I’ve stared at my computer and cried for about 10 minutes trying to get my thoughts together in enough of a cohesive manner to string sentences together then hit “publish”. Every time I’ve sat down and opened my laptop, I’ve promptly stood up and found myself finding other things to do.
I don’t want to write about what’s to take place 5 days from now.
I don’t want to acknowledge what’s happening 5 days from now.
My emotions are all over the place.
I truly don’t believe I’m ready for this.
I figure if I don’t think or talk about the 70.3, then maybe it will just go forgotten about. Maybe I could just look the other way and pretend that I never started this endeavor of attempting to swim, bike and run for what could take me up to 9 hours. I feel unprepared in both physical body and mental stature. Everyone around me believing in me. Telling me I have the ability to do this and while I want to believe with my deepest being that I can…
I honestly don’t know that I can.
There is a calm inside of me. One that I’ve been clinging too desperately. Almost like a warm blanket. You know the kind that you grab with the wind is blowing outside and you need a little comforting that the storm will pass eventually. As you wrap yourself up, you feel at ease even though the storm is in full force all around you.
The calm comes from the acceptance that I may not finish.
I won’t give up. But I have to be okay with not being able to finish. Smack dab in the middle of training, life did what life is so good at doing: Getting in the way. It’s been over 6 weeks since my longest bike ride and it wasn’t anywhere close to the 56 mile mark. My last half marathon was a pretty solid 2:09:59 but body was run down. Mile long swims are strong but muscles begin to cramp as I’m finishing. Now I’m trying to put all three together in what first felt like a long time to finish but now feels like it’s not going to be enough time.
“You will rock it”
“You’ll be fantastic”
“You have a strong foundation”
“You will finish”
I want to believe. More than anything I want to close my eyes and feel those truths of others wash over me and take away the doubt, uncertainty, and fear from my being. For every “you can do it”, there is a long internal conversation of “but if you can’t Tara, you have to be okay with this experience”. I don’t want to let anyone down. I don’t want anyone to think that there may in fact be a limitation to what you can accomplish when you lose a shit ton of weight and begin moving. I want to be like my fellow bloggers that are continually raising the bar on what morbidly obese people turned athletes can do when they believe.
My goal for this most daunting Half Ironman is not to rock it.
to prove I have a strong foundation
nor to finish
My goal is to show up. We leave early Friday morning and road trip all day. The moment I sit in Dusty and click that seat belt I’m focused on achieving my goal. The moment I pick up my race packet, rack my bike and wrap myself in that calm I’ve been clinging too I’m focused on achieving my goal. Sunday morning as I stand on the beach and look out at the first buoy and wish I had practiced my open water swim, I’m focused on achieving my goal. As I take Peppermint Patty off the rail and wish I had been able to get a longer practice ride in, I’m focused on achieving my goal. As I grab my favorite sweat stained running hat and wish I had run more I’m focused on achieving my goal…
The hardest part about our lives is just showing up. No matter what it is you want to accomplish. Whether it’s significant weight loss, wanting to love yourself more, moving careers, starting a family, learning to run, wanting to ask a certain someone out for a date, training for an Ironman, going to school, (insert whatever you want here), we have to show up. We have to look ahead and whether we see the end result or not, we have to take that step forward and know that as soon as you moved forward you’re achieving something spectacular.
Of course, the finish line is important. I want that 70.3 sticker. I want the medal. I want to be able to tell people I finished. More importantly, for me, is the start. I started this journey to Half Ironman. Maybe it started back in December of 2009 when I decided that being 270 pounds, depressed and uncertain of my potential was unacceptable and took that very small step of moving forward. Maybe it started the day I did my first sprint triathlon and felt like it was the hardest thing I’d ever accomplished. Maybe it started yesterday morning when I started packing my transition box and taped a “You deserve 70.3″ sign to remind me that I truly deserve this no matter what the voices of old are saying.
So I’ll show up and as my wave gun goes off at 7:40a Sunday morning, I can take a deep breath and know that no matter what happens after that I’ve proved to myself I’m not afraid of going after what I deserve. I’m not afraid to show up. And if I’m not afraid to show up then maybe…
just maybe I won’t be afraid to finish.
See you in Mont Tremblant.
Things are up and running.
More figuratively than literally speaking.
I’m taking a long deep breath (remember that “practice breathing” I talked about in the last post?) and sending out a heart felt thank you to my friend Nicole (“Nugget”) who after reading that last blog post so graciously reached out and offered to help me with the bloggy mess that had become ALifeChangingJourney (dot) what the hell happened to all my freaking pictures, omg I’m totally going to rip my hair out and never blog again (com).
Slowly but surely (and more SURELY than slowly thanks to her expertise) she discovered that close to three. entire. years. of photos (that’s right my friends I said three years; 2010 – 2012) had somehow disappeared.
Don’t ask how, cause I don’t know.
And if she could explain it to me in a way I could understand, I still wouldn’t know. She put on her
“I’m wicked smart” outfit, Superman Cape, and her “Stand back, this is for the professionals” badge thinking cap and in a few short days not only had she figured out what happened, she got *most* of the pictures to their rightful blog posts AND moved my blog to another hosting site (one that she can keep a close eye on just. in. case. this happens again).
I’ve spent a little time putting my progress pictures back up and over the next few weeks going through the posts with a fine tooth comb and trying to upload all the missing pictures that I couldn’t locate for Nugget. The main thing was my progress pictures and now that’s back up and running (again more figuratively than literally) so to me all is right in my little blogging world.
