It feels like it’s been a while since I updated my athlete blog. The triathlon season finished for me in mid-October with The Dam Tri. I then did the Gran Fondo Hincapie in Greenville on October 19th. I intended to do the 80-mile Gran route, but I took a spill early in the descent down Skyuka, and then the weather deteriorated to cold and rainy with the Green River Cove switchbacks still to come. I didn’t have the confidence to make that descent on my own in the rain so I pulled the plug after Saluda Grade and headed back to the race finish at Hotel Domestique. You can see my “crash” on Skyuka here and learn more about the Gran Fondo Hincapie Greenvile route here. You can catch the whole ordeal on my Instagram Story Highlights – search for “eco_triathlete”.
After the Gran Fondo Hincapie, I had an enjoyable off-season with no structured workouts. I chose to do a few yoga classes, something I never have time to fit into my training schedule, and some easy runs here and there with my husband. My husband and I also rode in the “Bikes and Beers” event here locally in Blythewood – we had fun both on the bike and with the beers afterwards! I enjoyed the time off from structured workouts, sleeping in until 7am, and the free time to focus on what I want to do in 2020. I also was able to spend some time rehabbing my left thumb, which was bothering me with some pretty severe tendinitis.
The time off allowed me to get back into my pedestrian and cycling advocacy that I started back in April of this year. With no races on the calendar until May, I see this as the time to make connections within local government to try to push for rules and legislation that will support vulnerable road users instead of hindering us. Plans are in the works to use local media and social media to educate the public, lobby our county councilors to improve county roads and infrastructure that supports multi-modal transportation, and work with local law enforcement to crack down on dangerous drivers. To see everything that’s going on in real time, request access to the Kershaw County Runners, Walkers, & Cyclists Facebook group, or check out my update from August.
Structured training started back up in early November, and I had a solid 2 weeks of training, getting back to basics and working on the fundamentals. Unfortunately, on November 18th, my father-in-law committed suicide. My in-laws live in the same town as us, and my husband was pretty close with his dad so this hit us hard. Of course, my husband and I cleared out work schedules and focused on everything involved in a family death like this. It was tough on us emotionally, but I’m proud that we were able to support each other, have important chats about our feelings, and work as a team to get through it. I loved my father-in-law dearly so this was a tough blow that we’re still both dealing with.
I reached out to my coach and told her the situation and how it would affect my training. I saw my workouts as optional and only did them if they fit into my schedule and energy levels. I managed to do just over half of the scheduled workouts, and I used it a form of release and therapy. A run outside or an hour in the pool has a way of clearing my mind, and also made me feel like I had a firm foundation while everything else around us was unusual and out of whack. Working out has always had a positive effect on my mental health, and I’m eternally grateful to have it in my life.
The following week was Thanksgiving, and we pulled together as a family and had a pleasant day. The combination of Ray’s death + Thanksgiving week made work feel like it wasn’t happening so I was happy to have a workout everyday to ground myself. I did a small charity 5k run on Thanksgiving morning, then cooked lots of yummy vegan food for Thanksgiving that afternoon. It was a good day.
The first week of December, I thought everything would be back to normal with work and workouts. Turns out my hormones went completely whacky, and I suffered from sore breasts and then a minor depression for that week. I’m not sure if it was the past 2 weeks’ stress catching up with me, or just the hormones, but it really felt like it was the end of the world for me. Times like that, where my head and heart are not aligning, are luckily infrequent but they can be scary. It really affects my work, how well I’m able to cope with stress and clients, and my overall wellbeing. I just want to crawl into bed and sleep for a week, which is not possible. I capped off the week with a migraine all day on Friday, December 6th, my 4th migraine this year.
The following day was the Jingle Bell 5k in our hometown. Both my husband and I were signed up to race. My husband’s goal was to break 25 minutes for the first time. I wanted to put together a good run without blowing up. I’m happy to say that we accomplished both our goals! I pulled together a smart, measured run, and ran down the first place girl to take the overall female win. This was a bright spot in an otherwise tough couple of weeks.
As I write this a week later, I still feel a bit uneasy. It has me examining what I want to do with my life in terms of where I want to go with my business. I feel like there will be big changes in 2020, and that’s a little scary. But overall, the feeling is of being fed up. Fed up of taking on clients that maybe I shouldn’t have taken on; fed up of racist, ageist, and sexist comments; fed up of working my ass off for clients who don’t recognize or appreciate the work I’m doing. Putting my energy into the cycling and pedestrian advocacy gets me energized and lit up. And I’ve launched a new initiative called The Eco-Interviews. The goal is to amplify the voices of eco-warriors from across the world and start conversations. This work also gets me excited and doesn’t drain me the way other projects might. Unfortunately, neither of these projects pay the bills, yet.
So going into 2020, I feel like triathlon is my rock, my foundation, my self-care when other aspects of my life are in flux. I’m looking forward to doing my first full Ironman at Lake Placid in July, and the focus that will bring throughout the next 7 months of training. For work, I’m going to go after my passions as much as possible and see if I can make that work. Being a solo-entrepreneur and female can be extremely isolating. There are not a lot of us out there, and I think many of us put up with a lot of crap that we shouldn’t have to. I’m grateful to be friends with a few other female business owners, and I’ll be trying to strengthen those bonds so that I don’t find myself so isolated and depressed. Depression is no joke. I currently don’t take any medication for it, but it may be something to explore if other lifestyle changes don’t improve the situation.