One year later…..
A year ago, I walked off the course of one of my favorite “A” races and DNF’d.. Eagleman is always an A race for me because it is my top priority, usually. I train diligently, through the winter, on the treadmill, getting my butt to the pool when it is cold outside, and generally committing myself to doing the best I can at this one race.
In 2018, I was having a very good race, but just lost my heart to care. It was a very odd year of training, you can read about here, but I just generally was lethargic, flat affect/ feeling quite depressed, and this race was the pinnacle of…. I just don’t have my heart anymore. I don’t have a fire. And there was nothing about finishing the last 10 miles of the run that seemed appealing to me. You cannot finish a race like this without the heart. I knew it was time to take off.
I also had been struggling with a huge conglomeration of hip injuries through the summer of 2018 while I was focusing on doing Olympic distance triathlons and in August, I was officially DONE. I was sedentary (not joking) through November. I couldn’t even walk the dogs without pain. I frankly couldn’t SIT without pain. I was so lucky to have a new goal to work towards with getting into Big Sur marathon, and even luckier to make it through the training with my hamstring and hip working decently!
A month ago, I drove my daughter to a volleyball tournament in Maryland and we had to drive through Cambridge, EAGLEMAN LOCATION! Ohhhhh I was feeling all the feels and was beginning to get the JEALOUS feeling for some of the people who were going to be in the race!!! This is my race, I love this race, I’ve done it for so long!!! I liked the little jealous feeling because it showed maybe I’m getting some desire back?? And with the proximity to the race nearing even further and hearing more about the race, I kept that edgy feeling of being EXCITED for….. maybe next year???? Maybe??
Then, the day of race came, and could it BE???? It was not going to be 98 degrees in Cambridge MD?! How can Eagleman even be held when it is not 98 degrees!! OHhhh I was a bit jealous again!!!! Wondering how I could do in this race without the oppressive heat (which I also kinda love a bit!)… And then… the SWIM was cancelled! I thought- WHY AM I NOT THERE!!?!?! But then….. I realized, it is cold and windy and rainy… and I have ZERO DESIRE to be out there in cold and rain. So, I was happy with this that I was NOT in Eagleman this year.
However, this also made me realize that I have much more “soul searching” to do.
In the past, it wouldn’t have mattered 98 degrees or 58 degrees….. it wouldn’t have mattered, sun, clouds, wind, rain…. I was focused and determined and my MIND was unstoppable. Regardless of degrees, wind direction, the skies. Those were irrelevant factors. And I realize now- I am still not ready. This is not how I train and race. I don’t invest my everything when it ends up being conditional upon the weather forecast. I know better, and as an athlete, that is not who I am
Of course, soul searching leads to more questions than answers.
Do I need more time away from Eagleman? Do I need to have maybe that edge of “fear” of a new race I haven’t conquered, similar to Big Sur Marathon, which I definitely had some doubts about going back to marathon distance for…. And I LOVED it, I loved the pride of finishing what I was really only HOPING to do! Maybe another location for ½ IM distance instead of Eagleman?
Do I not love the sport anymore? I do, and I know I do- I love the races, but I also love love love love love the training….. maybe I am loving the training more than the racing and the focus on results.
Maybe I need to learn to race without being result oriented. One month ago, in Big Sur marathon, I literally had no result goal other than to finish. FOR REAL. I wasn’t even lying when I said that! And it was actually really nice. I’m not used to not focusing on just being moderate in my intentions, and maybe this is something to practice more of in the future.
Or, do I need to just find WITHIN this new mentality of triathlons maybe not being such a top priority, a way to do them and find WITHIN this “relative softness” of mind, a firm focus that I will commit to the goal at a different “level of mindset”??
It has been many years since triathlon was my fierce focus (ummmm, hello KIDS in my life!!). And I love and fully accept my ……… ummmm… aging self…I am happy with the new balance that I feel in the things I love spending my time on, including taking some time to relax!
But, I don’t want to be “done.” And I am not. I’m one year out, much further along than I was last year, but still not completely clear of where I am headed. And that is okay. We will see. Maybe learning a bit of moderation is coming soon.