I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Life lately.
(cause that’s what I do).
Always in a constant state of “I’m not good enough” or “I’m not fast enough” or “There is no way in H.E. Double Hockey Sticks I can (insert some event here)” I find myself reacting in ways that keep me from moving forward in ways that I deserve to move. This Half Ironman training has taught me a lot about who I am as a
morbidly obese turned athlete person. I’m so focused on the training that I’m NOT doing I forget about the training that I AM doing. With the move to the new place in full force (and now “technically” over except for a few boxes left to unpack) my training has *officially* taken a back seat. I realize that I’m too exhausted to maintain the training/working/moving schedule that I have been trying to maintain for the last few weeks. My body is run down. It wants to sleep more than run. It wants to rest more than swim and it definitely wants to chill out more than it wants to bike.
And I’m okay with that today.
(or at least trying to be okay).
There isn’t much time left before I hit the road and head to Mont Tremblant. Less than three weeks. It seemed like yesterday the little yellow time ticker over to the right was in the three digit numbers. That there was “time” to train. *BLINK*….17 DAYS????? Wait a minute? Can I get a do-over? More time? A little more sleep? How about a food plan that I can actually stick too?
This is where the self pep talks become more important than the long bike rides. Where the “you’re going to be okay Tara” take precedence over the 2200 meter swims and remembering that it’s not about wondering if I can run 13 miles after swimming / biking for close to four or five hours but trusting that my body has the endurance and when the endurance runs out, my heart and spirit will take over and take me over the finish line.
In the midst of all the working/packing/moving/unpacking/running/biking/swimming, the universe also stepped in and brought me an opportunity to get my hands up in the air (aka interpreting) a few times next week so those much coveted “long training days” are turning into opportunities for me to move to the best of my ability with what little time is available and remember why I do what I do: To save myself from a life of depression/obesity because no matter the time I put into leaving some sweat on the floor and the life of OLD I’m leaving in it’s rightful place…
I can’t control Life. As much as I would like to take a lasso and reel that S.O.B. in and direct it down to the last minute (MYnute…MY life) detail I can’t. Am I thrilled to be working? Yes. Is it more of a physical toll than I was anticipating? Yes. Do I love training for Ironman? Yes (and never let me tell you otherwise cause it all honesty I’d be lying). Is it more of a physical toll than I was anticipating? Yes. Am I struggling to get my food under control dealing with both the new work life and training life? Yes. Do I let all of the things that are causing me to have doubts about my ability (in both work AND training) keep me from taking what small steps I can to keep moving forward?…
I don’t even need to answer that.
(you already know)
What I do control is how I react to all
the “oh come on, you’ve got to be kidding me“, “can’t you give me a freaking break”, that is around me. I might be doubtful, but I will move forward. I might be fearful, but I will move forward. I might need to take a few moments (and by moments I mean minutes/hours/days) to stop in my tracks, look up and assess the current situation there will be forward movement following shortly.
This is by far the most challenging of all things I’ve set out to do. Though I suppose everything that I first set out to do was at the time the most challenging things I tried to accomplish. The first pound. The first 20 pounds. The first 50 and subsequently the entire 120 pounds. The first mile. The first 5k. The first half marathon and subsequently the first marathon. The first sprint tri, the first olympic tri and subsequently the first half Ironman just over 2 weeks away.
The unknown is challenging and life ahead of us is all about the unknown. Can I lose the weight? Can I move in ways never imagined? Can I swim/bike/run for a total of 70.3 miles? I know the answers to the first two questions but there was a time I didn’t know. Life got in the way with it’s damn obstacles but I’ve yet to throw my hands up in the air and move off to the sidelines. I won’t react to the unknown like I used to in the past. Hiding. Feeling undeserving. Never trying for fear of failure. Always wondering and denying myself the opportunity to try and reach for what I thought was impossible so that I could see that in me all things are possible…
No matter what life throws at me.
Seriously, this is my mantra right now…
(Mostly the BREATHE part)
Life knows how to get hectic and it knows how to do it like a BOSS.
Blog posts are coming fewer and farther in between and right now non-existent over at TheHDD. 24 hours in the day are broken into train, work, sleep and in between stuffing my pie hole with enough food to keep me nourished while not freaking out over letting go of calorie counting for the next couple of weeks.
This blog post is more about playing catch up. Today should have been a long training day but I opted out, deciding instead to sit down at Starbucks for a few hours and just practice the breathing part of my life. So much happening and so little time to just step out of the way and take a good long look at what the heck is going on.
I’m a little (and by a little I mean more than just a little) frustrated at what happened with my blog recently. When I decided to go self hosted a few years back I had people that I knew “build” it for me. Now let me preface this by saying, I have no idea what it means to build internetty things (read “Tara is clueless”). I nod my head and say “sure that sounds great” and before I know it ALifeChangingJourney.com is born. A few weeks ago I was perusing my pages and noticed half of my progress pictures are broken…
Then I notice that most of my pictures all over my blog are broken.
I make the necessary contacts and discover that working relationships are no longer relationship-y and definitely not working. Remaining person doesn’t know what happen to my pictures and for the last few weeks I’ve just looked at the broken links and wondered “What the fuck?!” It upsets me to the point that I’ve seriously considered taking the blog down for good. My entire life since deciding to lose this weight for once and for a lifetime is here. Those pictures are important to me. My blog looks messy. It looks like I don’t know what I’m doing (which I don’t since I can’t figure out how to get them back, even after trying to re-upload them). I get all teary eyed every time I check the pictures in *HOPES* that they would magically reappear.
I have some ideas shuffling around in my head about wanting to change the format of this blog to a more “outwardly” focused theme. This life changing journey of mine is just one story. There are
hundreds, thousands,…countless of other life changing journeys out there and think this would be a great platform for people sharing their stories. But it’s hard to want to make the leap when all through out my blog I’m reminded that, I don’t even know how to fix my broken pictures and can’t seem to get someone to help me.
One month from now I’ll be packing up my Dusty with Peppermint Patty and with the support of Mimi and my friend Leanne driving to Mont Tremblant Quebec to step up to the Half Ironman starting line. This is where I am mostly trying to practice the breathing part. Training isn’t as productive as I had hoped it would be 4 weeks out but it is coming along. I have to keep reminding myself that above all else, I will do the best that I can and if that means I have to hobble over the finish line, it’s going to be the best fucking hobble anyone has ever seen. At this point I’m looking more forward to it coming, going and not having too much on my proverbial plate after that. I’ve got other races set up for the year but this is the BIG one and it is coming at me head on and at this point all I can do is plant my feet firmly where I stand and trust that my fears will subside the moment I begin earning that 70.3 and that my strength will carry me to the moment they place that finishers medal around my neck.
In the midst of all the chaos of training and working (and shoving food into my pie hole), Mimi and I are frantically packing up our belongings and moving to a new apartment…
(As if we didn’t have enough on our plates!)
Days are filled with get to the gym, get to work, and now throw some shit in a box (or many boxes) and drop it off at our new place in time for the sub-letter to move into our current home at the end of the month. All the while trying to find some quiet time to spend with Mimi and practice that ever loving skill of breathing. The new place is bigger, better and about as kick ass as you can hope for (think old gramma house with original tiling/wall paper). 18 months ago Mimi found the place we’re currently in all on her own (cause it’s hard to apartment shop together with 3500 miles separating you). We both love the apartment we’re in now but there are little things that are beginning to irk us. This new place not only has a lot of potential to shape into our “perfect” place, it also comes with two very good friends that live in the apartment above us. We’re actually moving into a house that’s been converted into three apartments with ours being the main floor flat. We can’t be more thrilled and planting our feet firmly into this new place and staying for a while!
So over the next couple of weeks while the blog posts may even come fewer and farther in between it’s only because a shit ton of stuff is happening all at once. I’m still going to be trying to figure out what the hell happened to my pictures, think about changing directions with the blog and training my ass off for Mont Tremblant.
Until then; remember to breath!
If you know anything about training for a triathlon, you know that “bricking” plays an integral part of that training. For me it’s most important that I work on my transition from bike to run. The swim and run, for me, are the two strongest events. It’s the bike that has me freaked out and it’s the bike that I’ll be spending the most time. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been upping my miles each week with last week going 43 miles on Peppermint Patty. The entire time I kept thinking “how can I be on this bike for upwards of 4 hours and then run for another 2+ hours?”
You spend a lot of time in your head when you’re cycling for hours at a time. You try to keep your mind clear or think about other things like scenery or when to open your next packet of GU because (at least for me) it inevitably falls back to that reminder that I’m on Peppermint for a long time and after that I have to shuffle my feet in some semblance of running.
It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling the past few weeks trying to get this new job and Half Ironman training under way. Really struggling. So much so this might be the first time I’ve taken on a physical goal and actually felt like I’ve taken on more than I can proverbially chew. I’ve stood in the kitchen, looked Mimi in the eyes and the words “I feel like I should drop out” have honestly come from my lips. I’ve laid awake at night seriously debating whether this venture was too much and that maybe I’ve reached my physical limit. Not everyone was meant to be an Ironman and maybe that included me.
I’ve said “Go big or Go home: and going home is NOT an option” and yet for the last couple of weeks I’ve wondered if “going home” wasn’t the right choice for me. That maybe this was the wrong time (as if there is ever a right time).
Yesterday I sat down with my friend Leanne whose been graciously holding my hand through this whole process (and by holding my hand I mean she laid out my training plan, set me in motion to cross the finish line and is pretty much keeping me sane). I told her my trepidation about maybe this endeavor was a little more than I could handle.
“Do you believe in yourself?”
“Do you trust me?”
“Then trust that I know better and you can do this”
So I’m trying hard to let go of the notion that this is “too much”. I’m holding onto the proof that I’ve never not been able to do something I set out to accomplish. I’m returning to the memories of what it was like to train for my marathons last year and how painfully hard it was emotionally and physically leading up to race day. In the midst of panic I’m taking a few deep breaths to keep calm and carry on.
This morning I set out on my long training day. After my pep talk with Leanne I’ve decided to focus on bricking the bike/run portions of training for a bit. It doesn’t help to be angsty about the transition from riding to running if I don’t even give myself a chance to experience the physical/emotional turmoil of doing both together. I wanted (needed) to do this Olympic distance bike/run. It’s not anything close to what Half Iron man will require me to do but I remember how spent I was when I crossed the finish line of my Olympic Triathlon so I figured it I can at least get through that this morning then maybe I’m going to be okay after all.
