This week one of my very best friends is having a baby. Bringing new life into the world is an undeniably incredible act. It reminds you that we have more purpose in life than obtaining our desired heart rate during a tempo run or getting on the podium at a sprint triathlon. Those are the moments that we step outside of our normal routine and celebrate life – a heart beat, a healthy pulse, and the sound of a loud cry. Things that we may take for granted at times, but when a baby is first born, these little things mean the world.
Unfortunately in the past week, two of my good friends lost loved ones whose time on earth was far from over. They each had long, healthy lives of ahead of them and they were taken much too soon. Another friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Hearing the news of each of these events shocked me to the core. One moment you think you have everything figured out, and the next you’re lost.
My priorities are changing and the tragedies as of late have encouraged me to re-evaluate some things. I probably won’t ever train for another Ironman. Although I enjoyed training and I am so glad that I did it, training for that many hours a week doesn’t give me the joy that it does for others. It was certainly an incredible journey and a life changing event, but I really need more time in my life to spend with friends and family. I don’t want to skip any more family parties, miss family camping weekends, or pass up opportunities to share a glass of wine with a friend because I can’t miss a workout. The events as of late have solidified my decision to not race long distance triathlon even more. There is certainly a balance when it comes to training and for me personally, I couldn’t maintain that balance while training. I was fortunate enough that my race didn’t overlap many key events in my friends and families lives (all 7 weddings and the related bachelorette parties and bridal showers were post Ironman!), but I certainly put those relationships on the back burner. Even Mike and I put our relationship with one another to the side a bit during training. As we trained for hours on end, side by side, our relationship as friends and training partners was strengthened, but our romantic relationship dwindled a bit.
I still intend to qualify for Boston because running gives me joy. If it were to stop or interfere too much with other aspects of my life, I will give the goal up. Health and fitness are surely one of the most important things in my life but I know that I can live a healthy and balanced life by following a conscious diet and getting a moderate amount of exercise. Ironman and running marathons (or even halves) are not a requirement for good health. Running marathons and competing in short distance triathlons do make my happy and give me a sense of purpose and a goal to work toward and as long as they it makes sense for me, I will keep racing.
In addition to spending plenty of time with friends and family, I want to travel the world before I leave this earth and I’ve been reminded lately that that day could come earlier than I think. There will be no more delaying of trips for “the right time”. The recent events have also solidified my decision to leave my prior accounting firm that would have been a super fast track to upper management but required me to work hundreds of hours of overtime each year. Spending my life eating dinner at my desk instead of with loved ones is not worth a hefty paycheck to me. Time is the ultimate equalizer. No one has more minutes in a day than anyone else. No amount of cash in your bank account is going to change that.
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln