Tomorrow morning, I should be doing my first iron distance triathlon. I paid the exorbitant entry fee and spent the last four months training for it.
But that’s not what’s happening.
Last Friday, I threw my back out reaching for my water bottle on what was supposed to be my last long ride before the race. I spent most of last week lying in bed. It was Monday before I could go from lying down to standing up (or standing up to lying down) without crying.
My back still aches, but I can walk now. Yesterday I went for a short swim. But I still can’t bend down. There is no way that I could bike 56 miles and run 13.1. It’s possible that I could do the 1.2 mile swim, but I’d be worried that my back would seize up in the middle of the river and I’d drown. And I’d just be depressed that I couldn’t do the whole race, anyway.
On Monday (when I was still mostly bed-ridden), I found out that my divorce had been finalized the week before, which made me very sad. It also left me without health insurance until October.
The next day, I found out that Pignoli, my favorite little owl at the Wildlife Center, had died the day before (on the same day that I’d found out about my divorce). Pignoli had been Kurt’s favorite, too. We had “adopted” her once as a fundraiser for the center. The timing was more than I could take. I cried for a good long time. For Pignoli. And for my marriage.
Such a stressful time was probably not the best time to train for a half ironman. I think I was doing it as a distraction. The intense training didn’t leave much time to think about anything else. But, it has also taken a toll on me emotionally. I’ve been anxious, on edge, and fearful.
Anxiety is something I’ve dealt with for most of my life. But the feeling of being constantly on edge and fearful is new.
A stranger knocked on my door the other night and I hid on the floor for a while, then put chairs against the doors.
I’m guessing that’s not normal behavior.
I’ve always gotten up early to go run. Usually by myself and in the dark. These past few months, I’ve been putting a whistle in my mouth and carrying pepper spray in my hand just to walk out to my car to go to the gym in the morning.
A really scary and presumably stray dog chased me on one of my long bike rides and ever since I’ve been on edge every time I ride, worrying that I’ll be chased again. The ride last Friday when I hurt my back was the first one I’d done solo since the incident. I was feeling pretty nervous about it.
There have also been a few social engagements that have caused me anxiety for days in advance.
And then there was the time I thought I was being murdered on my run.
I’m telling you all of this because I can’t help but think that if I’d been a little less tense, I might not be missing my race tomorrow.
And because I don’t want to live like this.
I guess it’s time to slow down, take some deep breaths, and work on regaining my mental and physical strength. Maybe actually confronting some of the things I’ve spent so much energy avoiding.
For the next couple of months, I’m going to make reading, doing yoga, walking in the woods, picking apples and sitting on the porch my top priorities.
I’m hoping that’s enough to take the edge off.