Instead of thinking about the running after 24 miles I just focused on when to eat and drink. That’s another thing I’m lacking experience in: when to fuel. I focused on how my legs felt and kept telling myself that I know how to run and soon enough I’ll be back to doing what I’m pretty darn good at. As I got closer to hopping off of Peppermint and heading out on foot I talked myself down. I wasn’t going far. 3 miles out then back for a total of 6. The initial run felt sluggish as it always does during this transition and it was good practice for me to just.keep.going. It wasn’t the physical act of bricking that I needed today. It was the emotional act of bricking that I needed. I needed to know that when it was done and over I could in fact keep going. Yes, I’m tired and in need of a nap but I feel good physically. In fact I was running at my normal pace even after biking for 90 minutes as a 15 mph clip (which for me is pretty fast).
I’m not saying that now I’m all beating my chest like Tarzan claiming I’m ready for Mont Tremblant and that 70.3. In fact I’m not even sure what I’m saying with this post today. I needed to get out there and emotionally practice my bricking and tonight when I lay my head down and wonder if this is the right path for me at least I know I’m not quite ready to go home…
All too often we listen to the doubts of ourselves and never really push past those doubts. We think we can’t lose weight. We think we’ll never be able be as physically active as we want. We think we’re destined to sit on the sidelines while everyone else pass us in a blur of “see I’ll never do what they do”. I’m so freaking scared of this Half Ironman and in that fear I let the feeling of doubt wash over me not really understanding that my emotional strength is as important (if not more) as my physical strength. Sometimes you need people in your life to tell you to stop listening to what you think is the truth and listen to the actual truth:
We Believe In You.
Before I get into this blog post I would just like to emphasis this isn’t directed at anyone in particular. I try not to point fingers unless it’s absolutely necessary (and in the history of alifechangingjourney it’s only happened once). Many people are going to read this and immediately think to themselves:
“Oh My God! Tara is totally calling me out”…
And that is the absolute point of this blog. Not to point the proverbial YOU out specifically but to talk about something that so many of us do on this journey of life changes: Hide.
When we start out on this journey it can feel extremely lonely. The disappointment we feel in ourselves for having gotten to a place where we even have to think about a beginning can feel so overpowering we’re afraid to take the first step in the direction we know we want to go. We feel isolated in our fear. Alone in our frustrations. We think that no one would ever understand why we’re crying at the idea of moving our bodies in ways unthinkable and *GASP* possibly doing it in front of other people. We’re afraid of ridicule and laughter. Certain of side comments that consist of “too fat” and “what the fuck are they thinking?” Assured that the barrage of stares from strangers will occur the second we raise our heartbeats up from attempting to step up from our couches and out of our comfort zones.
Then something almost magical happens with the help of the social media; we find we’re not as alone as first thought. Oh sure maybe I have A LOT more weight to lose than you do or vice versa, but we’re discovering that we share the same trepidation on this new path we’re on. You’re frustrations over the scale match my anger over figuring out which “Plan” is right for me. You’re elation over earning your first pin from Weight Watchers matches my joy at walking into my first boxing class and actually surviving. We discover that beyond us, there are more. Many more. Soon we’re following hundreds of people all on different paths but moving in the same direction: Forward.
Things stop going as “planned”. Life gets in the way and that forward direction starts to slow down. The elation of others begins to outweigh your joy at what your accomplishing. The success of others only reminds you of the failure of self. Or maybe you made it the the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and you’re not as motivated to push forward, move ahead, go after what you deserve. You keep up a facade but in truth, life is not going as you thought it should. Slowly and maybe without even thought you begin to hide. You don’t talk about your fears anymore because you think people won’t understand what it’s like to be a star only to fall from the sky and come crashing down to reality. Maybe you’re hiding because everyone around you is doing exactly what you thought you should be able to do at this point in your life but it’s taking much longer to.just.get.there….
We’re so focused on trying to prove to one another how “good” we are at what we’re trying to do we forget that life is a struggle. That life is about feeling our emotions truly and honestly. It’s about saying to the persons we’ve shared any part of this experience with “This shit is hard my friend.” We’re afraid to say “Yes, in fact I was at goal weight but I’ve gained some back” or “Yes, I did run 3 marathons last summer but struggle to run 6 miles now” because we don’t want to admit to ourselves that just like anything that must be traveled there are going to be bumps, turns and directions in the road we weren’t anticipating.
It’s the one thing I love about my blog so much. For every “Oh Hell Yes!” there is a “Oh For Fuck Sake” to go along with it. For every “I Did It!!!!” there’s an “I Can’t” not too far away. The hardest thing I had to teach myself (with a lot of practice) is how to not hide no matter how badly I want to go unnoticed.
Someone on the last blog post commented on my use of language: “Even your language sounds like it’s taking a lot of effort. Focus on what you want instead of the effort of achieving it. Use more empowering language instead of “it’s hard and it takes a lot of effort… it’s a long ride etc”. The quality of our communication with ourselves and others determines the results we get in our lives.” And while I agree with what the reader is saying I also know that it’s because I am so forth coming in my emotions that being able to say honestly what I’m feeling allows me to move beyond more quickly and get back to business. This journey is hard. It takes a lot of effort. And the one thing I refuse to do is hide no matter how shitty I think it’s going. Everyday is a struggle to stay in the moment even long into “end of the rainbow” phase of my life.
