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, 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.

96 responses to “Choices and Changes

  1. This made me cry: but I am 7 weeks pregnant and you all know how close tears are to the surface at this point! And puke . . . but I digress. Thank you for sharing this, Dimity. I hope and pray that you will get to feeling better very soon. I bet the routine of school starting will help, along with the cleanse and new training goal. You are an inspiration–hang in there!

  2. Dimity,
    Your post was so much more inspiring to me than another perfect-fit-mommy blog. As a new mom, I struggle to keep it in the road—both in my running shoes and life in general. Thank you so much for honoring what’s real and hard within you—and therefore within all of us. I hope you are as amazed as I am to take in all of the support pouring out in these comments. All you mother runners’ posts have been so heartfelt and insightful—and have helped me almost as much as Dimity’s post!

  3. Dimity, it was such an amazing pleasure to meet you at the retreat! You inspire me (and clearly thousands of other women) and have help reignite my motivation after giving 100% of myself to my family for the last 2 1/2 years! You are a strong, emotionally intelligent woman! You will get through this difficult time. Having been through some terrible times in my life, i have grown through each and every experience. I am a believer in growth through challenge. Here’s to a good cleans (i to am gluten free due to celiac and have never felt better 🙂
    Cheering you on in MT!
    Xo Meghan

  4. Thank you so much for writing this…I definitely needed a reminder right now that I still have the power to make some positive changes in my life. As a stay-at-home-mom of 7 years trying desperately (but so far unsuccessfully) to re-enter the workforce, I decided that I really needed to create some goals for myself and started training for my first marathon this spring. I threw my heart and soul into training for this thing and now, with only 7 weeks to go, I’m finding myself totally sidelined with an injury that I’m not sure I’ll be able to recover from in time to continue on with my training. Your post helped me realize that instead of sitting around feeling devastated, I’m going to use this new-found time to focus on eating healthier and maybe discovering some other interests that will bring me the same joy that running does. I have to think that in the 35-40 hours a week that I will now have free, I can probably figure out a few ways to make some positive life changes!

  5. Dimity! I so needed to hear this right now. This summer has been a bit of a drag for me, too, and running seems to be the only thing in my life going in my favor. Thanks for the positive energy! Your writing and your experiences are so appreciated.

  6. Hi Dimity! Although I’ve been depressed, I don’t “suffer” from depression, but know it’s a hell of a thing to deal with. Where I connect with you is in your frustration with struggling to move yourself into a better space; you know, to unstick yourself. I think most people who know me would say, I’m no nonsense, smart, positive and an excellent cheerleader; I love supporting people to meet their goals or navigate through a rough patch. What I don’t think they know is, I feel like I am always floundering. I can’t seem to find my direction which makes me feel horrible and leads me into a loop I can’t seem to get out of (for years). So the cheerleader in me will tell you to cut yourself some slack. Honoring the space you are in, is the way for you to move out of it. The cheerleader will tell you, flexibility in life makes things easier, so it’s great you are rethinking your training and diet (your body is clearly trying to tell you something). Finally, I’ll tell you, you will get through this and once you do, you’ll have even more skills to help you through the next time the clouds move in. Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. As many have said, thank you for your honesty. It’s obvious that so many of us look up to you, and it’s easy for us to think it’s all sunshine and rainbows and calorie-free blizzards. Alas, it’s not. It’s human to have these days, weeks, and I find it best when I acknowledge it, give myself a set time to mope and then be done. In the other vain, I was struggling a lot this summer and have seen some improvement since I began limiting dairy. I didn’t think it would work but I have less bloat, less cramping and no more intestinal issues on long runs.

  8. Dimity – Thinking of you and sending you positive vibes! You do so much for so many…good job on remembering to do the same for yourself. Try not to worry about the training. Your years of fitness will help you rebound quickly to whichever training plan you desire. All the best and please keep us updated!

  9. Once again, I am moved to tears both by your honesty, Dimity, and by the compassionate, courageous, and supportive messages others share. Sending you thoughts for peace as you follow your journey through this — and saying a prayer of gratitude for you, Sarah, your books, and this community. Peace to you, my fellow mother runner!

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