Mind over Matter

OMG. I so want to be funny right now, but this blog post isn’t going to get you laughing. I swear I’m starting to get my funny back, and yes. It will reappear in future posts. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks leading up to my second (indoor) triathlon, actually pure torture, but I’m happy to report that I finished another one (yay!). And yes, it was fun.

This is another one of my more personal posts and very difficult to recall without getting all emotional. I’ll just put it out there. Depression sucks along with all the side effects: difficulty sleeping, decreased appetite, decreased energy, random weeping, intense loneliness. Sighhhhh. It would be easier to not recall everything leading up to this second race and be hush hush about what I’ve been going through, but I’d be lying. Plus, I know that I’m not alone and if you’re reading this blog and are feeling down, just know that you are loved and things will get better. Now, I don’t want you to feel bad for me, or to worry about me. I’m also not looking for your sympathy. Continue being in my life and cracking jokes with me. Laughter is one of the best cures to overcome sadness. I love laughing and making people laugh and I’m so lucky to have so many funny, supportive people in my life.

Now what triggered the sadness this time? I’d say my over-achieving self put me over the edge this time around. I hold myself to high standards in many things I do (okay maybe everything), and when I feel like I’m not living up to those standards I feel like I’m failing. I strived to become the safety patrol of the year in 5th grade for crying out loud, so it’s been a fault of mine for as long as I can remember. And when this happens in every facet of my life at the same time: at work, in athletics, and life in general & when my body feels like it’s falling apart. Things can go very wrong. What kept me afloat? Multiple things, actually. Mind over matter. Funneling that sadness into something else. Changing the “I can’t do this” attitude to an “I can do this” attitude. Friends, family, laughter. Happy. Not giving up on the challenges I’ve given myself, but also granting myself a little grace.

By the way, I realize that it may come across quite frequently in my blog that OMG, Andrea must hate her job. Not true. I’m fortunate to have a job that I’m passionate about (maybe too passionate to do me good sometimes) and a company that treats me well and enables me to keep doing things that I love. Okay, now I got that out of the way…

Yesterday, was a hard day to be unhappy with the excellent taste-of-spring weather we had. With a little fresh air and sunshine I was able to come to peace with my situation. I decided the best cure was to pack a picnic lunch along with a book and head to my favorite tree at Powderhorn Park. It was so great to see so many people outside enjoying themselves (sometimes in shirtless, pasty white form…), it was hard to feel alone. I was also able to take some much needed time to do some race visualization.

Ahhhhhh reunited with my favorite tree.
And I woke up today feeling ready to race even though I was instructed not to put any pressure on myself whatsoever. Instead, focus on happy, do lots of smiling, be slow, and come in last :-P. I ate a nice breakfast complete with coffee and ate my last gummy lobster from my mini race countdown platter. Glen, I threw it in a glass of water for you…
The final gummy lobster (in water).

It was a good thing I woke up early and that my heat didn’t start until 10:10 AM because it took me some time to actually get myself out of the house. On race days I get a little OCD and start noticing things and do a lot of unnecessary tidying. Like, telling myself I need to empty the laundry basket, pick up a bag, load the dishwasher, straighten a book OR ELSE. It’s best to leave all these temptations…

Instead I showed up early to hang around with friends and play with small dinosaurs (now a pre-race tradition) & get a nice massage (thanks FunctionMN!).

Just playing with dinosaurs, don’t mind us…

My high school friend Annie unexpectedly showed up a few minutes before my race started. It turns out she was stalking me somehow and figured out which heat I was in/what time my race started, so she could come cheer. Thanks Annie! She even made a sign, and I saw that sign at least 30+ times during the race. With Annie being an amazing swimmer and with her watchful eye on my swim lane, I’m sure it had something to do with me having a good day in the pool. EVEN when I was the last person out of the water…

:-* Annie. Yes, a homemade sign complete with a train (old nickname of mine).

Other highlights of the day (I’ll focus on the highlights because everything else isn’t worth mentioning):

  • Going from pool to bike, I thought my bike was well adjusted until I figured out (after my shoes were clipped in) that my seat was way too high. Like clown-y level high. I cursed under my breath, and decided to adjust the seat downwards while still clipped in. Luckily, I only lost a few seconds.
  • Almost having to do an extra running lap :O
  • Volunteers, fellow athletes. Lots of cheering and support 🙂
  • Finishing. OMG. And feeling strong and happy.
  • Another massage post-race
  • Celebrating afterwards with friends

I mentioned channeling some of my sadness into something else to lift me up. I took any last bit of sadness that I had left (hard to have much of anything left in this sort of environment) and channeled that into happy, focused, determined energy. It got me through the bike and the run, and amazingly I’m left feeling very happy right now.

Shout out to everyone that helped lift my spirits and bring me out of the fog. Coworkers who listened to my frustrations and were there to make a not so great situation laughable. Even allowed me to throw my mittens around in frustration :). Also, to my coworkers/teammates who start the workday, sometimes as early as 6 AM, and allow me (with no objections) to show up later so I can get my training in for the day. My parents for taking my pup away, so I could have some much needed time to sleep, catch up on work, or partake in activities away from home without feeling guilty that I was neglecting him. My training buddies. You’re all so much fun to be around. You always hear about how it’s so hard to make friends as an adult. Well, I can’t believe how many I’ve made these past few months. And good friendships that I know will last forever. Kym, my awesome coach/friend, for always believing in me, keeping me focused on my goals and the happy, not letting me give up when I soooooo wanted to give up, and for being super clever in using reverse psychology methods with me during this triathlon…

Looks like the next triathlon is in 42 days, not that I’m counting or anything. Time to mend my achy body and try and get stronger. And sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. And yes, happy 🙂


3 thoughts on “Mind over Matter

  1. Yay for ROCKING another tri!

    To go along with your comment that “Laughter is one of the best cures to overcome sadness”, you might enjoy the book “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson. I just (today) finished listening to it today (I listen to a TON of audiobooks when I'm running, doing household tasks, driving, etc.), and while some of the anecdotes are quite random and bizarre (and funny), the author also makes several interesting points about depression, and there were a number of things that she said that really resonated with me.

    One more thing…you should sign up for the CityTrail Loppet run!!!!


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