Have you been hiding? Afraid to talk about the “downs” because everyone else is “up”? Afraid that people won’t continue to give you rockstar status because maybe your lifetime WW membership is now coming wth an added 30, 40, 50 pounds that you tried to hide? Afraid that the people of last year won’t know it’s you this year because the scale shows a different number? Afraid to say “I’m struggling because it’s hard and is taking a lot of effort” because you think others will look at you like a failure? Don’t hide. We need to hear your story. All chapters. No matter how bad of a read you think you might be, you are worth reading. Those of us that are struggling with our current journeys need to know that we’re not alone.
We need to know that this journey is worth taking.
No matter the outcome.
Normally I peruse the interwebs for some kind of picture to put at the beginning of every post. Don’t ask why cause I don’t know. I guess I feel like it makes the post more readable or breaks up the monotony of thousands of words coming together and sometimes causing your eyes to go cross eyed trying to make sense of what I’m writing (saying, meaning, feeling, expressing)…
Today I have nothing.
Everything feels jumbled. This new job. The new schedules (both work and Half Ironman). I’m trying to keep calm (and carry on) but
more often than not every once in a while I feel like everything is bubbling over and I don’t have enough paper towels to clean up the mess. I feel like it’s not appropriate for me to complain because I’m so extremely grateful to be earning a paycheck. In fact just today I received my very first electronic copy of what amounts to my very first Canadian paycheck and while it’s much less that what I’m used to making I am beyond thankful for every single penny (or I guess it would be nickel since they’re doing away with the little copper coin).
I miss Mimi.
It’s been harder on my emotional “get up and go” when that “get up and go” only includes seeing her a few moments in the morning and a few moments in the evening. There are a lot of things I was taking for granted (like going to the farmers market on Saturday for landjaeger and Sundays at my in-laws) that I’m missing more than I thought I would. The longer training days (thankfully happening in the middle of the week) are physically demanding and a little intimidating because I’m out there on my own for the most part. Marathon training was much different this time last year. Getting up and running for upwards of 4 + hours just seemed easier knowing Mimi would be at the end of the run or ready to pick me up if I ran out of gas in my legs.
Yesterday I set out to go on one of the longest rides I’ve ever been on with Peppermint Patty. Last week I hit 22 miles and it was tough. I pushed it yesterday going a total of 37 miles in about 3 hours. I started out and felt pretty good even though I had no idea what I was riding towards. I planned the route but hadn’t yet ever been out that way. All I know is it followed the Ocean and you can’t go wrong if you have the Ocean to look at…
Here’s the deal; it was windy…like windy as all get out. Wind = slow going. Add to that the multitude of hills (and by multitude I mean “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me with this hill shit!”) and it makes for one hell of a hard ride. I planned better than I usually do. Food. Water. Buff and gloves to cut the cold. I didn’t wear the right shoes and that was my big downfall. Not too long after I started out my toes fell asleep and because of the wind factor it was extremely painful to get through the entire ride. So much so that I had to stop a few times and walk around to get the blood flowing to my toes again. I can still feel where it was the most painful so I’m pretty sure I got a tinge of frostbite on my little piggies.
But I got through it…
All 37 miles.
The only problem now is that I’m hyper focused on the fact that there will be a 1.2 mile swim before the ride, an additional 20ish miles (and another 90 minutes in addition to at least 3 hours) and then a half marathon run…
(don’t freak out, don’t freak out, don’t freak out)
When I got home, I missed having Mimi there waiting for me. That ever important hug and “it’s going to be okay” does more for my spirit than I guess I understood. My spirit is a little beaten up right now and I felt it as I headed to the gym for what was supposed to be my other long training day. 9 mile run and 1 mile swim…
I made it to mile 5.5 and left.
I just didn’t have it in me to get through another 3.5 miles then swim for 1600 meters. What I wanted more than anything was to be home. Do the dishes, throw in a load of laundry and grab a cup of coffee from the local bakery. All I kept thinking about on the treadmill was yesterday’s ride and how much physical work there is during that 70.3. How the hills were hard and how my toes were so painfully cold it scared me. I’ve never not been able to get through a few miles without having to walk but at mile two this morning I hit a wall and no matter how much I fought back it was not going to give and I was not going to fight it.
I wanted these last few days to feel strong. To feel closer to being ready than farther than I imagined. I know I can do all three events separately. How I’m supposed to bring them all together to add up to earning that Half Ironman title is still beyond me. I’m hoping next week’s long training days go a little better…
59 days to go.
Okay so here it is Sunday.
My last post was a week ago.
Not because I haven’t had anything to say
In fact I’ve had quite a bit to say.
Before I get into my rant (but in a good way…sort of), I have a Tommie Copper review weaved into this blog post. If you don’t want to read the rant (what the eff is wrong with you?), just scroll down and get to the giveaway (ya greedy bastards! Oh who am I kidding, I’d probably do the same damn thing. You can always come back and read the rest of the blog).
Okay so the rant. Right so here it is Sunday and if you’ve been keeping up with
the Jones what’s been going on over here in my corner of the world, you know I started a new full time job after twiddling my thumbs, screaming in frustration, checking the mailbox everyday, waiting patiently for almost 18 months. In a whirlwind of “Holy Crap, I have to get my shit together”, I started last Wednesday and let me be totally honest…
I’m fucking exhausted.
