As I head into my third month of training for the half, I’m thinking this will be the finish line for me and not the full Ironman distance. I know a lot can change in a year, but at this moment, I can’t imagine doing a full. My friends and my coach tried to prepare me ahead of time, but the learning curve of time commitment has been steep. While my motivation is still to encourage others with T1D, I’ve come to realize this is easily the most selfish thing I’ve ever done.
I have to prioritize my time, ration daylight and plan around public pool schedules. I have to take my calendar each week and fit in training like a jigsaw puzzle. Often, that means skipping things I want to be a part of or missing opportunities as they arise. Other times, it’s being in the pool by 5 a.m. so I can make an after-work commitment or going to bed at 8:30 out of pure exhaustion.
And the diabetes planning… making sure I’m eating the right foods for fuel and making sure my meals are at least 3.5 hours ahead of a workout so there’s no active insulin in my system. Remembering to lower my basal rate ahead of a workout. Setting an alarm in the middle of the night to test if I’ve had a late workout. Sometimes I think the diabetes planning is more exhausting than the workouts themselves.
The one thing I promised myself I wouldn’t sacrifice was my spiritual life. Each morning, I carve out time to read scripture and to pray. Sometimes it’s 15 minutes and sometimes, I manage an hour. Either way, that time is vital to who I am and helps shape the foundational principles for how I live my life. It’s my center, and I need that time each day. I’m embarrassed to admit, this was the first thing I sacrificed when I started training. It was easy to skip because I was tired and that hour of sleep meant more in the moment.
I hit a training road block last week. I had a small breakdown where several things that were beginning to simmer finally boiled over. I emailed my coach and took the rest of the week off from training. It was refreshing to have my calendar back. I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and I didn’t have to plan meals or insulin doses around workouts. I joined friends for dinner and remembered what it was like to watch Netflix. Most importantly, in taking a few days off, I was able to recapture my mornings.
I also created a space in my bedroom that brings me joy and comfort. When I sit on my bed and open my Bible each morning, I’m reminded of all the good things and great people in my life. I see the opportunities I’ve had and the opportunities ahead. I go into my time with God grateful. It’s made a beautiful shift in my days, and now I’m back and ready to finish this plan.
For the next block of training, I’ve scheduled most of my workouts in the evenings. I may miss a dinner out with friends or a girls night here and there, but my spiritual life and maintaining that balance is more important. It’s not something I want to sacrifice to meet this goal. I enjoy training and being active, but I don’t enjoy the time commitment it’s taking.
This Michael Phelps Under Armour ad was released this week, and it’s fitting. I never imagined the mental growth from this endeavor would be so significant, but it drives me to pray even more often. This video is incredibly powerful. While I’m not an Olympian, this journey to 70.3 is the biggest physical achievement I will likely ever accomplish. I just keep looking toward May and imagining my friends and family at the finish line. That’s my image; that’s my Olympic equivalency. (You can support me here.)