Last night I was reading over a few posts from my Ironman days (aka my gladiating days) and having a good laugh. A bittersweet laugh. It is funny to me how sure of myself cocky I am when I am training. Full of contradictions. Confident, yet anxiety ridden. Energetic, yet exhausted. Bad-ass, but nicer. The constant when I am training, however, is a sense of being grounded. Solid. Driven. Full of Purpose.
I miss her. I want her back. And I think she’s on her way.
I have had a few profound moments/time periods when I feel fully in touch with myself or my life makes sense. During these times I make stuff happen. I get shit done. Not my usual everyday-I-do-a-lot-of-“things”… but big stuff where I end up connected & grounded. Internal shifts. I make transformations. And man, oh man, I could use a little of that about now.
The first was when I was rowing in college (*) and realized that I could push harder than I ever thought in pursuit of a goal and that I could believe in myself. I could totally kick ass if I wanted too! I was calloused, bloodied, strong and blistered. And on the water I felt solid. (*Note: when I was at Iowa both women and men’s crew were club sports like this. Now the women are NCAA Div. 1 and very fancy. We didn’t roll that way. We paid our own way and were coached by our own. We rowed in floods and then crashed our new shell into a bridge. I realize this is a bit like walking in the snow uphill both ways but it’s true. There were dead fish. Debris. A scary abandoned house was our boat house. It wasn’t pretty.) It was incredible.
The second was when I realized I was queer. Aha! Finally, so many things made sense. I don’t think that needs much more explanation eh?
The next was when I became a cyclist and began my love affair with my bike. Connected. Strong. I gained confidence & direction. Each long distance event brought me closer to myself.
Then the all-encompassing Ironman triathlons – 2006 & 2008. Oh, how I love me some IM training. It is a sick twisted love affair. It is intense, gritty, hard, painful, exhilarating and empowering. To endure 6 months of training, push yourself through a 2.4 mile swim(while getting clobbered), then a 112 mile bike ride (hilly naturally) only to follow it up with a 26.2 “run” and hear the announcement “Meg, you are an Ironman” (irony not lost) while thousands upon thousands of spectators cheer you on is just plain awesome. Frickin’ awesome.
During IM training I feel invincible. I can start and complete anything. I have vision, clarity and drive. I kick ass and take names. While smiling (and sometimes skipping).
After the latest Ironman, I kind of stopped exercising. Tired. Spent. The logistics alone of training for IM with a partner who is also training for said IM (while in a PhD program) and you are both working is a nightmare. Toss in a newborn that is still breastfeeding and you are clearly nuts.
But my break is officially over. I’m a running gal again. I am a runner. It has been an important part of my identity for so long and I’ve hated not doing it. I love to run.
As I re-start running, I feel more grounded with every slow, cloddy, out-of-shape step I take. I sense glimmers of my inner bad-ass return.
On the best days I’m outside. No stroller. No music. Just me. My shoes. My heavy-duty-post-pregnancy-hold-them-down-power bra. That is all the fancy crap I need to get my power groove on.