Okay so maybe that wasn’t the initial response expected but I might as well get it out of the way. I’m tired and I’ve been crying a lot. Now before the blog world goes “oh poor Tara, look at her finally working like the rest of us and here she is complaining she’s tired. Well let me tell you about tired…blah blah blah“, I wasn’t expecting everything to change so quickly so a lot of this tired/crying comes from a place of emotions. I haven’t quite figured out how to get this schedule under control and while it’s only been a few days I tend to get all freaked out with any kind of change (that’s the Aspergers coming out to play). Small changes reek havoc (like not having my usual locker at the gym available and needing to figure out which locker to pick) so you can only imagine what adding a full time job, trying to keep Ironman training on track, worrying about making sure Mimi gets to work and her appointments and as funny as this sound: trying to remember what the hell goes on a traditional chicken sandwich (if you’re familiar with Pete’s, you’ll know what I’m talking about), does to my emotional psyche.
But let’s not get all “I hate working” around here. I don’t. In fact I’m really having a good time being in this new environment. In the chaos I find a lot of solace since the job itself isn’t taking a lot of thought. I make sandwiches. I make A LOT of sandwiches. I get to talk to people all day (even if it’s just asking them what kind of cheese they’d like) protected behind sneeze guard glass satisfying my social interaction via parallel play.
And I’m earning a paycheck…
So all in all everything isn’t so bad. Adjusting takes time and I’ve been so used to having plenty of time that I forgot what it was like to not have hardly any at all. I worry about whose going to make dinner (Mimi had to remind me that she fed herself just fine before we met), how she’s going to get to work (Again reminding me that she’s got around town just fine before we met) and whose going to hang out with Old Man Chester when he’s lonely (and by lonely I mean sometimes I like to lay down on the bed just so he’ll come snuggle with me throughout the day).
The other thing I have to remember is that this is just me getting my foot into the working world door. While I do like where I am currently earning a paycheck it’s not the only place I have to earn said paycheck. I have an interview on Tuesday for the Canada Games Center and if you pay attention to my Yelp check in’s you know that’s where I train. I’ve also applied for an interpreting position with the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers (yes that’s right…horses!)…
The Universe may just change things up for me.
And while I don’t like change, I’ll do what is best for me.
(Aspergers be damn!)
Okay, okay…so now if you’ve managed to stick it out this long this is where the giveaway begins. Tommie Copper has been so very good to me. First with compression ankle sleeves, then compression socks and tights. A few weeks ago TC contacted me to see if I would be interested in trying out a pair of knee sleeves and a short sleeve compression shirt …
So I’ve had both in my hot little hands for a couple of weeks and let me just get right to the point: I LOVE THEM! The knee sleeves took a bit to get used too but I’ve used them running, biking and swimming (hello Ironman training) and I was skeptical about how they would help me. I don’t know if I have a wonky gait when I run but I tend to have some soreness a day or two after. Same with biking, and since its my weakest of the three events the soreness is quite apparent after getting off the bike. Having the sleeves on kept me focus on stride and I felt less “wonky”. Better stride = faster recovery. Big thumbs up for the sleeves!
The compression shirt may come as a little bit of surprise as to why I love it. As a weight loss person I have the “loose skin” syndrome. It’s not horrible but enough that it makes me super self conscious if I wear a tight fitting shirt. This makes the compression shirt perfect for me. I can wear it while working out and lessen the self conscious feeling. Oh and it makes my guns look pretty freaking amazing!
One last thing; as someone who is both on the spectrum for Aspergers AND transgendered this shirt brings me so much happiness. The compressed feeling brings a sense of comfort for the Aspergers and the compression pushes those girl bits on my chest down so I don’t have to slouch as much to hide that part of my gender.
Tommie Copper wants you to love them as much as I do so here is where the fun begins! They are letting me do a giveaway for your own knee sleeves or short sleeve compression shirt.
I’m using Rafflecopter to keep things easy.
It will be up for a week and then someone’s gonna get some good news!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This could very well be one of my most favorite blog pictures I’ve used to start the beginning of a blog post in a long time. The last week or so has been a beautiful chaotic
mess whirlwind of last minute road trips, crossing the border, sitting in offices waiting for my very own social insurance number and combing different job announcements.
I didn’t waste anytime.
When you have
days, weeks, months, over a year of time on your hands you get to think about what you might want to do once you are able to hit “submit” on the electronic resume you’ve been writing and rewriting. By trade I’m an ASL interpreter. A very good one (to toot my own horn) and there was some assumption that this is the direction in which I would head once I was able to join the world of the employed.
But instead I’ve decided to go off the well worn path and do something completely different. I’m returning to the food industry after a long long absent….15 years in fact. There is an amazing specialty food market in the heart of Halifax that I’ve loved since almost the day I landed and this coming Wednesday, I’m joining the ranks of their full-time staff working on the Deli line. When I sat down for the interview last Tuesday I was asked the question “Why would you want to work here”….
My honest answer: Who wouldn’t want to work here?
Yes, it’s a major pay cut. Yes I have to go back to working weekends and evenings. Yes I have to go back to wearing a uniform with my name embroider on the chef’s jacket (I wonder if they’ll let me get “T-Rex”?) but all those things don’t even phase me. First off I’m so freaking exciting to just be getting and going to work. Secondly this specialty market reminds me of one of my most favorite places back in Tacoma. Thirdly, the deli line is a focal point so we’re talking busy busy busy and engaging, engaging, engaging. And maybe the most important reason I’m really excited about working there is I’ve never had a bad experience there as a customer. I mean never and I go there a lot. People there just look like they enjoy working there and when you’re returning to the work force after a long hiatus you want to enjoy where you are.
