“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.” Coach John Wooden
There has been a ton of activity in our life the last 4-6 months. Most of it was very exciting; but, truthfully, most of it stressful. Jerome and I bought a Lot in 2011 during our taper for IM Arizona. (You think you have taper issues?). Our twins were 9. We drew up plans for our dream house and put our house on the market. Then, we hit a recession. Our house took 2 1/2 years to sell.
Fast forward to 2015 and we moved out of our 15 year house (our first, cute little 1880s house). We lived, with now, 13-14 year old teenagers, in a rental apartment. We spent our free time designing our house. We picked out EVERYTHING in our house. Knobs, toilets, paint colors, floor plank width, heights of ceilings – you name it, we picked it out. It was invigorating! I was able to spend my free time obsessing over Pinterest and HOUZZ. I was able to take a breather from reading about swim/bike and run and instead obsess (if you want to know ALL about grey paint, call me) about everything you need to know about house building. The good, bad and ugly.
I loved our General Contractor. We grew up in the same hometown and have a lot of the same circle of friends. He was a referral from some good friends. The GC and I spent A LOT of time together. He runs (not literally) as fast as I do – so there were days we would rip each other apart because when you get two overly intense people together —> BAM. Jerome would sweep in and save the day, typically. He is not a morning person and I am. He always wanted to talk around 9pm at night. It didn’t take long before we started to understand one another. I am fiercely organized. Our GC: not so much.
We are now in the new house. We moved in over Valentine’s Day weekend (it was -5F out and windchill -25F – awesome) and we just closed this past Monday. We were so relieved, it is like we finally are sleeping and breathing freely now.
Looking back, I am not sure why it was SO stressful, but it was. Like most new home builders, we were bleeding money. Everything was “another $1,000.” And, I was in massive decision fatigue. I was so tired of making decision I couldn’t even pick out a salad at Panera one day. My phone rang constantly about the trade guys needing this and that, the lights need to be picked out in the next 3 days, the fans don’t fit, the tub pump is not the right one…I realize these are 1st world problems, but for someone (ME) who likes everything to run smoothly -this was a pure test of my patience.
And, I am all about integrity. If anything is worth doing, it is worth doing right. This motto of mine was tested daily with tons of guys in and out of this house…not showing up, not doing a good job. Finally, I was so fed up with one of the trades (roofer) that when he came to the house and the GC did not handle the situation, I went right up to him and got into his personal space and absolutely fired him off the job. Told him not to come back and I would not be paying him out. And, to call my attorney if he wants to talk about any leins. I was so disgusted. I am so lucky that I usually only deal with high quality people — I am a Triathlon coach and that affords me the luxury to deal with people that are passionate about being awesome. So, this was my first rodeo with the trades. I learned a ton about people during this process.
Further, I was not sleeping. In fact, I started to lose weight. First 5 lbs. Then, 8 lbs…and then, the wheels came off in December. December is a very busy coaching month for me – all the re-starts and new starts for 1/1, the holidays, kids off school, shopping, etc…and we were supposed to be in the house by Christmas and were not. I almost became completely un-glued. i had no appetite.
During all of this, I never stopped training. However, “training” is all relative, really. Last year I LOVED my season. I did all short course racing culminating with ITU Worlds Short Course in September. It was perfect for me with the house, teenagers and working. I took some time off post Worlds and then started to get back into things. Honestly, I like being fit. I have never not been fit, except when I was pregnant with the twins. Otherwise, I am super consistent and like to have a “base” so that I can leap off that platform and race what interests me when the spring/summer rolls around.
But, in December I was out running – doing a 2nd workout of the day and I just stopped and cried. It was freezing out and I was cold, too thin (no appetite, not eating AND NOT SLEEPING) and I had enough. I am like, “Why can’t I just step away from this??” It is so hard when this is what you do and you do not know how to slow your roll. This is my 21st year of racing. I aged up to 45-49. I wanted to race and had huge goals for an IM this year. And, while it was only December – things were crashing around me in regards to my training. I was still doing the workouts and hitting the paces, but I was dreading them.
