Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Life After?

While perusing the grocery aisles today, a very weird and foreign thought darted through my mind. One of those uncontrolled ideas, something that is felt without previous contemplation. Instinct, perhaps. A future vision maybe, but unexpected at this point. I was afraid of this moment, unprepared for how I would respond. This entry is testament, I suppose.

I reached for a box of Tomato Basil Wheat Thins.

And then stopped, when I realized what I had just done.

Anyone who knows me well enough, knows that TBWT are my one true weakness (peanut butter cups and peanut m&ms aside). When I bring a box of TBWT into the house, they don't last long. They get devoured - usually on the couch while reading, or watching a good movie. They just don't have that long of a lifespan: like the half-life of a plutonium atom. They just disappear. Gone. Finito! Like they never existed in the first place.

So what's the big deal? Gee Marit, it's only a box of Tomato Basil Wheat Thins!

The problem, is that the box of TBWT signals the true end of my season. Instead, I might as well refer to them as Temptation Begins With Time-off! Or, Time Between Wonderful Treats. Whatever I think of them as, or whatever meaning they give me, deep down I know that after Clearwater, my life will attain a new focus.

And I'm okay with that. I'm just not ready. Not ready for the "life after racing" point.

Because I've still got a race left. A biggie. One that I'm excited for, that I've prepared for, that I've visualized, contemplated, philosophized, trained, sacrificed, thought about, and have pushed myself beyond limits for. Because I love what I'm doing, and I'm not ready to see myself without this race, or this goal.

Because when I'm racing, I'm very disciplined about myself and my body. I follow my workouts to the T, I make sure to get enough sleep, I eat a pretty healthy diet, and don't allow myself a lot of "vices". I'm not a saint - believe me. I've been known to go through a bottle of wine and stay up late watching British Comedy just as much as the next person - but it happens with a lot less frequency when I've got a full race schedule versus a fridge full of holiday treats and no scheduled races for a month or two.

I'm just not ready. I love this too much.

I love the feeling of accomplishment I gain after every workout. I love the sensation of pushing beyond my limits, and exploring dimensions of myself I wasn't previously aware of. I love setting new personal records, and figuring out how to bounce back from disappointments or setbacks. Challenges aren't easy, that's why they're difficult. But it doesn't mean that we shouldn't at least try and give it a go. I love the feeling of elation, pure bliss after a tough workout -the kind where quitting would be ten times more agonizing than the excruciating pain of the workout itself - and afterwards I can reflect on the enormity of what I've just done. I love this.

But I also realize that at some point, I'll need to take a break.

Which brings back the enormity of the Tomato Basil Wheat Thins.

As Dr. Frasier Crane once said, "There ARE no accidents." (Just before "accidentally" dropping his father's beloved and tattered old recliner off his 58th floor balcony).

I didn't mean to reach for them. It was an "accident".

I guess my subconscious realizes that the end of my season is near. And that there IS a life after. And it WILL involve TBWT (probably with the bottle of wine -red! And the British Comedy, late at night. All 4 vices for the price of one. Nathaniel will wake up the morning after, only to find me passed out on the couch, surrounded by wheat crumbs, an empty bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, the DVD screen saver bouncing around the monitor, and an empty bag of peanut M&Ms thrown in for good measure). But that will be okay, because it's something that I, and most other triathletes, never let ourselves do. Just as the leaves change color and seasons change, life will continue for me after this weekend.

I'm just not ready to think about it.

I'll admit, the TBWT were an accident. That happens. But as of now, I'm still racing. And I've still got my focus. I know things will be different in just a little while. I'll admit that sleeping in, spending more time with Nathaniel and friends, and being a little more relaxed about my diet are tempting. So yea, there is a "life after". But honestly, I'm just a little afraid that I'll miss the one that I've got too much.

Perhaps a healthy balance? you suggest...

Okay - I can compromise. I'll take it easy, I'll enjoy my time off, good friends, good food, good drink, plenty of good sleep. But I'll throw in a late season half marathon, just for a little balance. Because after all, if I can focus on something aside from doing nothing, I won't be quite as crazy as I get when I've got absolutely zero on my plate. So a little unstructured structure is a good thing. Or is it structured unstructuredness?

But I'm not ready to embrace Life After just yet.

Talk to me Saturday afternoon, and it'll probably be a different story. You may have to wait though - because I've got a date with Nathaniel, a bottle of wine and box of TBWT lined up first.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Marit!!
Great pic of you & Nathan at the ball! You guys look adorable. GOOD luck this weekend - YOU WILL DO GREAT!!! I was laughing out loud about the TBWT....what? Never would I consider those...chocolate or bust for me. :) Just a few more days! I will watch you online! GO GO GO! Jen H.
PS. I was screaming for Ludi at IM FL's marathon and I know she thought I was nuts...!!! Stalker. I don't know her, but you told me to root/cheer for her!