(it also helps that it’s less than 2 blocks from where Red works)
The interview happened Wednesday and when I sat down I had one intention: Convince them they wanted me as much as I wanted them. I felt really good about how it went but the interviewers said it would be the following Monday when they would be officially offering the position. Interviews were to finish up Friday and then a few days to decide on the candidate.
Sit back and relax.
Send out another handful of resumes.
Because no matter how hard you try to move time, Monday will not come any faster.
Less than 24 hours after the interview I was offered the position.
There literally is no time to think about how this is all going to affect the very things I’ve become accustom too over the last 18 months. All will be figured out as I go along. The time with Meegan, the training of Half Ironman, the blogging (both here and over at theHDD) and just getting used to working 40 hours a week are worrisome but if there is one thing I know about this long journey of life changes it’s this: I always keep moving forward no matter how small the steps may feel.
The next couple of weeks things might get real quiet here as I figure out how this new schedule of mine can include all the things I love to do (spending time with Red, training hard, writing). I’ve decided to add my social media apps back onto my phone since there will a strict “no phone” policy in place while I’m working…
OMG DID YOU JUST READ WHAT I WROTE….
“while I’m working”
And all is right in my world.
And just like that the immigration process is over.
18 long months we’ve been shuffling papers, paying fees and waiting….
Over a year of running to the mailbox hoping for some silver lining and only finding letters of such and such has expired or “we never received payment” when clearly our bank account says they did. Offices closing and files left sitting until someone stamps the next phase as complete but never truly explains just how many phases there are to finish.
Getting the “we made a decision” email and then nothing. Asking for a copy of my passport and then silence. Being told it would be another 35 days once the decision has been made to get something in the mail but that thing is what? Welcome to Canada or Go Back to the States? and 35 days? Is that business days or actual days because you know 4 ish weeks is much shorter than 7 weeks but really whats another 2 months added on to the 18 months we’ve already been waiting…
The anticipated “it won’t be here” walk to the mailbox.
And there it was.
Almost like Charlie and the golden ticket, the envelope from CIC had arrived but too afraid to be disappointed, we didn’t assume that “golden ticket” was inside. Heart racing, tears already falling and the ever so painfully slow opening of the envelope so as not to rip any paper work inside.
We had gotten so used to the waiting we didn’t even know how to react to what amounts to everything about our lives changing once again. The celebrational jump around the kitchen complete, we planned our “holy shit, we have to get to a border as fast as possible” road trip. Throwing some extra food in the bowl for the cats, a quick call to my in-laws and all of a sudden we’re driving towards the US border, not knowing what we were doing but at least we had the piece of paper that said come on down, we’d be happy to make you a permanent resident of Canada.
350 miles and six hours later, I stood in front of a immigration officer and watched him sign his John Hancock to the one piece of paper that is about as important to me as my beautiful wife Mimi, my gorgeous niece Amy, my Old man Chester cat and the one thing that I truly own outright: My Car Dusty.
Fast forward to today (not quite a week later) and I’m feeling the affects of all the crossroads converging. My mind has been going a mile a minute about what to do. My eating in celebration of paperwork, unplanned road trips and Easter holiday has been literally in the crapper (causing my crapper to not function properly) and I’m literally at a stand still as to “What’s Next?” Throw in a little (or a lot of) back pain from throwing it out Wednesday followed by 12 hours of driving but not giving a shit because I had a piece of paper that needed someone’s Johnny H and I’ll be damn if it wasn’t happening ASAP means I haven’t broken a sweat in just about a week and thoughts of Half Iron Man training went on the back burner while Pizza, Beer, Ice Cream, Coconut Cream Pie, Cadbury Mini Eggs and Potato Chips were front and center.
I’m combing job postings like a mother fucker. Thinking about returning to the work force and finally….finally being able to contribute financially to this marriage and bring some peace to Mimi’s over worked bank account. A flower shop just opened up last week less than a block from our house and I stare at it’s windows anticipating the day I can walk in and buy something without having to first ask Mimi for a few bucks.
I’m thinking about what I actually want to do for employment. Go back to my career as an interpreter? Something that I was exceptionally good at back home but not sure where I fit in here, the universe sent me a sign (pun intended) this weekend during our garage sale festivities. Three Deaf people approached our table (among 400+ tables) and for over a half hour we chatted away reminding me why I love being an interpreter. It felt so natural to be back in my “element”. At the same time my life since arriving in Halifax has taken some much ingrained turns. Working full time will change everything. Christ, working part time will change everything. Thoughts of “who will cook and clean?” “Who will run the blogs?” “Who will lay around with Chester when he’s not feeling so hot in his old age?”, “What happens to the coaching that I love so much?”…”How does all of this affect my Half Iron Man?”
There is so much racing through my mind that I am standing in the middle of the proverbial room and not knowing which way to turn to get up and get moving. This blog post is more about helping me verbally vomit all the stuff inside my head so that I can get down to business of finding a job and finding a new balance in my marriage to Red. My to-do list is long with little things that bring me joy (making almond butter) and big things that scare the crap out of me (research business license for freelancing). Today is the last day of vacation for Red and not wanting to waste it sitting in front of the laptop trying to decide whether I want to be a part time dishwasher, a full time beer drive thru attendant or an interpreter, I also don’t want another second to go by without hitting the send button with the subject “Job posting”.
