You know that ridiculous scene…

Hey there, people!! I have been so busy doing productive things and being fit and having tons of energy that I haven’t had a chance to sit down at a computer!!!   Hahahahahahahahahaha. Hahahahahahaha. Oh my. Whew. Not even close.

I’ve been a slug. This “Sad Woman in Spandex” still has the propensity to be sad, but hasn’t worn any spandex in MONTHS. Months. I did wear some leggings during the hilliest half marathon ever. But I only wore the leggings because it was cold and I hadn’t run in MONTHS and knew there would be serious chafing issues without them.

So, I’m still struggling to find my mojo. It’s around here somewhere and I’m pretty sure someday I will find it again because I get glimpses of it every now and then, like in those blurry Sasquatch photos. And, I am witnessing mojo-finding happening right in front of me. Just not BY me. Not directly.


You know those scenes in action movies where the hero is getting absolutely beaten to a pulp and then, all of a sudden, he rallies? He finds this strength and a big burst of energy, and he not only defeats the guy kicking his ass, but he saves the whole world at the same time. You know that scene. The one you secretly love because it feels so great, but you also roll your eyes at because, seriously, that DOESN’T happen. I mean, really. It’s up there with having never-ending bullets or all the bad guys having bad aim or all the enemies only attacking the hero one at a time… It’s fun and makes for a great story, but it just isn’t real.


Except that it is. I am seeing it in front of my own eyes right now.


You may know that I have gone through some… rough patches. I wasn’t the only one affected by the publicity and notoriety of the Incident. I was the sympathetic figure in whatever fantasy the media created. For me, the Incident ended up being liberating. I didn’t have to hide my depression anymore; I could be honest and just be me.

It didn’t have the same redeeming effects for my husband. He was vilified. The media skewed the story (and sometimes downright lied) to make it seem as though he was abusive. People he thought were his friends turned their backs on him. He left his job and was bullied, slandered, libeled, and harassed via social media.  It broke his heart and his faith in humanity.

He ended up taking a position in a city 100 miles away. We were all going to move there, but when I couldn’t find a job, we ended up renegotiating things and moving all our stuff BACK home. He still works there (doing great things!) and for a while was there all alone most of the time (and this is a man who does NOT like to be alone.   When he was a kid, he used to lie down in front of the door to keep people from leaving, and I’m not convinced he wouldn’t do that now…)

It was hard on him. Really, really hard on him. Where I came out of the Incident with a silver lining, all he got was rain and hail.

It was a miserable couple of years for him. He tried to be tough and just power through it, like he does. “I don’t have the body of a runner? Ok. I’ll run 10+ marathons and a couple of ultras.” “I don’t look like a triathlete? Ok. I’ll do 4 Ironmans.” “Oh no! I wrecked at mile 16 of my first Ironman and broke my bike? Ok. I’ll splint that shit with duct tape and a stick and keep going even with my broken bones.” That’s my guy!   That’s why when he got off the bike at that first Ironman and asked me, “Can I do this?” I responded with, “Can you walk? Then go!!”  Because he can and will do whatever he sets his mind to.

It’s been heartbreaking to see his spirit broken and the light in his eyes a little dimmer. His laugh had just an edge of bitterness and he didn’t laugh as easily. I was watching the hero of the story being beaten to a pulp.

But now, I’m watching that unbelievable scene. You know the one. That rally. That second wind, that rush of adrenaline, that light appearing in the hero’s eyes, that comeback. The hero broke those chains in the dungeon or found that sword that was buried or got his sonic screwdriver working or stood up when the bad guy started gloating.

And you know the feeling you get when you watch that scene in the movie theater? With the full surround sound, Dolby Digital, 3D experience. When your heart swells up into your throat and you want to jump up and cheer (but you usually don’t because, well, people…. But sometimes someone else does so you do too and the whole theater goes wild cheering?)

Well, let me tell you, it’s even more amazing when you see it in person.

The hero is back.  He’s winning.  And I’m cheering him on.

