what I needed exactly when I needed it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

I Am Me

Sometimes writing is hard for me. I have so much going on inside my head, so much I want to say, but when it's time to write I don't know where to start. I feel overwhelmed, like what I have to say doesn't matter. I love reading blogs and credit it with helping me discover triathlon and giving me an incredible network of strong, fierce female athletes. But blogging has also put me in this never-ending spiral of comparison. At the beginning of the year I started documenting my weekly training. I wanted to be able to look back at what I had done while training for this goal that I've had for so long. Yet, each week I dreaded writing those posts because I never felt like I had done enough in comparison to everyone else. I was afraid that people would scoff at me or criticize me.

After taking a few weeks off of blogging I realized that while I don't want to write weekly posts about my training, I do still want to share my journey. I have enough training logs that I can look back at and see all that I have done in preparation for this ironman. What those logs don't tell are the stories, though. They are filled with numbers. How far I biked, how fast I ran. I do write comments for most of my workouts in my logs but they are only a snippet of my experience.

In these past few weeks I also realized that only sharing my journey from the perspective of my training does not tell the whole story. Yes, this is a training blog and yes, that is what I will continue to focus on. But there are more parts to me that just triathlon and training. I want to be able to use my little corner of the internet in whatever way I want, which right now means sharing in my journey from all perspectives. I recently read Matt Dixon's The Well Built Triathlete and that's when it really hit me how much our lives outside of triathlon affect our training. I can't change the cards that I have been dealt but I can change how I handle them.

For so much time I felt like I had multiple personas. I felt like I was juggling two different lifestyles, in large part because of some of the people in my life. They took from me, chipping away until I couldn't recognize myself anymore. I tried so hard to be the person they wanted because I thought that was what I wanted too. But it never felt natural. Something always felt off. I felt the most like myself when I was training, running with my dreams. It felt like I would take one step forward toward my authentic self, only to be pulled two steps back by someone who was trying to mold me into what he wanted.

Recently I've had a lot of time to think. And now more than ever has it been made clear to me how important it is for me to honor who I really am and what I truly want for myself. The other night I navigated a potentially dangerous road, imagining what my life would look like had I not broken free when I did. I wasn't sure what I was expecting but I knew it was something I needed to do. What happened next was I was overcome with relief, this feeling of freedom. It's hard to realize someone you care about is not the best thing for you, but boy is that statement true. Someone who was supposed to be building me up was instead tearing me down. Imagining this alternate life made me realize how truly destructive things had been.

In an effort to fully embrace who I am, I'm putting back together the pieces of me that were taken, destroyed. I don't want to feel like part of my life isn't good enough because what it all comes down to is that you cannot choose the things you like about people and discard what you don't like. I am me and I will not change that for anyone. I want this blog to be a place where I can say whatever I want. A place where I can share insights into my life, with the hope of maybe inspiring someone. I have been frequently reminded that I am not alone in my feeling like this and I think it is time that we embrace who we are, instead of trying to hide.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Road to Ironman Week 6

One of my favorite parts about blogging is getting to share my accomplishments with all my internet-friends. When not everyone in your day-to-day life understands or cares about endurance sports or triathlon training it makes it challenging when you have something exciting to share. The downside to this, of course, is sharing the failures, missteps and weaknesses. Nobody likes to admit to defeat, especially in such a public format. But for the sake of being transparent and keeping it real around here, I am admitting defeat this past week. I had a rough few days at the end of the week for no real reason other than I was throwing myself a pity party. I was unhappy with myself for missing a workout, then unhappy about my weight, and before I knew it I had sabotaged two entire days of training. I felt like I was trapped inside myself and everything I did, every thought I had only trapped me further. The good news is that I brought myself out of this spiral and am back on track. We all have down days and weeks but what matters is bringing yourself back and allowing yourself to have good days again.

Monday. Strength

Tuesday. 40 min run + 60 min trainer ride

Wednesday. 40 min run

Thursday. strength + 60 min trainer ride

Friday. Rest

Saturday. Rest

Sunday. 60 min trainer ride

Onwards and upwards. Happy training!