Monday, July 6, 2015

Bad days, bad weeks & dark places

Ironman Boulder is less than a month away.

Nationals is the weekend after IMB.

This means that emotions are pretty jacked up right now. I did a swim race yesterday and met up with friends. Friends who are on edge. They are starting to doubt themselves. They are tired. The training has been going on for months now.

Today, I had two back to back phone calls from people. They are a mess. Everyone has their owns fears and the same fears.

How am I supposed to help them feel better?  It's been way too long for me to remember what they are going through.

Yet, I'm going through the same feelings they are. The days of struggle. The days of self doubt. The days of thinking "What am I doing? I can't do this."

Maybe my job is not to help them feel better. Maybe they just need to hear that they are "ok".

I'm no Coach, but I'm not new to the sport. Even though, I have bad times, I know that training ebs and flows. We go through bad days, bad weeks and dark places. The dark places are the hardest to deal with.

I started telling them things that I know....but when you're in a dark need to hear from someone who has nothing invested in your success. FRIENDS, not coaches....friends who want you to succeed for no other reason than they believe in you.

Last week was my dark place. I was riddled with self doubt. I gave up on my workouts. I'm close to the end. My thoughts were filled with, "I can't do this. Why am I even trying?"

I considered not even going to Nationals. I was going to cut my season short. I waited to tell Mr. Tea. I thought, "Let me make sure I'm committed to doing this. Once the decision is made, I can't go back."

I waited a few days. Things didn't get better. I was sitting at the table. I heard him coming down the stairs. I opened my mouth to say the words when he said.

"I can't wait for this trip. It's going to be so much fun."

I froze.

He went on "You're so fast now. It's going to be so much fun. I'm so looking forward to this trip."

On Sunday at the race, when Katie said to me, "Tea I can't do this. I can't swim 2.4 miles."

I turned to her and took her hands and said, "I know you're feeling like you can't. You can do this. We are not talking about the swim. I know what you are going through. I've seen you come so far....from the woman who couldn't even the woman who has put everything into your training."

This morning, she called me. She was really upset because she didn't swim the 2.4 miles. I thought about what Mr. Tea said to me. I knew she was in her dark place.

I didn't exactly know what to say. So, I just let the words come out.

You are normal.

You are getting near the end. It's been a long road to get here. It's OK to not feel good. It WILL come together for you. Your biggest, most important training is done. It's time to recover. These weeks can test you more than any of the previous weeks. People like me can see the great and the strong in you. You can't see it right now. That's why we are here. We believe in you. We believe in what you can do. Trust in us. Lean on us.

When we were done talking, I realized how hard this sport is and how important it is to be part of a community that will be there for you when you feel most alone.

We all go through those dark places.

Just remember, when you're going through hell, keep on going.