Stream of Consciousness by My Brain

A little insight into my brain:
“I love this little girl so much. OMG. Stop talking and let me read this article. I love you and I would die for you, but seriously, I need you to not talk right now. How are my cases at work? I’m an hour behind right now. Maybe I should call instead of texting but that might be really inconvenient right now for them if they’re slammed and I know it can be super crazy. Yay!! I’m having a great time karaoking with the husband’s friends!! Ok. Time to go to sleep. One game of Old Maid.  I can’t be Mommy and a sexy wife at the same time. Seriously. Mommy first, then sex kitten. Ok. Let’s sing ‘You are my sunshine’ 3 times. I love hearing your sweet voice with mine. I can’t believe you start school next week! Awwww. Sweet, rhythmic breaths. Now I’m a sexy wife… 

Oh hell. I haven’t done any training in the past 2 weeks and we have a triathlon in Sunday. Fuuuck. I’m such a loser! Maybe I can fit something into the full schedule tomorrow. Shit. I wonder if my patients are ok. I probably should have been more thorough. I hope they’re ok. I’ll probably stop in on Monday, even though I’m off, to make sure everything is ok. OMG. I love this sweet girl in my arms right now. Why can’t I get my shit together?!??! wtf is wrong with me????”

  1. This insight has been brought to you by anxiety and insomnia. 

One of those days

Today is one of those days. I’m anxious. I’m sad. I dread going to work and having to deal with people and having to think and make decisions. I feel like I can’t really think. I didn’t sleep well, I haven’t been eating well, and, aside from the morning after my last post, I haven’t convinced myself to exercise. 

I’m not sharing this for sympathy, although feel free to feel sorry for me and my first world problems… I share this so that you will you know that there are days like this. I am so much better than I was a few years ago, but I still struggle. Sometimes it’s mild, but sometimes it’s hard to force myself out of bed to go through the motions. 

One big difference now as opposed to before is that now I know that things will be ok and that there is hope. I know that once I start moving again, things will fall back into place. That’s a really hard thing to see when you’re depressed, even if your depression is pretty well under control and it only rears its head every now and then. 
I’m going to keep plodding along today, knowing that things are going to look a lot better once I crawl out of this day. 

Just a Push

I’m still here! It’s been a minute or two since I last posted. Thanks for hanging in there!

I don’t really have anything profound to say, but my doctor prescribed writing another post when I went in for my yearly checkup 3 years late today! (I have the best OB/Gyn ever. THE best. Seriously. A friend who I had referred to her actually chose an insurance plan based on whether Dr Wonderful was in network.) My wonderful doctor also prescribed that I sign up for the local sprint triathlon in August. Which I will totally do. I may not train for it, but I will do it.

Speaking of training – or not training – I haven’t done any. At all. None. I know you are shocked and are currently picking yourself up off the ground. It’s ok. I’ll give you a minute to recover. I’ll just go over here and EAT A HUGE BOWL OF PASTA while I wait. Because that’s what I’ve been doing. Steady yourself because I have another shocker: I’ve gained 20 lbs. And I feel like shit. And I am mad at myself for being lazy while at the same time totally rationalizing why I can’t get back on track. (You cannot even imagine how good I am at this game.)

Exercise time: I’m tired. I had a long day. I haven’t spent enough time with my daughter. I have to drive to another city to be with my husband. It’s too hot. I’m too hungry. My stomach is too full. It’s too early. It’s too late. It might rain. I might get sunburned. The place where the saltwater catfish barb stuck in the middle of my palm hurts (and, yes, it still does a little, even though that was 2 weeks ago). I didn’t bring the right shirt. This shirt doesn’t feel good today…

Later: Why didn’t you go run? You would have felt better. You are so lazy. You didn’t used to be this way. How did you ever do an Ironman? Why can’t you eat healthy? It’s not that hard. You really are so lazy.  And on and on.

Even later (approximately right now): Oh I’ll set my alarm for really early and go before it gets hot. See? I even set my clothes out. I will reward myself with a tasty coffee when I get finished. It will feel so good to get that accomplished.

Morning (probably tomorrow morning): ZZZZzzzzzzzzzz. <snooze> zzzzzzzzzzz <snooze> zzzzzzzzzz Why don’t I just reset this alarm for when I will really get up?

Every. Single. Day.

So, I need a new goal. That’s why my doctor prescribed the triathlon. She knows it’s not a big goal for me, but just the act of signing up for it might encourage me to sign up for something more. Sometimes I need a push. A gentle nudge, or a playful push, or a hard shove, depending on the particular situation.

