I mentioned in my runstreak post that running has been my constant. Well my runstreak is still alive and has surpassed 450 days, but I am also in the thick of Ironman training. Through my summer of traveling, job searching, and job rejections, training for 15-20 hours a week of swimming, running, and biking has felt like a part time job and has kept me sane.
Things fall apart:
I had a really bad week in July. I don’t think I had ever felt like so much of a failure and on the wrong path as when I got two job rejections in 48 hours. I’ve been rejected or ignored from plenty of jobs, but these two were jobs I was a finalist for. I felt confident the week before that I would get one or the other and had told a number of people about them- and then I got neither. It beyond sucked. My self-worth plummeted. I couldn’t believe that these employers could tell me to my face, on the phone and via email how great I was and then summarily reject me. At the same time I had to move out of my sublet.
I was jobless, homeless, and direction-less.
Thankfully I have an awesome family who were happy to have me come home to Texas when I decided I just wanted to be around them for a bit.
Thankfully I have an awesome partner who reminded me that I am not directionless but have plenty of passion for adolescent and veteran health to build from (not to mention he let me store my stuff/crash with him/take over his apartment while the homeless situation was worked out.)
Thankfully I have friends to commiserate with about the job frustrations.
And thankfully I have my training plan for Ironman Chattanooga.
This summer I have swam in pools in EagleVail, CO, Asheville, NC, Dallas, TX, Boston, MA, Chapel Hill, Raleigh and Durham, NC. I definitely ran in all those places (while run-streaking) and biked in most of them or found spin classes to attend. Last week over a span of 8 days I ran over 15 miles along the South Harbor in Boston before my (delayed) flight back to NC, the next day rode nearly 100 miles around Raleigh/Durham, then later that week ran another long run of over 17 miles, got in several swims, including one that was well over 4,000 yds, and completed another long bike ride, this time over 70 miles through the mountain passes near Vail, CO after traveling to Colorado. Those 8 days I ran 60 miles, rode over 200 miles, and swam nearly 7 miles worth of meters/yards in Boston, the Triangle, and Vail. Whew!
Between planning all of my workouts out in all these various places, recovering from said workouts, and fueling for/after these workouts, my days were filled. Not only were they filled, they had purpose. My days did not revolve solely around the job search process. My personal fulfillment and success was not contingent on a job or lack of job. I could consider my day successful if I got in all my training. This idea of purpose that in no way related to my job or lack of job is something that was hard for me mentally. We live in a society that values our work and job title- this is also something that my friend wrote about on her blog Life as Morgan Knows It. I have a long term goal to work towards, an Ironman that is now just weeks away, and that has made a bigger difference than I could ever have imagined.
I signed up for IM Chattanooga nearly a year ago with my friend Julie. At the time I was still hesitating on whether I wanted to commit myself monetarily and physically to my first full Ironman distance triathlon. Before I could come up with a single excuse she texted me something to the effect of: “Don’t even think about using the excuse that you don’t know what you’ll be doing next year because if you sign up then THIS is what you’ll be doing this time next year.” I had no idea at the time how incredibly accurate, and potentially sanity saving, this proved to be.
Things come together:
Things are coming together now. Thanks to the reminder about my passion for adolescent health through sports programs, I got into contact with an incredible organization called Soccer Without Borders. I am beyond excited to announce that I will be doing a short term monitoring and evaluation fellowship with them at their Kampala, Uganda site! Basically within one week of Chattanooga I will be headed to Uganda for three months, giving me about a month to prepare for this work and continue training.
In the midst of my terrible week I went out for my long run in some of my favorite trails. It was a pretty terrible run. Done on very little sleep and with heightened emotions, it felt long, extra difficult, and even drove me to tears at one point when I just wanted it to be over but I was still five miles from my car at the trailhead.
Three weeks later I ran the same exact route. Night and day. It was five days after a half ironman distance race in my favorite place in Western North Carolina – Lake Logan – but I felt great. My emotional state was so much better, I had just had an inspiring phone call with the co-founder of Soccer Without Borders. A big veteran support program I co-founded was successfully handed off to our successors. I was able to fully engage in the beautiful woods surrounding me. I was able to reflect on the previous run and know that the terrible week I had experienced only made me more resilient. Even with all the crappy emotions that had gone through me, I still kept up my training for an ironman. I still kept up my run streak. I rediscovered the path that I really wanted to go on.
I had been slightly lost, slightly off the path – as can easily happen to anyone. But I tapped into the things that are most unwavering in my life- my family, my friends, and in this case my training. It is all a part of my journey.
P.S. I started another website specifically for running overnight relays, called relayrunningguide.com Check it out if you have a chance!