Choices and Changes
This past week, I have not been taking responsibility for the energy I bring to the world–and into my own body. Despite connecting and laughing with 50 amazing women at the reTREAT, I came home totally sapped. Exhausted, enervated, wiped, couldn’t rally, low…call it what you want. I should call it what it is–a bad spell of the depression that I try to pretend I’m over–but I hate putting that label on myself.
Whatever it was, it was bigger than me. I felt like I’d been sucked under by a wave with a massive undertow that was pinning me to the sand. I went to bed crazy early and slept until nearly 8 every morning (that is huge for me); I could barely concentrate; I snapped at my kids and my husband (and, um, Sarah) simply because I couldn’t find another outlet for my anger; I cried often and often for no reason other than I was sick of my mood and myself.
To be fair, last week is really the culmination of a slow build. This has been a slog of a summer for me. I’m not sure why, but everything has just felt hard and hot and in slow motion.
Regardless of how I got here, something has to change. I need life to be easier and at a fluid, happy pace. And I have to be the one to take responsibility for my energy; nobody else is going to–or can–change it for me.
So I’ve made two decisions:
I decided to try the Clean program, Grant, my husband, did the three-week detox about two years ago, and I can’t tell you what an impact it had on him. When I talked to him on the phone, his tone was light and ridiculously positive. I want to feel that way, so I’m going to try it–and he’s going to do it again. The preparation week, called the elimination diet and what I’m going to start tomorrow, calls for getting rid of caffeine, alcohol, wheat and sugar. Oh, and dairy.
Which leaves me with what to eat? Quinoa and olive oil and peaches? Pretty much. Actually, there’s plenty to eat, but I have to be mindful about my choices and plan them out. (Read: no Coke Zero, Triscuits with Laughing Cow Cheese and an ice cream sandwich for lunch.) I know sugar and alcohol (and caffeine to a degree) help me climb virtual mountains, then crash me down a slope lower than when I started. I don’t need to initiate any more crashes for a while.
I definitely won’t the goodies them out of my diet forever–a life without Peanut M’n'M’s and wheat beer is a life not worth living–but the idea of rebooting my system has me excited. And Lord knows, I gotta be excited about something if I’m trading my chai latte/pb+j english muffin/kids pancake remnants/handfuls of cereal breakfast for a almond milk/pineapple/kale smoothie.
So there’s that. And in other news, I haven’t just fallen off the training wagon; I’ve tumbled off it and rolled for about a mile. I haven’t been in the pool for over 10 days, I haven’t run in a week, and I sat in the saddle about 3 times last week. My lower back and left leg have been flaring up (again) when I run, and Harvest Moon, this half-Ironman that I was so giddy about four months ago is as appealing as eating that moldy yogurt on the bottom shelf of my fridge. (Luckily, I won’t have to: no dairy for 4 weeks!)
Maybe I had a sixth sense that I’d be in this place, because I still haven’t signed up for it. But I’m not ready or willing to throw away all my training; that will make me dwell even more. So I’m going to take option AB: the AquaBike. Swim 1.2 miles, ride 56 miles and call it good. No chance to inflame the injury, no reason to survive 13.1 miles. I don’t want to start my Ironman training in the physical hole, and giving myself permission to skip the half-marathon makes me feel like that yogurt is actually still fresh and my favorite honey greek style. (But I still won’t eat it.)
I went to yoga today, on the advice of a very insightful, loving friend, who told me to just be with my breath. Stay with it for the practice. Really hard to do, but when I calmed my ricocheting mind enough to remember her words, I exhaled with purpose, and imagined that I was sending love and light to my spirit with each inhale.
I finished the hour and rested in corpse pose, staying with my breath. I drove home, feeling more hopeful than I’ve been in weeks. As I turned into my driveway, I said “I am taking responsibility for my energy.” Out loud. Just in case the universe has Sunday off. And then I took a deep inhale.