Planning to move from our awesome city to a small, conservative town pushed me to find new things to focus on. (It turns out that I like to bake. I thought I was a shitty baker all this time, but it was really just that I have a shitty oven. The small town oven is great! I also like to do crafts, or at least attempt them… who knew?)

Not being able to find a job in an area closer to my husband’s job pushed me to talk to my boss and figure out an arrangement that allowed me to stay in our awesome city and house and will allow my incredible husband to try something new!

The Incident was a pretty big shove. But it pushed me out of the dark place into the open where I had to face my depression and the fact that it was serious. It forced me to admit that I couldn’t just “get over it” and I needed some help.

It always takes a push for me. A goal. So I’m going to set one. It’s going to be epic. Exciting. I am going to call it a goal and it will be something to strive for. I am going to put it in writing. Are you ready?!


Rather than trying to be perfect (and failing miserably), I will aim to be a little bit better than I was yesterday.


There it is.

Once I can manage that for a week, I’ll build on it. I also have a secret goal (Do normal people have “secret goals” or is that just triathletes? Like when someone asks what your goal is for a race and you say, “Oh, I just want to finish.” But really you want to finish in a certain time… No? Just me, then.) My secret goal is to post something (even stream-of-consciousness drivel like this) once a week, maybe even for accountability. I haven’t decided on a day yet, so DON’T PRESSURE ME!

Or you can. Just call it a push.

Yeah, but…

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted.  Ups and downs and ups and downs.  You know the story.  Work is crazy but better than it used to be.  Life in general is ridiculous but better than the alternative.  <——– please note that there was a time not terribly long ago that I didn’t believe this.  Things are definitely better!

Spring is here and things are green and warm and wonderful, even with the heavy coating of yellow pollen everywhere.  I’m back on my steroid inhaler for asthma that I really do try to use twice daily.  Really.  And I realize that my plans for great core training and healthy eating during the off-season have turned into fantasies that continue on into the spring.  Profound thought from Janis Joplin: Tomorrow never comes.  Every night when I think “Tomorrow is the day I start getting back into being healthy by running and eating right” turns into the next day when I think “Well hell.  I just had McDonald’s and a doughnut for breakfast and I hit snooze too many times to run before work and I have to drive 2 hours home and there’s no way I can fit in a run and I guess I’ll just do it tomorrow.” But then “tomorrow” turns into “today” and… well, you get the picture.

I have eaten healthier the past two days though, so there’s that.  A super awesome friend at work made soup this weekend and brought me some.  It was delicious and much better than the Taco Bell I probably would have resorted to otherwise!  Another super awesome friend at work fixed the hot water in the shower so I can exercise before work or during lunch and shower away the sweat.  (The potential to do that is there, anyway.)

Speaking of work, the past few weeks have really opened my eyes to yet another issue I have.  (Geez.  I just never know where these stream-of-consciousness posts are going to take me!)  I had to discuss job stuff.  I have been interviewing for positions near our new town.  This sucks and I hate it.  I hate it because interviews are weird and awkward and you’re being judged and you’re trying to take in everything and judge it and decide if it’s a good fit and then you have to talk about money (oh hell, please let the other person bring it up. it’s their hospital.  don’t make me ask.).  But it has been eye-opening.  Turns out, I know more than I thought I did.

I have been a veterinarian for 12 (TWELVE!?!?!?) years now.  I am starting to feel like I might be fairly okay at it.  (I know this is not at all reassuring to my friends who are also clients who are reading this.  But your pets have survived so far, so that’s pretty good, right?)  And this is my issue.  I totally under-value myself and my abilities.

I’m not sure if I always have, but it’s been there for as long as I can remember.  People are always complimenting me and (like my incredible mother taught me) I accept their compliment gracefully.  But in my mind I am thinking, “Yeah, but…”

Yeah, but I wasn’t sure.  Yeah, but I mess up a lot.  Yeah, but I don’t sing as well as 99% of other people here.  Yeah, but it was luck.  Yeah, but I barely finished the race.  Yeah, but I missed that diagnosis on that other patient last year.  Yeah, but I could have done better.  And that is where it lies.  Yeah, but I could have done better.

My husband looks at me like I’m crazy when I tell him that.  He reassures me and lists all the ways I am awesome (because he is a saint to live with me).  And with each bullet point, I think, “Yeah, but I could have done better.”

