A while ago my son’s Instagram account bio said ” when life gives you lemons, demand to see life’s manager, refuse to take those lemons!” I often think about this and smile. For someone so young, he appears to have it all figured out, the way we all do at 14; don’t settle for anything less than you want.
Some may argue that whilst the simplicity of this is appealing, it is glaring idealistic. Can we really have everything we want? This past couple of weeks I have had some tough “choices” forced upon me. Test results show that my suspicions of not being quite right are not unfounded. That the reason my heart has been racing, my body has been unable to bend to my demands and that sleep has evaded me constantly is quite simply that I need to rest.
I have suspected for sometime that there something has not been quite right. Trips back and forth to my GP revealing nothing more than my frustration that no one was listening to me, that the tests performed were not the right ones, that my faith in the way the majority of GPs are trained is frighteningly non existent. Taking charge of my health was never really an issue, my current studies providing me with plenty of clues as what I suspected was going on. Hypothyroid and high cortisol – an explanation as to why I am unable to push myself without feeling wiped out for days afterwards and why surviving on 3 hours sleep has become the norm.
In a way the news was welcome, I have confirmation that I am not a hypochondriac, that I am not a totally rubbish athlete and after several days- the realisation that here was the permission to rest. But this hasn’t made pulling out of the London marathon, a half ironman, the Dragon ride and Ironman Austria easy. There have been tears. Tears of frustration, tears of anger and of loss. Tears for what might have been, had I been well. But self pity is not my thing and I can frame this the only way I know how – positively. I will not be making myself worse (although my coach would never have allowed that to happen anyway), I will not be feeing inadequate for failing to progress as fast and as far as I would if I were well and I will not be sitting on my bike for 4 hours plus in the nest few weeks……when you feel like you’re having the life sucked out of you, that’s a real positive.
All or nothing. All of me in or all of me out – never half way. My TT bike is sold as is my aero helmet. I will keep my wetsuit for bobbing around in the lake during the warm summer months and naturally my trainers will never leave. I will run again. I am running right now; away from a sport that I loved, that I can no longer take part in. Because I cannot do anything by half. It slowly kills me. So to walk or run away is what I choose at this moment, because I have no other option, physically or mentally. Life has tried to hand me lemons, but I am not accepting. I am not shouting at life’s manager, but rather negotiating a new deal.
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. We can either choose to learn from life’s lessons and grow or refuse and limit our potential by becoming bitter and wallowing in self pity. New projects await me with new friends and my future will not be lacking or empty. Whilst triathlon was a huge part of my life, it was never my life. Sport will always be important to me and I hope that I will be actively entering races of some kind in the future. I have no regrets, only a drawer full of medals and a memory full of amazing experiences to remind me how lucky I have been to have been able to travel, swim . bike and run enjoying myself in the company of some truly outstanding individuals. And I remain humbled by what my body gave to me and allowed me to do, constantly accepting and rarely complaining, right up until I broke it.
My only wish is that I had loved it a little more and shown it a little more kindness. But that in itself is an important lesson learned.