For the first time in a while I’ve had a really good week of training. Training Peaks is filled with green boxes, I’ve actually done my core work, I’ve hit my bike power numbers and I’ve found time to get to the pool and swim (despite a multiple day shutdown due to filtration issues).
At the same time I’ve struggled mentally. Last fall my goal was to do the Patriot Half in June (the BIG goal is still Ironman Florida in November). This week I had to make the call that I’m not going to do the race. Between partially tearing my MCL and struggling to get back my fitness in a post-partum world, I’m not in a place to race in June and I don’t want to ride the struggle bus to the finish line. I’m also still struggling mightily with food and body image issues. While I am seeing a therapist and working hard to eat and not try to starve myself, its hard. I also worry so much that I’m going to project my food and body image issues onto Ivy. As an aside Ivy loves food — all food — its amazing to watch her gnaw down on a turkey meatball, polish off an entire container of Siggi’s strawberry rhubarb yogurt or eat guacamole with as much fervor as her father. Feeling like I poor example for Ivy (and being judged as a poor mother) looms large in my basket of worries.
With all my mental struggles, it doesn’t help that I keep comparing myself to others. Social media is simultaneously wonderful for support and horrible for self esteem. I’m amazed by what other women are able to accomplish in the first year after giving birth: Running (fast) marathons, podiuming at major triathlon events and looking fabulous in a bikini. I also realize that I AM SO PRIVILEGED TO DO WHAT I DO.
Seriously. Its so easy to stress over what I can’t do right now — I can’t run a 22 minute 5K, I can’t make a run at half marathon PR or at a Boston qualifying time, I can’t fit into my favorite summer run clothes, I can’t race a half ironman at this moment — that I forget about what I can do and what others are so generous to do for me. I have the ability the train. I have a baby who (despite not quite sleeping through the night) loves the running stroller and lets me get outside on a regular basis (let’s be honest, Ivy loves almost everything right now). I have a husband who is beyond supportive and is willing to pack me lunches to make sure I eat, do stroller laps around the pool while I swim and get up in the middle of the night to help Ivy find her bink. I have an ex-husband who is willing to trek over to the house just to index my bike shifters just the way I like them. I work with a group of athletes who are ambitious, hard working, funny and oh, so inspiring. I have a day job that while incredibly demanding also lets me have a fair bit of flexibility to train and to spend time with Ivy and Ryan. When I think about this objectively, I realize: (1) I’m spoiled; and (2) while my problems are real, in the grand scheme of things they’re speed bumps, not walls (yet I still find myself tripping on a regular basis).
I still have big goals for 2017. I want to qualify for Age Group Nationals in 2018, I want to get my 5K time back to within spitting distance of my PR and I want to race to the best of ability at Ironman Florida (my ultimate goal is to finish before the sun sets — so a total time of around 10:40, my current PR is 11:26 — but I don’t know that that’s in the cards for this year). But I also have less concrete goals, softer goals. I want to train consistently. I want to involve Ivy in my training as much as I can. I want to support Ryan (and Jason and Alyson and Jocelyn and everyone else I know racing) at Ironman Lake Placid. I want to eat to support my training and not try to starve myself when I get frustrated. I want to be kind and gentle with myself when I see pictures of my body in its current state. Most of all though, I want to appreciate everything that my privilege affords me and put my life, my training, my racing into perspective when I get down on myself. And finally I want snuggles. Lots of baby snuggles because sometimes, no matter how bad things seem, baby snuggles make everything better.