Monday, March 11, 2013

Emotional Fitness

Thanks, Siri. It's a keeper. 
A few months ago, my advisor Mitch sat me down and had a talk with me about emotional fitness. Which was a funny talk with even funnier delivery (if you know Mitch who is a sarcastic & serious retired Navy Seal). Not surprisingly, this little talk occurred shortly after two teary meltdowns regarding my my cycling equipment. Let me be clear- Cannondale, SRAM, Zipp, and ISM have made sure that I have the best stuff around. However, I have some part in deciding which bikes to ride, what parts to order, what size cranks I need, what kind of bars, how long of a stem (and how many degrees?), and endless other "small" choices about things I know very little about, but are very important when you are trying to go as fast as possible.

Thing is, James always happily took care of this stuff. He also worked with a lot of my sponsors and helped keep my triathlon life running in general while I was spending days & nights working & training. It was always a big stress reliever, but now that I'm on my own, I'm realizing that his help aided my ignorance (my fault, not his) . I used to just show up and ride a bike, something I never took for granted and always appreciated.  I never even learned how to properly clean a bike. I know. I know.

So, gradually this winter, things like this piled up and I was, for lack of a better word, about to lose it. With work stress, training stress, and challenging personal life changes, I just couldn't emotionally handle anything else. I hate the feeling of "not knowing what to do" and all this bike stuff fell squarely in that category. I also have a tendency to be a "can't be bothered with the details" person and had to shift my mentality because the details count and now I was in charge of them.

Mitch helped me see that I could never perform at 100% if my emotional fitness wasn't congruent with my physical fitness. So, I started by learning how to do things I could control. I learned more about the bikes I ride, I reached out to sponsors, I learned how to login to my website, I learned how to ask for help. I learned that the guys at Nytro will do most anything to help me because a) they're good guys and b) i bring good treats- (I guess one more thank you to James for teaching me how to pick good man beer). I was reminded that Nestor at Studeo DNA is always just a call away to help me make a quick decision. I learned that there are really good friends out there who will help me figure out the things I don't know and make sure I get them done. Friends that will come over at 7am with a pedal wrench kind of friends.

Once I made some progress on the concrete stuff, I also ventured into some of the more abstract parts of emotional fitness. On New Years, I made 3 resolutions: "Find Peace. Give Love. Dream Big." I think about these resolutions every day. Especially riding or running on the road alone, I look up, I look around, and I remember them and think about my progress towards all three. And its happening. Little by little, every day I'm seeing these three all around me.

As I wind down the week and head to Mexico to race Ironman Cabo San Lucas, I wanted to thank the people who've helped me become a little more emotionally fit over the past few months. Most of them have also helped me become more physically fit as well, but that's secondary to me at the moment. I've got a long way to go in both arenas, but there are a bunch of great people keeping me company on the bus towards that destination and I feel very lucky:

Thank you to Mitch for taking on what can be only be described as "a very big project". And thanks for taking such a holistic approach, you little hippie.

Thank you to Katya, Courtney, Jess, Keith, Jen, and Bryan for being there whether or not the water came from sweat or tears. (And thank you for making it fun to get faster.)

Thanks to Kristen, Kirsten, and Colleen for being rocks of friendship and sounding boards. See, you help my training by getting me emotionally fit to the start line- whether or not its the start line of an Ironman or life's next adventure.

Thank you to my Dad and my sister, for checking in on me even when I insist that "everything's fine". (But really guys, everything's fine!)

Mitch helping me swap saddles (LOVE the ISM Attack!) 

catch-up cocktail with Kirsten

As my friend (and shoe guru) Dave Jewell says, "It's a good life."

11 comments: said...

I am going thru that right now. Ironman San Juan. Taking care of my bike, and my girlfriends. I am stressed and feel like the race is more of a burden than it will be fun. Learning process I guess.

JC said...

Great post - definitly taking some of that away with me! I bet "your people" feel just as fortunate to have you in their lives.
Kick some BOOTAY this weekend - cheering LOUD from Van!

Tales of Roads & Trails said...

wow, didn't realize we could have a big disconnect with emotional and physical. Have a great race and rock it girl! I've enjoyed reading your journey, and plan to continue doing so :) said...

Word. That's all. I know what that can be like and way to start figuring it out.

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

You are going to shine in Cabo!

MissFancyPants said...

Your gonna do great in Cabo - love the emotionally fit reference - def true

SixTwoThree said...

Nice post! The heart of a champion for sure! Now go get 'em at Cabo and post some cute apres race pics and drinks!

The Suffer Seeker said...

So very real.

Tawnee Prazak, M.S., CSCS said...

I can totally relate to this. With the bike stuff especially it can be tough & frustrating learning the minor (but extremely important) details of everything, but we are better off learning and knowing this stuff for ourselves, without a doubt!

It's awesome that you have such awesome support along the way too...

Go kick some ass this weekend!

sunshinekir said...

You are an amazing, beautiful girl and we're lucky to have you! Enjoy everything about Cabo xxoo

sachin tanwar said...

Nice post! The heart of a champion for sure! Now go get 'em at Cabo and post some cute apres race pics and drinks!

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