I know a lot of people think that training and racing come easy for me. When I tell people my goals, the response is always something like “oh you will crush that!” but when I get into the details of my training, it’s usually met with wide-eyes and sometimes judgement. It’s as if the race will magically happen without the training.
I get a lot of:
You’re doing too much
Why are you doing all this training?
Are you sure you should be doing that many (miles, yards, hours, etc.)?
You get the idea.
A recurring theme is when I tell people the breakdown of an Olympic distance triathlon – 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike and 6 mile run – they respond with “oh that’s totally doable” or “that should be easy for you.” I just smile and nod but honestly, racing is never easy, and although those distances may seem “totally doable” (and they are) it is one tough mother effer when you put them all together and, let’s not forget that this will be my first attempt at this distance.
There is fear. There is doubt.
Sometimes the comments get to me. They trickle in, they build up, until…
The Health Scare
After being sick with some sort of stomach bug all day on Sunday, I started feeling better on Monday but still a little off. I did a 2800 yard swim and 20 minute pool run, which is an easy day, and felt fine. I continued with my day – grocery shopping, laundry, writing – stop me if this is too much excitement for you – and then I started getting the worst chest pain imaginable.
I thought it was heart burn. It made sense it was heart burn.
I googled what to do and came up with chewing peppermint gum, drinking a tablespoon of baking soda with water and taking an antacid. I did all of those and was still in tremendous pain for two hours! My husband was driving home from Boston and my kids were about to get off the bus.
There was another thing I saw when I googled – – heart attack. This is, of course, why they tell you not to google your symptoms. But, I was in so much pain and I was worried to be alone with my kids if something did happen so, I called my dad and stepmom and they came over immediately. They also thought I should go to the ER because, what was the down side?
So off I went. Feeling ridiculous and also scared. And still in so much pain.
My husband called me on the way there and told me this could all be related to my training, that it’s too much and I’m damaging my heart.
There was fear. There was doubt.
At the hospital they immediately ran an EKG and declared my heart is in magnificent, perfect, overwhelmingly fantastic condition. Ok, what is really said was my heart rate was “low” because anything below 60 BPM is considered slow. However, the nurse (who was a runner!) knew immediately I was an athlete and said all the healthy, fit people show up as “low” when really we are in great health. For the record my resting heart rate is 50.
To be safe, they did a chest x-ray and had a blood culture done – all clear. It was acid build-up from whatever was going on with my stomach on Sunday. I was told to eat white rice, toast and applesauce and not to drink coffee without food and to take my prescription. Gross, but doable.
Now, three days out, I’m back to myself and eating anything but white rice and toast. But, this little scare got me thinking.
Why do I doubt myself?
Why do I let what other people think bother me or give me second thoughts about my training?
I know a lot of people don’t understand why I do what I do. Some may even think it’s silly, vain, a waste of time or any combination of those things. Why does it matter?
Many claim that social media only shows or discusses the highlight reel of life, of training, of anything so – -here it is, the ugly side, the under belly, the real deal.
I do care what people think.
Words bother me.
Nasty comments bother me.
I am affected.
I know who I am and I know why I do what I do.
I know my body.
When I was pregnant with the twins and still exercising I got a lot of the same comments, questions and, most of all, death stares at the gym. The result? Healthy twin baby boys carried to term when 60% of twins are premature and end up in the NICU.
I listened to my body and mind then and I’m listening to them now.
All anyone would need to see are the pictures of my training days which could not possibly be faked, day after day. So often I get comments on my Instagram feed that read “you are always smiling!” And yes, I am because this is what makes me happy.
It also obviously makes my heart happy. Very happy.
Making my body and mind healthy is a very big reason I do what I do. After my mother was diagnosed with cancer and died when I was 17 I decided that I would do everything I could to be healthy. I would do everything my mom couldn’t do – be thin, be active, eat right, exercise everyday, run a marathon, LIVE A LONG LIFE.
So, my message to you is do what feels right to you. Do what makes you feel happy. Screw everyone else and, if you have to, prove it with an EKG. #Drastic
There will be days and times when you question everything but, if you’re honest with yourself, you will have all the right answers.
[Tweet “Have you questioned everything during a hard #training cylce? These are my answers. #Train4Life “]
Have you questioned your training? Races? Goals? Tell me about it.
How do other people’s questions/comments affect you?