Finding Happy

NEVER thought I would be one to write a blog post and share my personal journey with so many people, but I wanted to get the word out why I’m doing what I’m doing. Why I’m training to become a triathlete/spending hours training/”beating” myself to the ground/fully committing myself to this goal. Pretty sure some of my friends and family think I’ve got a case of the crazies. Truth is, I have to do this. I might be a little crazy, but I swear it’s healthy crazy. I’ll be sharing some super personal things that the majority of people don’t know about me, but I think it’s healthy to get the truth out. It feels good to share my story. Life happens. Shit happens. And you have to search for ways to find that happy in life. For me, striving to do what I thought would never be possible, training for triathlons, did the trick.

It’s amazing how I look back one year, and things have changed dramatically. For the better. I’ll start from the beginning, well, about a year ago. It was a very dark time in my life. I’ll spare many of the details, but I was in a deep state of depression. One of the biggest triggers was instability at work. Our company was going through restructuring last year about this time, and that was one of the most stressful experiences I’ve ever been through. We knew for weeks that we were being restructured, jobs were getting cut, but it took foreverrrrr to hear our fate. I was fairly confident that I was “safe,” but I knew that everyone wouldn’t be. I would see good friends leave, and things would change. How would they change? No idea. I suffered many sleepless nights, and usually the only way to sleep was with sleep aid, which in turn just turned me in to a zombie. This whirlwind at work put me in a trance-like, depressed state and I behaved very differently. Friendships were at risk. There was a lot of crying. I was in a fog for many, many months. It was very hard to find joy in my life. Another day gone by was just a check mark, that’s it.

What eventually brought me out of this fog??? Exercise! Shout out to my grade school friend Katie who convinced me to join the YWCA. Best decision ever. At first, I was just a casual gym-goer. I was insanely out of shape from so many months of inactivity. In fact, it had been years since I was in top-top shape. I would go to group classes and be sore for the entire week. Despite the pain, I kept coming back for more. Eventually, I made a lot of connections within the endurance sports community, and I began to get a crazy idea. Why not try and become a triathlete? I can bike and run, but wait… I’m terrified of swimming. The only thing that would be more terrifying was if you were to somehow combine swimming with heights. That would be my ultimate fear.

Glamorous, yes… Even Fredy is wondering what I’ve gotten myself into.                                                   

Some early swim memories:

  • As a youngin’ I took lessons (for survival purposes). Key takeaway from all those lessons and some useless knowledge that I still remember today: chicken, bird, soldier. If you have no idea what I’m talking about here’s a very poor (and long) demonstration: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXRYqksDKL8
  • As part of our middle school curriculum we had to pass a swim test. I’ve tried to block out a lot of my memories from this time, but I’ll always remember the fact that we had to DIVE into the pool to kick off the swim test. DIVE. Overall, terrifying.

And most recently (within the last few months), I’ve taken private swim lessons at the Y. Many thanks to my coach Kym, who taught me that swimming doesn’t have to be scary. I won’t drown. This is something I have to repeatedly tell myself as I’m gasping for air. Ironically, the theme of this post about “finding that happy” was the theme at my swim lesson this week. Happy swims. So hard… but I’ve got this. Crazy thing is that I actually crave the smell of chlorine now. Weird…

So for now, it’s swim, bike, run, strength, and repeat for me. I’ve got a bunch of amazing trainers and an excellent group of friends within the YWCA endurance sports community to help push me along the way. It’s amazing how setting goals and challenging myself can alter my mood and outlook on life so dramatically and make me so happy. Achieving something you never thought possible is just so darn amazing. The act of training is very time-consuming, which keeps my mind busy. It’s exactly what I need, and why I find myself sticking to it. I also want to see how far I can stretch myself. The human body is actually quite amazing. I want to keep doing this even though I continue to have some doubts on my abilities. One bad day in the pool just makes me more determined to make things better; same story on the track. What’s next? An indoor triathlon in January (!!!), followed by two more during these cold winter months. To be honest, I don’t really see an end to this training program. It’ll be like stepping stones. Maybe the ultimate end goal will be to do a triathlon in one of my favorite places ever– Switzerland. For now, I’ll stick to smaller goals. Ones that involve shorter and local races :). Please feel free to join me!

Someday. SOMEDAY I may do a triathlon in my favorite travel destination ever– Switzerland!

As we head in to 2016, finding and keeping that happy will continue to be my goal. How will you turn bad in to happy? What are your 2016 resolutions?

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