Tag Archives: grief

Friendly Reminder: It’s All About the Journey

I thought I had my 2013 triathlon season all set:

  • Successfully register for two Half Ironman races (which is not always easy given how some of them, especially the two I wanted to race are hugely popular and sell out within days and in the case of one, minutes).  Check: I registered for Oceanside 70.3 and Vineman 70.3.
  • Albeit somewhat last-minute, sign up for my first Ironman.  Check: Registered for Ironman Lake Tahoe.
  • Begin base building in January.  Check: Changed workout focus and drafted training plan.

But then as with everyone life happened, and my plans changed.  Because of some scheduling issues I had to back out of Oceanside at the beginning of the year.  A couple of months later I learned about a new 70.3 race that fits my schedule better.  So I signed up for it, the Silicon Valley Long Course.

Then with just over three weeks until my first 70.3, my training was interrupted with a nasty cold that put me out for five days.

This past Tuesday I worked out for the first time since getting the cold and it was hard.  It was hard for lots of reasons:

  • Knowing that I can’t truly make up my lost training days, I struggled with what I should do on my first day back to training.
  • A new serving of angst emerged since I now have less than two weeks of training before I begin tapering.  A week ago I was pretty confident I’d finish the race with a decent time; now – not so much.
  • I decided to ride 47 miles for my first workout and boy did I struggle on many fronts: cardio, strength and mentally.  Especially knowing that I was much stronger and fitter just a week ago, I couldn’t help but be frustrated.

But as with everything else in life, I learned a lot over the past challenging week.  To help get me through each day I was sick I thought more and more about what’s important this season, this year, in my life.  I should be thankful I have just a cold and nothing more.  While triathlons are extremely important to me, they are just races.  I train to help me with my grief.  And while I race to help honor Noah, I need to maintain a healthier perspective.  By getting stressed and all worked up over the possibility of  not racing, I realized I’m probably taking something away from this special time with my son.  Moreover I need to focus on the bigger picture.  And the picture is pretty big with my son in a completely different world than me.

Noah’s presence on my ride provided a constant reminder that my cold, my struggle with my breathing, climbing and even at times pedaling (which should have not been the case) are really all petty issues.  As mentioned before, digging down some to get through a hard training segment is becoming more and more natural and Tuesday’s ride and yesterday’s workout were no exception.

Seeing wildlife during my training sessions isn’t new. I rode past a deer who was leisurely snacking on the side of the road. I also witnessed two squirrels attempt to cross a relatively busy road.  After an intense 3-5 seconds of questioning if a car would truly stop for it, one of them actually crossed.  (The other one appeared to not want to play Frogger at all and stayed on the other side of the road.)  Slowing down to observe these creatures as well as take in some of Mother Nature’s beautiful lushness was part of my journey on Tuesday.  I had several moments when I appreciated this.

Who knows how I’ll do at my first tri of the season.  But this week has already been a huge reminder that this is all about the process – the journey, if you will.  I’m sure I’ll feel some disappointment if I don’t do well at my first race.  I’ll wonder if I could have dug even deeper, pushed harder, listened to my body better and so on and so on.  Even if I’m fortunate to perform well, I’ll probably wonder about the same things as well as whether I trained too much and I pushed too hard given that this race is a B race (a warm up race) and I have two more to go.  Lots of questions.   I need to remind myself of days like this past week and this time, that time, another time and others and to be open to experiencing what they offer.

I’m on a journey, (and dare I say, just like you).  Since Noah my journey will always have a travel companion.  We’re on this journey together and while I think I know what my destination is for this tri season, Ironman Lake Tahoe, it may not be.  I don’t know what next year’s destination will be or the year after or my life’s ultimate destination.  I guess it doesn’t matter.  After all I thought MLH’s and my destination with Noah was to have him down here on earth with us but go figure.  As the cliché goes, it’s not about the destination.  I need to remind myself it’s all about the journey…

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In Child Loss, There Is No “Fake It Till You Make It”

In Child Loss, There Is No “Fake It Till You Make It”

This post is not about triathlons; it’s about bereaved parents and their grief.

