After a big race, I usually find myself in a post-race slump. That’s not happening this time. I’m not fretting figuring out what’s next. I’m actually pretty clear on where I’m heading and how I’m going to get there. I have two big projects going on right now.
First, I’ve been training with my coach Natasha and TriDot since January of this year. I’m down 19 pounds, and I raced personal bests at my two big “A” races this year – Ironman Coeur d’Alene and the Portland Marathon. I can’t argue with results, so I’ve already put in my request for a new TriDot program towards the Austin Marathon in February so that I continue training through the fall and winter. When that’s done, I know I’ll do another TriDot program towards Coeur d’Alene in June and then yet another one towards the Portland Marathon next October. When a program works for me, I stick with it, and this one is working big time. I’m excited to keep working on my fitness and to return to the races I did this year so that I can repeat courses and accurately gauge my improvement.
The other big thing is that I’m writing more. I’m writing more on this blog, but I’m also just writing more generally. I’m writing more articles and work pieces. I’m writing more in my journal. I’m even writing emails I know I’ll never send just because the act of writing helps me work through my thoughts. I took a class on personal essays from Saundra Goldman in the spring, and that’s gotten me both reading and writing personal essays more now than I ever have in the past. I’m taking a class on memoir from Spike Gillespie now. Just last night, she got me started on a piece that I think could go somewhere – and by that I mean that I might actually want to send out for publication. Since I’ve decided to return to Whidbey Island this year for another PeerSpirit workshop, I’m starting to think about how I want to use that week and what writing project in particular I want to advance.
Over the course of the year, I’ve realized that I am a much more capable athlete than I originally thought, but it’s been hard to change how I view myself. Even after four Ironmans and thirteen marathons and heaven only knows how many other races, I still feel like the chubby girl in fifth grade gym class who enviously watched her friends back handspring and backflip across the gym floor. I look in the mirror, and that insecure kid is not who I see these days, but I have to make a point of looking in the mirror to be reminded that I have changed. I’m finally – and let me stress the finally – starting to view myself as a potential bad-ass triathlete, a term my coach used about me earlier this year. This year, I’ve proven to myself that I do not have to be resigned to being slow. I can improve, and I have improved tremendously.
I’d like to take what I’ve learned about myself through training and put it to work in my writing. I have watched people I know and love get book contracts and become published authors, and the little voice in my head has said again and again, “That will never happen for you.” It’s time to prove that little voice wrong once again. I’ve published pieces in one magazine. Couldn’t I write for more? I write for myself a lot. Couldn’t I write a book? Whether or not I become someone who makes a living on writing, shouldn’t I try, if that’s what my heart wants?
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this Ironman craziness, it’s that anything is possible. Absolutely anything. So there will be no post-race slumping going on here, but there will be writing. Lots and lots of writing. And training. And progress. And changing how I view myself. And blowing through one goal after another. I can’t wait.