Tuesday, November 21, 2017

When the Dust Settles

I've started this post maybe 10 different times. Every time I get rollin' I get sidetracked. The doorbell buzzes, my phone rings, the laundry needs to be switched, the pizza need to be taken out of the oven (yes, you heard that right, the PIZZA). I could go on and on, but honestly what it comes down to is living. I've been living a little differently. And boy lemme tell ya, it feels good.

Triathlon is only one crayon of many in my box..
Don't get me wrong, I love racing. More than your average Joe. But every year when the season comes to a close, I yearn for a Saturday morning spent sipping my coffee on the porch while I contemplate, "Hmm.. maybe I'll do my run after I take a little nap." Weekends now involve a few more cocktails and a few less miles. I've found myself deep into some serious Netflix that keeps me awake a little later during the week, sacrificing some ZZZ's. I've gone through a few good reads (let me know if you're interested!) also pushing my bedtime later and later each night. I guess you could say, I'm being "normal."

So much of my identity is tied to swim bike run. So much so that I will likely never be able to truly disconnect from it. After a 2 week hiatus from any sort of workout structure when I got home from Chatty in September, I climbed back on the horse and am back to a training structure that keeps my twitches at bay.

But I can also say I that I identify with so many other things in life. One of those things is food. I don't think I've ever met a cookie I didn't like, a fried pickle that didn't warm my soul, or a piece of deep dish pizza that didn't sing to me. But in the heat of training, my favorite indulgences take a backseat. I never completely eliminate, that would just be silly. But the saying, "The food you eat can either be the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the quickest form of poison" is one of my favorites that I relate to training and racing. Essentially what it comes down to is: Food is FUEL (aka medicine). And if you're smart about it and eat the proper medicine (fuel), your body will repay you in ways you never thought possible. But the last 6 weeks, I've lived by another famous quote that I'm sure you all know pretty well: "YOLO." Ice cream after dinner? Yup. A glass of wine just because? But of course. Pizza for the first time since May (many times over the past 6 weeks)? HELL YES.

For example, take this TRIPLE batch of chili I put together for a little post season party...

Why yes, this IS a giant donut 
These are just a few small examples of how my diet differs once the season comes to a halt.

MEGAN WHERE DID YOU HAIR GO WHY IS IT SO SHORT!?! Oh yea. So I grew out my hair to it's longest ever with every intention to cut and donate it as soon as the season was over. The weekend after IMCHOO, I sat in the salon chair and watched my locks drop to the ground, ready to send them off to a child in need. 

Before... (yes, it's past my elbows)

Sure, I miss my hair. Some days a lot. But it's only hair. It'll grow back. And to be honest, knowing that I've given the gift of a "full head of hair" to a sick child is all the reassurance I need. 

Celebrations have also been a plenty since September has come to an end. Very recently, a cousin of mine remarried and found his missing piece in life. This angel, her name is Niki. Her and her daughter Paige swooped into Scott's life when he needed it most. They married on a Tuesday in Fayetteville, Arkansas where they live in an effort to seal the deal sooner than later. And this October, they ventured back home to celebrate with the Chicago crew. This might be the only picture I took that night, but the more I see it the more I absolutely love it. So many walks of life brought together and bonding over a child's game: 

Serious Bonding

Oh yeah, and this picture of Mark and one of his high school baseball
teammates bonding over a little Ice Cream Sunday 😉

Megan, you mentioned lack of sleep. Let's revisit that. Oh, right. So, I'm an early morning riser by nature. It's just who I am. It makes my training schedule totally manageable when I'm forced to see 4am more than any other time of day. Totally my father's daughter. But there have been plenty of late night extravaganza's since my September to remember has come to an end. Take for example, this surprise birthday party for another cousin, celebrating a family that doesn't know how to do anything "low key." My day started at 4am with a typical pre-work Friday swim, and I when I pulled into my driveway at 2am after dancing the night away, there's no way you could have convinced me that sleep was a better option going into my 13 mile long run the next day. 

Some of the best there is 
My cousin's are prettier than yours 😜

One of the FASTEST girls I know
Rockin' the heels ALL.NIGHT.LONG
There's some crazy talent in that family, some you wouldn't believe if I gave you full disclosure. Would you believe me if I told you that one those cousins is the manager for a Grammy Nominee? And her husband is a multiple time Grammy Nominee himself? How about that last picture, that girl I'm standing next to, her name is also Meghan (just slightly different). She's one of the Big10's fastest sprinters at the University of Michigan, landing her first sub-12 second 100 meter dash as a senior in high school. (11.7 in case you're curious). The family has nicknamed her "wheels" for a reason, and she's by far my fastest relative. And would you believe it, the talent in this family had the nerve to tell me, "We just don't know how you do it!" I'm sitting there staring at these amazing humans I'm lucky enough to call family, and without any second thought I respond, "Oh yea, well I could say the same for you guys!"

Celebrations started right after I got home from IMCHOO when Rob and I had the opportunity to watch 2 of our oldest college friends get married. It's been a long time coming, but it didn't make the day any less special. They say a little rain on your wedding day is good luck, right? Well, it poured BUCKETS during the day and the entire ceremony (that happened to be outside on an apple farm). But the rain did anything but put the fire out that these 2 have created over the years. It truly was an amazing way to watch this couple tie the knot. 

The happy couple 💓

Why yes, I DID wear rain boots to the wedding

If ever there was a fairy tale tent in the rain... 

And of course we couldn't let the end of the season slip away from us without a little team celebrations. Team RyBread got together recently to send 2 of them off to new adventures in Asheville, North Carolina. The next night we celebrated one of the newest RyBread teammates (but maybe the sassiest?) and her birthday. 

Mark's going to miss Lauren so much he just had to pick her up

We can't actually get together without something Triathlon related happening

I guess you could say I've been busy since the season officially came to an end. And you wouldn't be wrong. This is proof that I need more in my life than SWIM BIKE RUN all year round. These people, these experiences, these memories are what TRULY make me whole. 

And in the same breath you know I can't live without a swim cap, or my bike, or my running shoes. And right now, my running shoes are seeing a bit more attention than the other 2. The end of 2017 left me feeling a little un-finished, if you will. A lot of pieces could have come together if my run was a wee bit faster.. stronger.. fluid. So instead of going back to the drawing board, I'm going back to basics. I'm hitting the pavement more. I've made my lungs burn more in the past month from un-welcomed track work and mile repeats than maybe all season long. (OK that was an exaggeration but you get the idea.) I'm ready to turn myself into the runner I know I can be, instead of hoping that "my run legs will show up on race day." 

My first test? I'm diving into the holiday season with the Schaumburg Turkey Trot Half Marathon, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It's late enough in the season that I was able to give my body ample rest and still have time to get a decent block of speedwork under my belt. I truly have 1 goal for this race: see where my fitness lies going into the winter. Let's see what my body is capable of before it comes time to burn rubber on the treadmill allllll winter long. Because 2018 is practically here, and I don't anticipate it being slow by any means. 

No comments:

Post a Comment