Ever stop for a moment and ask yourself "when was the last time I had a sip of water?” “Why am I so hungry all the time?” “Why aren’t there enough hours in the day?” These and more are found in my bank of thoughts each and every day as I struggle to keep it together, personally, professionally, and certainly in my case, physically. Yes, I do too much, but don’t ever call it a crime.
I guess we all strive for different things in our lives. I’d like to believe I am always reaching for new heights and challenging myself in ways that at first seem unattainable but soon become accomplishments. What we sign up for, on and off the race course, proves what we believe we are capable of. But the process to get to that finish line can be tiring. And sometimes the question does arise - “is it worth it?”
Without hesitation, I always respond yes. I choose what’s hard over what’s easy, and I’ll be the first to admit it’s a struggle to keep that up. But my body is aging, though my mind is ready for more, and my years are moving past me but I’m still inching forward. At what point do I throw in the towel? At what point do I tone it down or quit these big feats altogether?
Must I make that decision? I was hoping I could just figure it out as I go, but in this crazy world we now live in, so many of us are planning ahead - babies, moving, retirement, hip replacements, etc. Since getting married last year, I keep getting asked about children and when I’ll take the plunge into motherhood. The honest truth is that I am enjoying my current exhaustion. I want to keep up triathlon training while I (barely) have the time but certainly have the freedom and ability. It can’t be a crime to want something for yourself before you decide you want so much for someone else. Actually, this exhaustion and early morning routine is mighty good practice for parenthood.
To help with that exhaustion, I have certainly been sleeping as much as possible and getting to bed at fair hours. Today was a full rest day, because it was absolutely necessary that I take time off and sleep in. This past weekend I knocked off a long bike ride, 15-mile run and 2500yd swim, all after a tough week of increased training and bonding time with my new bike. We’re amping it up as my races are getting closer, and I’m sprinkling in a lot of new challenges. The exhaustion isn’t just physical, but mental. Learning new techniques on my tri bike has proved to be a bigger feat than I thought.
So tired doesn’t mean time to quit; it just means take a day off and take care of yourself. I have to allow myself time to grow, get better, and enjoy what’s ahead. There’s no rush to win a big prize; it’s honestly the journey through exhaustion and exhilaration that makes it all worth it. I may not have kids now but I will be sure that they too strive for success and reach for tough goals, because nothing comes easy.
When I’m thirsty, hungry, grumpy or in pain, it’s up to me and me alone to take the time to make myself better and provide myself with the essentials I need to survive and be a better person for myself and for others around me. If a job, sport, or person is bringing me down, I need to take a step back, even if just for a moment. As my coach said last night after I wanted more feedback on my swim technique, “Brittany, stop thinking about triathlon.” He’s right. So today I did just that. I slept, consumed carbs and gave in to inactivity.
Next time work or sport has got you down, please REST. It’s not a crime. Actually, it's pretty fantastic.
P.S. Some shots from this week's training...