It is funny how the body and mind work. You can trick your body easily to do what the mind wants. But, you know what you cannot trick? Your gut. I woke up on Saturdays and always wanted to do a short run, but was happy to go and run 5-7 miles and then get showered and go to the TILE store and pick out tile with Jerome. I no longer wanted to spend large chunks of the day training OR recovering from training. I could not train long or too hard because then I was too tired to do anything major like shop for countertops all afternoon!
And, because I coach and my job is to inspire and motivate and lead people all day – the last thing people need or want to hear about is me crying on my runs in the ice cold, dark days. So, I kept my mouth shut, put my head down and kept things pretty private (which is not like me).
45 has been an eye opening year for me. I never had a mid-life crisis. But, I think this year has really been a game changer for me. I realized many things this short year. My life just got REAL. My friends are getting cancer. My friend’s parents are sick and starting to pass away. My friend’s kids are having real life altering problems & issues. And, frankly, raising teenagers is not easy. It is 100x harder than anyone can ever tell you. Jerome and I looked at one another the other day and said, “THIS is parenting now?” Sex, middle school, hormones and complacency? Gah. I want to turn my parent card back in. Boys are hard in their own way, but girls…….OH GIRLS. And, Morgan is a dream, but that does not mean 8th grade is any easier. Helping the kids navigate through middle school is hard.
I realized I really just want to be around people that are positive, inspiring and truly care. I want to entertain people at my house. I want to have lunch with my friends and go brunch with my neighbors. It is like a turned in my “young” card and upgraded to a “responsible living” card holder. Not to be mistaken for your AARP card. I am not there yet.
During that run where I cried – I decided I had to hit the “pause” button. I realized this winter I wanted to pick out window treatments for 2 hours instead of ride my bike for 2 hours. I started to look at Training Peaks and be happy when there was only 10-12 hours in it! In the past, I would be moaning that was my rest week. And, I realized it was okay. The house gave me another sense of excitement and fulfillment. It was that “break” I was looking for to hit the “reset” button. I did not know I needed it, but when it came into my life, I fought it and then realized –> I just cannot do it all well. And, I was tired of trying to do it all well. I think if this was my 5th or 10th year racing/training, I may feel differently. But, 21 years? I mean, really, it is okay, Jenny.
But, the catch is this. I am still in shape and fit. I am not sandbagging my fitness (I hate when people do that). I am here to say, I still train every day. Today I swam 3700 yards and ran 6 miles. Now that we are in the house, I can breathe and get some normalcy back. However, I really have to think about my season and if I really want to spend my days on the bike. The runs and swims are easy, but hours and hours on the bike is the game changer. You either want it or you don’t. There is no in between for the goals I would have. I would have to alter my expectations or training. Because, I know what it takes and what sacrifices have to be made to meet those goals for long course.
And, on the flip side, I keep enjoying my coaching and doing more and more of it. I started to take on new, fun and challenging opportunities. I spend all my days coaching and working and frankly, I love it. I workout at 5am every day and then work (yes, like a normal person). Then, I run or bike at lunch, if I need to. This passion for coaching has not changed – my love and excitement to coach has almost nearly exceeded my own passion for racing. And, I knew this would happen and I am excited that it has. I got into a pattern where I would get up early (before 5am) workout and take a shower, put on make up and start my day. I cannot believe I like that, but I do. And, I have agreed to stop berating myself about it.
It is now March. I am racing a 1/2 Marathon in a few weeks and have my JHC Camp later in March. I am excited about both. I have not signed up for any Triathlons yet this summer. I will race. I love it, but I am definitely thinking short and local. Pop in and race for 1-2 hours and be home by 10am to wash my windows. Sounds dreamy, right?
Don’t answer that!