I'm Here.

Remember when I used to write about feelings and things that were important to me, and how fitness things weren't really fitness things at all because they were so much more than that? I do, and I'm not sure what happened to that blog or when or why it turned into how I swam or rode or ran a million miles (please hear me out and don't just click out because I said "Ironman" for the 40 millionth time this year). My Ironman journey is one I want to share, I just haven't been sure how to do it, or if anyone will even want to come along. I have so many posts floating around in my head that, admittedly, do pertain to Ironman training, but they are so much more than that. They're full of the thoughts and the feelings that I have that relate not just to Ironman training, but to life. They're the types of posts I used to write, the ones that I thought just about anybody could relate to, whether you get your cardio in from ultramarathons or running to the kitchen from the couch during a commercial break. They're the ones that stem from my own personal adventures in fitness but aren't really about fitness. They're about what I'm going through and what it feels like to chase my dreams and to both succeed and fail, the highs and the lows and all the in betweens and what I learned at each step.

To be honest, training for an Ironman has had me wondering where I fit now. I worry that I seem too far removed from the Beginners Club to be relatable, but at the same time all of this stuff is way too freakin' hard for me and I'm in way over my head to be a part of the Real Athletes Club (not that they'd have me anyway). One of the reasons I started this blog was to be yet another voice on the Internet telling anyone who would listen that hey, if I can do this, so can you! "This" being anything you think you absolutely can't do. The only problem with that now is that I don't feel qualified to spread that message anymore, because for the first time since I started turning my can'ts into cans, I found something that I thought I really, actually, might not be able to do. I just didn't feel like I could continue to preach that gospel when I didn't believe it myself anymore. I'm not sure if I ever stopped believing it, or if I just hardened myself to it. I got so frustrated when I struggled, and so afraid of failure, that I stopped letting myself go to those places of, "What if....?" I stopped dreaming of all the things I could do and I stopped writing about them because I just wanted to wall myself off from the possibility that I might have finally bitten off more than I could chew. 

How could I blog about my experiences and share them openly and transparently if I couldn't even be honest with myself about them? Where could I go from there? What should I do? I haven't quite been able to find the words to do this until now, but I think I just....write. Write about my experiences and my struggles and try to make them as real and relatable as possible. I still have workout recaps and race recaps to write, and I do want to write them because I have some irrational fear that future me will be really upset with past me if I don't (although present you would be just fine if I didn't, I'm sure), but right now I just want to share what's on my heart and what's really going on.

I've honestly felt like I've lost myself over these last 17 weeks. I have no idea who I am outside of Ironman training anymore (which I realize sounds ridiculous - it's been 3 months for crying out loud), but I also haven't really felt like myself since I've been in Ironman training. I've completely lost sight of where I started and why and how I got here and why I wanted to be here in the first place.

Maybe it's just that literally all of my energy - physical, emotional, mental - has gone into training over the last few months, but I honestly haven't even had the emotional capacity to feel what this training and achieving this goal mean to me - or what it meant to me when I signed up, anyway. I have been going through the motions and while that's gotten me to a place where I feel physically ready to tackle this (some days, anyway...other days I think about all the miles I haven't covered in training but maybe should have and I just want to puke), I would be remiss if I didn't take some time I wasn't ready to do it before now, and I'm not sure what's changed - possibly the fact that I can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel now, and I can feel the days left slipping away - but I'm ready now. I'm ready to explore what this really means to me, to open myself to reflecting on the good and the bad that has gotten me here, to being vulnerable again and sharing that vulnerability and telling you I am really, really scared and I have no idea what on earth made me ever think I could be an Ironman but that I am also so excited and so ready and so full of hope despite all my fears. I'm ready to come out of the fog I've been in and start to dig through the feelings and clearing out the emotional baggage swimming around in my head and my heart. I'm just ready to feel what endurance sports mean to me in the first place and to tell you all the things they teach me because it's about so much more than just swimming, biking, and running. I'm ready to embrace this as the life-changing journey it is and should be. 

That's all I wanted to say today. That I'm here. I'm really here. For the first time in months, I am really here. 

4 comments :

  1. This breaks my heart and at the same time makes me feel so optimistic for you. I don't want to say something cheery about how IM is almost here, and therefore this period of uncertainty and frustration is almost over, and then you can go back to normal—because maybe there will be nothing normal about life after IM, or at least after 20 weeks of IM training. But while I don't know what you're feeling, I have watched what this period of training has done to you and I look forward to the days (so soon) where your time is yours again and your choices are being made for reasons you can fully understand and reconcile. I'm excited for you! Mostly I'm hopeful that I was right a few days ago (I'm pretty sure I was) when I said that the reason for this challenge and journey WILL be revealed to you. It might not happen until the moment you finish, or maybe even long after that. But something will come out of this to make it all worthwhile. (PS, I'm even MORE bummed out now that I can't be there, ugh!)

    As for the training recaps, I can't speak for you but I love having a record of the biggest moments in my life, and especially my fitness life. Some of those are harder to remember the details of, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't gone back and reread all my race recaps at one point or another. I'm glad past me gave that to present me. So as long as it feels genuine and honest, keep writing your recaps and reports in a way that future you (you know her better than you think) will appreciate. But maybe a listicle here and there would make you feel better too ;)

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  2. I wrote a comment last night but I don't think it posted. Basically, you should never feel like you are not "good enough" or that your efforts aren't enough. Because you inspire me daily with your determination to do something that you set your mind to!! I definitely relate with training taking over your life--I am already thinking about the marathon I want to run next fall (YES IT'S FINALLY HAPPENING!) and the idea that I will have to commit SO much to the training...I am really trying to test that now by truly sticking to my commitments but it's hard for sure.

    I love training recaps, btw. I don't always comment but I like to read them. And I can relate because that's 90% of what I post anymore, but it keeps myself accountable. Every once in a while I have words I need to say, like my recent post, and that is helpful to at least connect with others and let them know that they are not alone. Basically, you keep doing what you feel you need to do, and settle into that groove of yours so you can boast to the world about your Ironman...BECAUSE YOU TOTALLY SHOULD BOAST ABOUT IT :)

    Thanks for always inspiring me :)

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  3. the 'real athletes' would totally have you, and i can't speak for everyone but i read everything you post and always enjoy reading it, regardless of whether i'm being lazy and eating a kit kat (it's really yum) or about to go on a run and thinking to myself if Tracy can do this, I can do 10% of that (it's probably more like 5% but you know whatever).

    and 3 months might not seem like a long time, but it's not like you gradually built up to having your life turn upside down, so it is drastic. one minute your life was your own, and the next - and without a break for 3 months - everything you do has been dictated by this huge thing that you chose to do. it's a huge life change and i can totally see how it would make you feel a bit lost.

    i wish i had encouraging or supportive words :) basically, i am cheering for you and hoping for the best, always. :)

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  4. I am reading this and I am like ummmm she is so a real athlete!!!! But just because you are further along than most people starting out doesn't mean you aren't relateable because we all have to start somewhere and it is encouraging to see someone kicking so much ass like you are even if you lose faith in yourself every now and then. Don't we all do that? Even all the more reason to share because you know we are all here and have your back and know you can do anything you set out to do!

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