The two hardest things to handle in life are success and failure. - Unknown
That was my senior quote. At the time, I felt like it pretty much summed up my entire being. 13 years later, I would have a hard time arguing differently.
There is an enormous amount of pressure (whether self-imposed or external) in either scenario. The way I see it (which may be completely unfounded), if you succeed, you need to continue to live up to the standard that you've set for yourself. And if you fail, then you have to exceed what you've done in the past. Either way, you're really in the same place - expecting more and more with every attempt.
I know this is a Type A trait.
And I know I am textbook Type A.
(I'm sure anyone who doesn't classify themselves as Type A is probably shaking their heads thinking, "Why would anyone ever see life that way?")
This whole success and failure relationship has been eating away at me lately. I know I am not functioning at 100%. In fact, despite test after test that tell me I am the picture of health, I walk away knowing that something is going on. There is a reason I am not refreshed after 10 hours of sleep. There is a reason that I go through every workout feeling like I raced the day before. There is a reason I have almost every hypothyroid symptom out there, but my blood work is "normal". There is a reason I have gained 25 pounds in the last 18 months despite meticulous food journaling/measurement and intense training. There is a reason.
I just don't know what it is.
I have suspected for some time that my training is amplifying my symptoms. Last week's episode at the pool was the final straw. I've been pushing through workouts for months, so I know my mental game isn't failing me. My body is. As a last ditch attempt, I decided to take a few days off to see if I felt any better. Now, five days later, I would say that there has been very little improvement. Yes, I am not sore, but I still don't feel strong. And my fatigue, well, let's just say that if I closed my eyes right now, I'd be out in five minutes.
So, after many tears and a few meltdowns, I accepted the hand I've been dealt. This is not my year for 140.6. I will not be toeing the line at Rev3 Cedar Point FullRev. Instead, I will tackle the HalfRev, with the most basic training plan I could find. One that peaks at a volume lower than I am currently at. It will be a race for fun with no pressure of finishing times or placement.
Because ultimately, my health is too important. I need to figure out what's going on with me and get back to feeling the way I did 18 months ago. And unfortunately, I know that training 13 to 20 hours per week isn't going to allow me to do that.
Maybe I'll get to that start line next year. Maybe I'll get there in 10. Or maybe, it's somewhere I'll never go. Right now, I'm OK with that. I know it's the smart thing to do. And I know that no matter how many times other people tell me that I can make it through the training and all the way to the finish line, I know they are wrong. I can't get there without sacrificing things that I am not willing to sacrifice. And that's OK.
At first, I saw my decision as a failure. A failure to finish. A failure to see myself through something I had set out to do. A failure of my word. But, with acceptance, I'm starting to see that really, it's a success. A success to choose the path that's right for me. A success of letting go. A success to make the best of what I've got.
And that's exactly what I am going to do.