I’ve been reading Still Standing Magazine since its launch last May.  It’s a truly amazing resource for bereaved parents.  Like Kristin, the author of the piece I’m sharing here, and many others, I too was disappointed and upset about the recent segment on The Ricki Lake Show.  Kristin addresses this along with sharing her own experience as a bereaved parent.

Thank you, Kristin.  Happy belated birthday.  I hope this year is gentle on you.

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Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  October has been designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  I didn’t know about any of this last year.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps I wasn’t as connected to some of the wonderful communities for bereaved parents as I am now.  Regardless, I am thankful for this.

I’m still learning about the history of this special day and month.  Below I’ve listed a handful of links that provide more information on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and Awareness Month.

Hopefully you can pause for a moment today to remember all of the littles ones who left this world way too soon.

I love you, Noah.

_____________________

http://www.reagan.utexas.edu/archives/speeches/1988/102588b.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregnancy_and_Infant_Loss_Remembrance_Day

http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LA20081023030?open&refNavID=HA8_1

http://www.october15th.com

http://smallbirdstudios.com/2012/10/12/why-it-is-important-to-break-the-silence-about-baby-loss/

 

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Support System

Since Noah passed away, I continue to get advice on self-care.  One aspect of self-care is having and actually utilizing a support system.   Most people have support systems.  One isn’t required to be a member of the sad, unfortunate bereaved parents club to have one.  For me, though, since losing my son, I’ve become much more open to this concept and much more appreciative of having one.

I’m so grateful for my friends and family members far and near who are there for me.  I am grateful for their love, compassion and efforts to walk by my side on my journey.

I’m also fortunate to have a few bereaved parent support groups.  MLH and I had one while living on the east coast.  We were sad to leave this group.  We miss its members and think of their children often.  When we moved I searched for a local group and recently found one.  Additionally I have a virtual group that consists of parents who also have lost Heterotaxy children.  I am so grateful for having these groups in my life.  They’re an important part of my support system.

Within my support system I have “a triathlete section.”   Here I have my friends and family members who tolerate my training schedule, inquire about my progress and cheer me on.

Members of my tri clubs are also part of my support system.  The interesting thing about this group is they don’t even know it!  They don’t know that by showing up, focusing on the workout, talking about a race, discussing technique, and doing pretty much anything related to training they’re providing a tremendous amount of support.  Not asking if I have children but asking about PRs, favorite segments, bikes, races and training schedules is the best support I can get at that time.

What does your support system look like?  Are you utilizing it when you need to?  Are you part of somebody else’s support system?

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Transitioning to the Off-Season

It’s official:  I’m now in my off-season.  I’ve cut back on training time and lowered the intensity of my workouts.  So far the transition has been quite an adjustment which I guess shouldn’t be a surprise.

During my triathlon season I found myself training between 2.5 – 4 hours/day.  Now I’m training about 1 – 1.5 hours/day.  Since I’m not working my body as hard, I don’t need as much sleep.  And I’m reducing my caloric intake.

The off-season has its benefits.  My newly freed up hours allow me to spend more time on work and other interests.  Also, I can exercise with MLH more often which is really nice.

At the same time, these changes have been a bit challenging.  I don’t recall feeling like this at the end of my 2011 season.  I think it’s because my training was not nearly as intense nor so time-consuming then.

Reducing my calories has been easier than expected because I’m not nearly as hungry as I was between February – August.  However, during the season I pretty much burned off all of my desserts and cheat meals (e.g. burgers) with great ease.  (I did pay the price for eating such food during my actual workouts!)  If I want to maintain a healthy weight I should decrease the number of sweets and other “less healthy” foods I eat.

And to truly benefit from the off-season I need to be mindful about holding back during my training sessions.

I think the hardest change has to do with this special time I have with Noah.  And the fact that all of this physical activity — pushing, challenging and strengthening myself  — is so healing and comforting.  In many ways I feel like I have a bigger void than before.

But I really do need to allow my body to rest and repair in order to keep it as healthy as possible so I can continue training and racing for as long as possible.   I’m trying to let my entire body fully recover from this season of triathlons.

I’m starting to think my off-season workouts are precious in their own way given these changes.

I fully admit, though, I’m already very much looking forward to next year’s triathlon season.

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