Back in the saddle again, again. I’m swimming, riding, and even running more consistently than I have in months.
Most of the winter got wiped out by that foot injury after Stewart Mountain, followed by a nasty flu, followed by the chaos of moving into my very own little (tiny) house. As I write this, the latest wave of contractors (insulation guys this time) are under the baleful eye of my long-suffering dog who has given up barking and just looks soulfully at the daily intruders. (“Cookie?!”)
The unplanned break has had an entirely unexpected outcome. It turns out, at the risk of inflicting TMI, that I am not menopausal after all. The nearly 18-month shutdown that I assumed was just age catching up to me corresponds precisely to my heavy pre-Worlds buildup. And as soon as I stopped carrying 10+ hours/week and gained 10 pounds, I went back to running like clockwork.
So, dang. I don’t qualify for the whole of the female athlete triad (amenorrhea, osteoporosis, eating disorders) – anyone who has seen me attack a wheel of brie and a box of Ritz crackers knows better – but I need to take a serious look at balance.
I’m no elite athlete. I will never make my livelihood at sport. I’m just a middle-aged IT wonk doing this for fun, but even so, I’ve just increased my risk for a dotage marred by osteoporosis, because I partook of the vain pleasures that accompany owning a seriously ripped pair of shoulders and mighty impressive power:weight statistics. I must also admit that this interval has exposed more serious body image issues than I thought I had. My inner voice has been unspeakably cruel to the woman in the mirror whose jeans are a tiny bit snug.
What the hell am I doing? I owe my teenaged daughter a better example than that.
“What’s on for this year?” ask friends who have watched me careen from one adventure to another. I want to reach for a crowd pleaser. “Marathon,” I’ve said in the past, enjoying the eye-pop. “Boston.” “Triathlon.” “Half-Ironman.” “World Championships.” What needs to be on for this year isn’t going to be as much fun to announce, but is more important.
“Balance. Fitness. Strength. Health. Power. Fun. Sanity.”
Sounds harder than any of those other things.