Okay its truth time, just writing that title has made me teary eyed!!! I have struggled up to this point to even say this in my head. Writing it may be more about therapy for me than anything else. So be it! Who knows, maybe it will strike a chord for someone else on a similar journey?!_
If anyone is still with me, you may know that in the past I have shared how biking, running, triathlons etc. helped me through the sudden loss of my husband. CLICK HERE How I found inspiration through these activities to co-create WHOOHA (Women Having Optimistic Objectives and Healthy Attitudes), an inspirational apparel company for women. This grew into a wonderful community of women that inspired each other through their accomplishments. What I haven’t said is that these same activities that have been such a positive influence in my life have also made me unhealthy.
I can remember about 2 years after my husband died thinking “Wow, I am exhausted”. I reflected on the marathons, half marathons, half Ironman’s, centuries, endurance mountain bike races and everything else that I jumped into during those 2 years and thought “no wonder…, maybe it is time to slow down”. If I had listened to myself at this point and took a break, slowed down, allowed some stillness in my life, who knows, maybe I would still be competing on some level in the sports I love.
Instead, to make a long story short, I continued to say yes to everything that came my way. Each event, I grew a little more tired and my times got a little slower. Eventually I reached the point where I am now, no racing and little energy to do my favorite sports…even at a recreational level. I am no longer an endurance athlete!!!
Why am I telling you this? Woo is me, I want you to feel sorry for me?!! NO!!! To warn you about the evils of endurance sports?!! NO!!! I realize that there are a lot worse struggles that I could be dealing with and…endurance sports are the “bomb” if they are done for the right reason and with a positive attitude.
I am sharing this because I recently realized how much I was struggling with letting go of this lifestyle. In some ways I was feeling like I had lost my identity. My relationships, my social life, even my career revolves around endurance sports. WHOOHA was started because of our love of these sports. I am supposed to be a role model for these inspirational activities and yet I haven’t felt the urge to race for a very long time!!! I have to admit that I had even thought about giving up on WHOOHA Gear. Letting it go, closing the doors on this great community that has been created by us and all of you inspiring women. If I am no longer an athlete, no longer an inspiration, what’s the point??!!
The point, and an important lesson that I believe we all may need to be reminded of, is that I/we are so much more than our sports!!! The people that love me don’t love me because I qualified for Boston or rode the Leadville 100. They could care less! They love me for who I am as a person. Warts and all!!!
Of all the 1000’s of inspirational women that I have met in these past years, very few inspire me with their athletic feats alone. I am inspired by their hard work, their optimistic outlook, their love of life, their beautiful souls… and so much more. Inspiration comes in so many forms. All I have to do is look as far as my business partner Amy. Endurance events are the last thing on her mind these days. Instead she focuses much of her time on being the best mother she can be to her 3 children. She is as much an inspiration to me these days as she was when she was piling up race medals!!!
One of the benefits of slowing down is that I am finding the time for self-reflection. I have been having what I like to think of as the year (or maybe 2 years) of “finding Julie” (more on this later!!). Even though I had already mentally come to the above conclusions some time ago, it hit me hard that I was still struggling in my heart with letting go of my past life of endurance at a recent seminar I attended. I had the honor of meeting and sharing my struggles at this seminar with Jenny Lablaw, one of the most real and inspirational women I know (and quite possible my new girl crush!!!) If you haven’t heard of her you need to check her out here: http://labawlife.com/ ). She taught me that even strong people cry :), to accept what I am no longer and reminded me that I am so much more than my sports. With this gentle nudging, I have been inspired to share this part of my journey with you.
My wish is that you all know that you are “so much more”, that you can be inspiring to those around you in many different ways. If not, let my story be a reminder that this is so. If you find yourself forgetting this, stop what you are doing, find a pen and write down all the things that you are!!!
Really, just do it!!!
Here is a part of my ongoing list:
I am a daughter, a wife, a friend, a canine mother, a chicken farmer (as of 2 months), a superb marshmallow toaster, a massage therapist and lifestyle coach, a darn good hiker, a terrified of heights rock climber, an experimenter and cook, a gardener, a student, an adventurer, an aspiring practitioner of meditation, a healthy person, a business owner, a lover of life, and yes still and always in some way an athlete……
That was fun and refreshing (and a little corny!) I would love it if you shared your lists too!!!
Will I ever compete again? Who knows?! I won’t rule it out. These days I am focusing on being the healthiest person I can be. I don’t know if that will ever again mean training for an endurance event. As always there is an upside! Time away has given me a renewed love for my favorite sports. I now have a much greater appreciation of biking/running when I do have the pleasure of hitting the trails.
I hope to continue sharing my journey in future blogs as well as those of the many inspirational women we have met along the way. Stay tuned for a wide variety of inspiration and possibly a little bit about chicken farming (just kidding…Maybe :))
Until Next Time!