Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tears of a Clown

Up until this week, I've really been enjoying the swim piece of my training. Five weeks ago, I could barely do a lap, and last week I was up to 22. However, it seems like this week everything hurts. My lower back, my nagging foot issues, my calves. I was chalking it up to the normal training lull... until I hit the pool this week.

The past 3 days, I've had a lot of trouble with my endurance and breathing. When you're in the water and out of breath, you can get a little panicky (even if the pool is only 4 ft deep!). Today was my long swim- 25 laps ( a little over the distance for my event .6miles- trying to get up to a mile). And from the moment I hit the pool I felt like a rock with arms. But I kept on, slowly and trying to adjust my breathing patterns to get a little more air.

At one point I become very mentally frustrated. My thought was- how can I go faster if I can barely float?!?! Another lap went by, and I was increasingly irritated. You see, this training is my best attempt to put some order into my life, and have something to focus on... a purpose. After hearing this week from my physical therapist that I may need another 3 weeks before I can even run, I was already worried that I may not be able to participate. But I had been consoling myself with the thought that I could really work on my swimming and get decent enough that the run, not the swim, would be the challenge.

So as my mind started to wonder, I was worrying about what would happen if I couldn't finish the triathlon or even participate... because what if I sink in the swim! How can I go faster if I am just struggling from the get-go?

After another lap, I made the obvious parallel to the grieving process- how can I move on if I can still barely get up? The three-month mark has come and gone, and I find that this time is more difficult than the immediate aftermath of Dan's death. It's more quiet, life has returned to normal. Or at least that is what it looks like on the outside. More days than most, I keep thinking of the lyrics from "Tears of a Clown"... "If there's a smile on my face, it's only there trying to fool the public."

I've really been putting my best foot forward, keeping so busy that I am only home long enough to sleep most days. I tricked myself into thinking that I could be an A+ griever, flying through it like a champ. And while most days I do, I've been noticing lately that just doing the basics (work, gym, etc) is exhausting. I can go to work, but I am a mental space cadet. My absentmindedness is awful (and I've always had a knack for losing things)- I've lost my car keys (still missing), locked myself out 2-3 times, lost my credit card, lost my driver's license, forgot my car when I thought I'd walked somewhere, broken my phone... I know that these are all normal things that people go through, but it still sucks. Yes, it sucks. This is "suck" period. Yes, I said it, and I am not feeling sorry for myself, but it doesn't change the fact that it sucks.

I've been so focused on trying to figure out Meg 2.o and what shape my life will take that I have not allowed myself the time to just get up and get through the day and be ok with it. I am ok with this "suck" phase, bc it has to happen. But I want to go faster in everything, and it's just not realistic.

So I did finish the 25 laps today. It sucked, but I got through it. Just more slowly and with a bit more of a struggle than I wanted. Ain't that life.


Anonymous said...

You are allowed to complain about how much things suck as I'm sure the grief is weighing heavily on you. I'm proud of you for continuing with your swim (I probably would have given up)'s like in Finding Nemo...just keep swimming!! You will achieve your goal and I know Dan will be so proud watching over you.

Thinking of you,
Sarah Hudson

Anonymous said...

Meg - I'm certain it sucks right now. My money is on you - mastering the swim, excelling in the run, riding like Lance (well, almost) - you're a strong lady - and in addition to all of us, Dan is pulling for you!

Love ya!

Indy WWW

monster said...

I agree -- it sucks. But, I think that's the key -- admitting it sucks and finding a way through anyway. Anytime you want to talk to complain about how it sucks or how your dealing or just how normal life is or something totally different to get your mind off of things -- just call.

Anonymous said...

Despite you admitting how much things suck right now, you are still pushing yourself to do your best. That is extremely admirable! You have so much inner strength, it's starting to show through in your outer strength with your determination to complete all of those laps. With or without struggle, you complete them. I wish I could be half as strong...

~Erin Cullison

Stephanie said...


I know I'm a few months behind, but I had a similar experience recently. I realized that the first few weeks were the easy part. People assume that with time, things get easier. I disagree. It's not getting any easier for me because-- you are right-- Life is "normal" now. I don't get as many calls, emails, or cards. And people think that b/c I "handled it so well" in the beginning, I'm just fine now. It seems somehow that everyone else is able to return to life as they knew it. But we don't have that luxury. We have to create a new life, a new normal, and you said it, it sucks. I know that I'll do new things, but the only one I want to share them with is the one person I can't. I want to rush home or call immediately to tell him all about some new experience, but I can't. I know they are both still with us, but it sucks that they both aren't HERE with us.

Seems we have so much in common, yet one thing I've learned is that all grief is completely personal. I won't say "I know what you're feeling" because I didn't loose Dan. I lost Kevin. But I will say that I think I get it.

One of these days, we'll share a beer. And we'll leave 2 seats at the table.

Keep swimming,

Jack Bouffard said...

Sounds like you could use a massage therapist to help ease your aches and pains from training. Keep up the great work!