As I have shared before, sleep is always an issue for me. Even if I go to bed at 8, I don't always fall right to sleep, and I have been having a lot of those "feeling out of control" dreams lately. On Wednesday I had a dream that I was once again teaching kindergarten. I had asked all my parents to meet at my house so we could all carpool to school together. The problem is that when the parents left I still had ten students with me and only seven extra seats in my van. In addition, they didn't leave me any car seats, so it felt like I spent the whole night trying to find a way to safely transport all ten kids. And while I was pondering this puzzle, the students kept doing things like getting too close to the pool or grabbing sharp objects. It doesn't take a psychologist to see that this dream was a metaphor for my current reality. I have too many tasks and not enough time to do them all in the 24 hours we are given each day.
That's where I get by with a little help from my friends. I must say, this is the first week that my schedule has actually kept me from getting my usual training in--and I felt it. On Thursday I was driving to an early morning meeting I was in charge of running, and all I could think of was how much I would rather be running than heading to work. It is amazing how ingrained my exercise has become, and how much I have come to depend on my friends to run, bike, and swim with me.
I have come to realize that my training time is really my hang with my friends time, my share my triumphs and frustrations time, and my time to run new ideas by them to get their feedback. It is amazing how much you can talk about when you are on the road together for an hour or more, and I think my friends feel the same way about this special time we have together. So as stressed as I have been feeling lately, I know that when I rise at 5 am to meet my buddies, I know that I will not only get a great day of running or biking in, I know that at the end of those miles I will feel better mentally as well, because I will have emptied my mind of all the things weighing on me. I get by with a little help from these friends.
I am a lucky girl because besides having my wonderful exercise friends, I also have other circles of friends who all keep me from loosing my mind: my work/teacher friends, my past parent friends (I taught their students and then we stayed friends), my high school/college friends, etc. And they have all played a part in keeping me sane these days. What I love about these friends is that they understand how intense my training needs to be for the next ten months, and they do not make me feel guilty for the lack of time I am able to spend with them. In fact, it is just the opposite. I was just talking with my close friend who I have not seen since late July. I was sharing how nervous I was about the Ironman and my ability to actually survive the training. She reminded me where I came from, "How many people who used to weigh 230 pounds ever decide to even attempt an Ironman?" she asked me. She told me that I should be proud of myself no matter what, and even though I know she wishes we could have more time together, she never once suggested I quit.
So it is clear to me that the secret to my success (and yours as well) is definitely having a strong support system. If I didn't have a family that watched Eoin so I could run, bike, and swim for hours, if I didn't have friends that not only train with me but allow me to decompress during those trainings, I would not be where I am today. I am hoping that my life settles down a little, but I know no matter what I will get by with a LOT of support from those around me.
A friend is one with whom you are comfortable, to whom you are loyal, through whom you are blessed, and for whom you are grateful.
William Arthur Ward