Monday, May 13, 2013

success and failure ...

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.

28 comments:

bobbi said...

I know that this must have been ENORMOUSLY difficult.

Just want to say that I'm proud of you. Because it's definitely a success.

And I really really hope you can figure out what's going on with your body. So frustrating...

bmorerecovered.com said...

So proud, impressed, and inspired by you! Knowing you, I know this must have been a grueling decision to make but I know in the end you ALWAYS do what's right for you and your family. Your girls have some bad ass momma as a role model!

Erika said...

I can only imagine how tough that was for you to handle. It sounds like you made the right decision and are doing what's best for you which is most important.
Best wishes in finding out what's going on and here's to a happy, healthy year!

Kasey said...

Smart move- if you don't take care of YOU, then there won't be Any start lines.
I just got home from a pre-op appointment, and am having a hard time coping with the fact that I'll be unable to do anything beyond walking for 6 weeks. GAH! Which means revising my marathon goals for the fall from a time goal to "beat the bus"- I don't want to get picked up by the DNF bus that enforces time cut-offs!
Get some rest. I still have mad respect for you for even tackling the half!

Canuck Mom said...

Being a Type A girl myself I know this has had to be tough for you. I am very much the same way. If I succeed I have to stay at that level, if I fail I have to learn from it and do better. You made a smart decision though. I hope that you are able to find out what is going on with your body.:( I know it must be frustrating to see everything come back okay.

HEATHER @ runfastermommy! said...

You are one hell of a strong woman, T. Big hugs to you <3

*~*~* Tracy said...

i haven't been following closely, but have you been tested for Lyme? i hope you get answers; the not knowing part of the problem is the hardest. all the best to you.

Michelle said...

Smart. I know it was painful, but you prioritized correctly. There will always be another 140.6. We only get one shot at taking care of us.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

I can understand how challenging it was for you to come to this decision. It sets a wonderful example to others out there who are trying to live up to their own past success. A great reminder that success is defined in many ways.

It is timely for me personally as I enter the final countdown to my next big adventure. No matter what I will remember that success is not a word simply defined.

Good luck getting answers and feeling healthy again!

Anne said...

I truly hope you can figure out what is going on with your body...and as difficult as it must have been for you, it sound like you made the wisest decision for you at this time in your life. Your strength shines through!

Becka said...

I know EXACTLY how you are feeling. If you figure it out, let me know.

Sorry about 140.6, there will always been another one.

Karen said...

Not a failure at all! The thing with ironman is that it is all consuming - mentally and physically. If you aren't 100% to start with, it would be that magnified times 10. Come back to it whe it is right for you - there is no rush!

Paige (The Last Doughnut) said...

I think sometimes our bodies just need us to slow down. I have been running for ten years (started when I was 30 years old), and my one "long" break was 3 consecutive days without running. I was mortified. I have continued on with my relentless schedule of trying to run most every day. As a result, I am having knee issues, Achilles issues, and am tired a lot of the time. Yet...I still don't take any extended time off. There will come a time when my being hard headed will put a stop to it (whether I want it to or not).

A good (smart) friend of mine is an elite runner. He started having nagging injuries and being tired all of the time, and he is currently taking a YEAR off of running. I can't imagine doing that, but sometimes I wish I could.

Laura Anderson said...

Success/Failure have consistently been the hardest thing for me to deal with in my 25.5 years. One of the quotes I love is "Don't let success go to your head and don't let failure go to your heart" I tell myself this ALL the time, especially with my running/athletic adventures. Because sometimes we do well and other times we don't and it's hard not to define yourself by either of these.

Elizabeth said...

Always a success when you listen to your body. Take care of yourself and praying you find an answer soon.

MCM Mama said...

I'm sorry you are still struggling to figure out what is going on. Fingers crossed something easily fixable pops up as the answer soon.

I know how hard you must have struggled with this decision. There are elements of success and failure in everything and sometimes you just have to accept that life just is. (Can you tell I'm totally not Type A? LOL)

Michelle said...

Your decision is nothing but a success - you are doing what's best for you right now and I applaud you! I am so sorry you are struggling right now and am keeping my fingers crossed that you find some answers soon!

Corey said...

Awe, T. I am so sorry to hear that you won't be able to race the 140.6 this year. It definitely is the sign of a mature athlete to know when their body just isn't keeping up with their heart and their mind. Good luck to you as you try to work through your health issues. Stay persistent and take charge of your own health (as you already are). It will pay off in the end.

DavidJudy Read said...

Really Proud of you Tonia for listening to your body. I know this was a tough decision for you.

I hope you can figure out what is going on with your body.

Thinking of you!!!

ifthisiscrazy.com said...

It takes a lot more strength to know when to walk away than to push through and race. I hope you find answers very very soon and I look forward to following your 140.6 - whenever it may be.

kimert said...

I would call this a success. It's so hard to listen to our bodies and make decisions like this but it's wise. I hope you get answers soon and start to feel better.

ajh said...

It is a success. Good job making the best decision for you.

Nicole Orriƫns said...

I love that quote. It is so true. And I love the way you've 'grown'!

Momshomerun

Mustang said...

love you.

Alili said...

Such a difficult and emotional decision, but the right one. Live life out loud and in good health.

Elizabeth said...

obviously playing catch up and now onto this post- i think it's smart decision. you seem very wise, and definitely not like a failure...but i understand. I feel like a slob and lazy as hell right now and there is nothing i can do about it. but sit here. patience is not being crazy type A are a huge issue for me. really hoping you feel better soon and get some answers. and if you want to sleep-sleep! :)

fitmomsfullplates.com said...

I'm so sorry to read this Tonia!! I'm a Type A myself and dealt with overtraining last year with back to back marathons plus multiple halves within weeks of each other after having had a baby only 10-months earlier. I ended up finally seeing I was suffering from the early effects of Adrenal Fatigue...so I took some time earlier this year to get some of myself back and reassess my goals for the year. As much as it pained me I took a step back from a few things to focus on my real goal. I think Type As while having a hard time letting go of control and accepting that we can't always do it all, when we DO let go I think we come back stronger, tougher, and smarter...at least I do. You wouldn’t just quit willy-nilly…the fact that you analyzed it rationally and realized it was the right thing to do to drop back is admirable. Lots of good thoughts--you are a rockstar always!!

Rachel said...

T, I am so proud of you. It takes immense courage and self-preservation to say "No. I cannot do this to my body as much I want to." It feels like defeat, I get it. But we all know that it's not about can't with you, it's about not right now. You will CRUSH that 70.3! Don't ever forget what a rockstar and inspiration you are! It has me seriously contemplating a 70.3 for next year.. EEK!