Yesterday when I was packing up my bag and loading my car with gear for yet another workout, I started to realize how much my lifestyle has changed in just the short period of time I have been training for Boise. I couldn’t remember the last time I had gotten all dressed up. I couldn’t remember life before the schedule and skipping a workout just because I didn’t “feel” like doing it. And, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so energized and determined. This triathlon business is definitely bringing out a different side of me.
As I was doing my speed work and making my way around and around and around the track, I started to think about all the ways in which my life has transformed into what it is now. Apparently I like to do a lot of thinking when I am out on my runs or bike rides. Swimming? Well, all I think about when I am swimming is making it through the next lap without swallowing massive amounts of water or drowning.
I’m sure there is a whole laundry list of ways my life has changed since I decided to sign up for Boise, but here are the top ten changes that have been the most noticeable to me and probably others around me.
I eat more than I ever have in my life. I feel I am constantly fueling, snacking, hydrating, and thinking about what I am going to eat next. Before I was training, I wasn’t eating nearly as much, and have actually found it difficult to eat the number of calories I need each day to match my activity level. I never thought that eating more would be hard – but it is. I’m learning. I also stash food everywhere like a chipmunk. My car. My bike. My gym bag. My purse. My pockets. Wherever I go, there is food.
My car is a second closet. I have always been a neat freak and my car is no exception. However, making sure I have a helmet, extra pair of shoes, socks, gloves, water bottles, jackets, tights, bike shorts, tank, goggles, sunglasses, chapstick, and food is vital to my workout success. I never know what to expect and the last thing I want to do is go back home because once I get there, I may call it a day.
Discipline. I have always been a fairly disciplined person when it comes to achieving goals and working hard, however I feel as though I am more aware of how each of my actions throughout the day affects a specific outcome in my training process. There have been days where I have literally been at the Y in the road struggling to decide which path to go down: comfort or train? I have found that discipline keeps me on the only path that can get me to where I want to be. This quote says it best:
Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.
Aside from when I am asleep, I live in workout clothes. My closet full of cute clothes, jewelry, shoes, and accessories has been neglected and replaced by tights, sports bras, tanks, and running shoes. My hair has pretty much shaped itself into a permanent ponytail and my face has been makeup free. My energy now goes elsewhere! *If there were a special occasion, I would certainly get “glammed” up*
I’m sleeping better than I have in a long time, but keep having crazy dreams (every night) that always evolve around running, biking, or swimming. One night I even woke up after sleep talking and having a conversation with my husband (that I do not remember) about yards versus meters in the pool and how far I had swam. I’m pretty sure my husband was highly entertained by my confusion and sleepiness.
I can relate to the energizer bunny. With all of this training I feel like I keep going and going and going and going…. and with all of this “going” one would think that I would burn out, want a break, or take a few days off to relax. However, I have yet to miss a workout that my coach has scheduled. What I have actually discovered is that the more I do, the more energized I feel. Perhaps I am feeling more confident with each completed workout, I don’t know. My goal is to keep the energy flowing and momentum going until Boise. Another fantastic quote that coincides with the way I feel:
“Guys ask me, don’t I get burned out?
How can you get burned out doing something you love?”
I’m a multitasking queen! This has always been something that I have been good at, but with balancing three sports, all the different prep work and thought involved, work, emails, errands, house maintenance, and time with husband, friends, and family, life can get pretty complex. This is where my Type A personality comes in handy. ☺
I’ve rediscovered my body. Learning what your body is physically capable of is truly a magical thing. The hours, days, and weeks of training are starting to show and I am feeling stronger than I ever have before. Being able to measure progress objectively is something that I enjoy.
Appreciation for other athletes. When you pour your heart and soul into something you are passionate about, you also start to recognize those around you who are doing the same. I no longer find myself in a little bubble, and am more curious about others, want to listen to their stories, and provide encouragement when I can. Blogging and connecting with others has also helped me to open up.
Finding my joy. It’s true. When I am out on my bike, running the streets or trails around Bend, or swimming laps at the pool, I get a thrill that I cannot find elsewhere. It is my “flow”. As positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi would say, flow is “a state of complete immersion in an activity and being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” When people ask me why I invest so much time and energy into training for marathons and triathlon, it’s simple. Flow.
Change happens all the time, sometimes for the good and sometimes for the bad. It’s amazing how signing up and committing myself to one race (and more to come) could have such a significant impact on my lifestyle and perspective of what’s important in life. I appreciate a career that gives me the flexibility, my husband who gives me the support, and a body that gives me the ability. This change has made me believe that we should all notice those little, or big, changes we can make to find what makes us happy.