Food is another matter in this “help, someone tell me what to do next” panic feeling. The both of us are feeling the affect of “fuck it, let’s eat (insert food here)“. So we begin to reign in our choices this week and try to return to a more “normal” food foundation knowing it’s what makes us feel better physically and emotionally.
Now I’m off to drink copious amounts of coffee (with coconut milk) and begin figuring out how to tackle this new chapter in my life and planning what kind of flowers I’m going to be buying my beautiful Red with my very first Canadian paycheck!
Welcome to Canada!
I don’t spend too much time blogging about my training for races nor do I spend too much time writing about the “hum drum” of my everyday ordinary life (though it is far from ordinary considering). This blog is much more woven with words of emotional work I do to change my life rather than the physical work I do to change my life.
And to be honest, I don’t know which one is more difficult.
What I do know though, is that without the work of one there would not be the work of the other. I couldn’t push my body as physically hard as I do if I didn’t set the emotional foundation needed to believe that I am strong enough and more importantly that I deserve to push my body beyond the boundaries I set against myself for so long. The same can be said for the emotional work that I push myself through. I couldn’t do it if I didn’t set the necessary physical foundation to know that I am strong enough to deal with even the darkest of days and many times it is through physical strength that I find the ability to express my emotional strength.
I have a hard time believing in myself even today.
There are a few words I never truly imagined I would be able to call myself when I decided to stand up and take control of my life. It happens to all of us as we begin this journey of weight loss. We start by working out at the gym, or walking around the block more and we compare ourselves to those we wish to be. I remember going to the gym early on in my weight loss and watching one particular runner. Every morning she was there on her treadmill and I would always hop on the one behind her because she was everything I wanted to be: Fit, Fast and looking like her running was a run in the freaking park on a sunny day with the birds chirping in her ear while bunnies hopped next to her and deer pranced along side (she looked that comfortable). I would look at her pace and think “I’ll never run an 8 minute mile” and then look at my pace and think “Fuck this 13 minute mile feels like I’m going to hurl”
I don’t run a 13 minute mile anymore.
I don’t wish I was her anymore.
I am her.
When I put that first 5k sticker on my car I could only dream about the 26.2. I never thought I would call myself a marathoner. Then I added a 10k sticker, still not believing in myself and my ability to chase after the 26.2. Then I got really good at running half marathons and right along the 5k and the 10k sticker went my beautiful 13.1 sticker…even when I had my sights set on my first marathon I didn’t believe that I could but I worked hard for it. For hours alone, I ran. Thinking about what it was going to be like to cross over that finish line and then lovingly place that sticker on my car. A badge of honor for other people to see and maybe dream like I once did. I cried so much while out there on my own because in the end you can have all the support in the world cheering you on but the only person that is going to get you from mile zero to mile twenty-six is you.
More times than not I had to have “The Talk” with myself to keep going;
“You want this more than anything right now Tara.”
“You deserve this.”
“You keep moving.”
“You are okay and you will finish”
Then when I finished the first one, I pushed the boundaries even more and completed two more a short time later. Pushing the physical boundaries means I am pushing my emotional boundaries and when I’m doing both I am becoming a better me. A stronger me. I never thought I would become a marathoner but I did because even though I didn’t believe at the time I continued to push until it was a reality.
Being able to call myself an Iron(wo)man is one of those things I still don’t believe and yet I am 3 months away from stepping up to the starting line and doing everything in my power to cross the finish line. Training is supposed to officially start April 1st, but this week I’ve started following what will become my “normal” schedule for the next couple of months, and in addition to the new schedule I’ve continued to go to boot camp, so this first week of transition has been a wallop. I’m more sore than I’m used too and tired is taking on a whole new level (though that may be a diet issue more than anything else). I’m finding myself wondering what I’m getting myself into and whether or not I’ll actually be able to finish. Drills in the pool leave me feeling like I’m floundering, riding for an hour and having legs tire out leave me wondering how I would continue for another two and then of course it all comes with the “and you want me to run 13 miles after all this” freak out that I’ve been having every day this week.
But here’s a little secret:
I’m also having “The Talk” with myself as I’m swimming, riding, or running. Just like the 5k, 10k, 13.1 and 26.2 stickers I’ve worked so hard to achieve I deserve this 70.3 more than anything and I will keep moving at all costs. As I’m swimming I think about what it will be like to stand among all the other athletes, regardless of our abilities and hear that gun go off. To know that as soon as I start, everything I’ve wondered about myself is about to become a reality. As I’m biking indoors (waiting for Spring to arrive) I close my eyes and think about what it’s going to be like to ride for 56 miles in Mont Tremblant. The beautiful scenery and the cheering crowds. When I feel my legs get tired I just remind myself that this is what I deserve. To push the boundaries that I held against myself for so long. When I’m running I imagine seeing that finish line in front of me. Just thinking about it makes me choke up (even blogging about it). To know that all the physical and emotional work these last
few months three years has brought me to the very moment I never believed possible.
So this week I am tired. My muscles are sore. I need to look at the foods that I’m eating and think about changing my food foundation up for what I’m asking my body to do. I’m crying while I’m swimming (and making it hard to see out of my goggles), I’m crying while I’m biking (but it just looks like sweat) and as expected, crying while I’m running because while I am pushing those physical boundaries I continue to push the emotional boundaries as well.
Mont Tremblant, I am coming for you.