I have some confessions:  I almost retook the ACT in high school because I only made a 32.  I almost retook the SAT because a 1450 wasn’t good enough.  I applied to vet school because it was harder to get into than medical school.  (And people are awful.  Bleh.)  I didn’t do a half-marathon until after I did a marathon.  I don’t feel like an Ironman because it took me forever and I had to go to the medical tent.  I’m not a runner because I’m slow. I can sing kind of good, but not great.  (I don’t even have perfect pitch. I can barely sight-read.  I could never be a professional vocalist.)  I am not a great mother because I work and I let my kid watch TV more than she should.  I am not a good veterinarian because I doubt myself and I don’t always just KNOW the answer and sometimes I even get things wrong.

Seriously?  Yes.

The thing is, if someone handed me a list of all the awesome shit I have done or continue to do, I would tell them they are awesome.  I would tell them how amazing they are and how tough they must be to do all this.  I would tell them that no one is perfect and everyone doubts themselves, but that they are doing great.  Better than great.  I would tell them that everything is ok and that life is hard but good.

But as soon as they told me this was a list about me, I’d say, “Yeah, but I could have done better.”

What. The. Hell. Is. Wrong. With. Me?

I don’t think I am alone in this.  And I am aware of it (Knowing is half the battle!  Thanks, GI Joe!!) so there’s that.  But it’s not so easy to change.  It’s been with me for a long time, and I’m having trouble shaking it.  I have to go into these interviews and act like I am worth them hiring me and worth X amount of money, while I’m thinking that maybe I’m not.  Ok, maybe I’m only worth X-Z amount of money.  Maybe I wouldn’t be a benefit to your hospital.  It actually really sucks.  But, like all character building exercises, I’m sure it will be good for me.

I researched this (because I’m a nerd) and it turns out this is not uncommon.  You all probably deal with it too and think I’m just a complainer, but this is my blog so suck it.  It even has a name.  “Imposter Syndrome”  I’m just waiting for people to figure out that I have no freaking clue what I am doing (even though I mostly do, but don’t tell that to my anxiety and my overactive brain…  shhhh) Those articles I read were really interesting, but they didn’t actually tell me how to fix it.  There is probably no cure.  I’m pretty sure it’s terminal.

So I decided that I would make up my own tiny attempt at maybe slightly improving my self-esteem.  Just a tiny bit.  Kind of.  Maybe?

I am going to make a conscious effort to replace one word in my weird internal dialogue.  Instead of “Yeah, but…”  I’m really going to try for “Yeah, and…”  One little word change.  It’s not even a big word.  Three letters.  I mean, that’s what I would say to any one of you.  If you told me your achievements and said, ” …but I would have done better,” I would act like you were crazy and say, “Whatever.  You did this AND you were also dealing with this,” or “Yeah, AND you even did this.”

This may be wildly optimistic, given my track record of failed plans, but I am going to try to catch myself in the “Yeah, but” part and start saying, “Yeah, and.”  It doesn’t even have to be a positive about me.  As long as it isn’t critical about me.  “You sang beautifully.”  “Yeah, and it was such amazing music.”  “Great job on your race.”  “Yeah, and it was such a pretty day.”  “You did a good job with that case”  “Yeah, and isn’t she the cutest cat ever?” “Your resume looks great.”  “Yeah, and I’m a motherf*ckin badass rockstar!!!”  Well, maybe I won’t say that last one out loud.  But, depending on the interviewer, I might.  (And that’s probably the place I would most like to work.)

It’s a tiny change but I’m hoping for at least a little impact.  Maybe it’s about time I try to treat myself like I would treat a friend instead of treating myself like someone might treat a red-headed stepchild…

“I think you’re great”  Yeah, AND I am!    <——- that made me cringe to type.  It sounds so arrogant.  But I’m going to leave it in here.  You all are great for sure!


Stories are Powerful

I was thinking about what to write for my next blog post a few days ago. J and I had been talking about how our lives are made of such distinct chapters. I was driving along in the car by myself on a cold, rainy day, thinking about how this part of my life actually seems like a totally separate book. Thinking back a little further, it seems like the previous section was like a separate book too (different husband, different city, totally different life). Okay. So it’s a trilogy. Great, I thought. That means this is the last book. Well, that’s kind of depressing.

My daughter and I watched Maleficent a couple of weeks ago (We’re late to the party. I know. Don’t judge me.) She kept asking why everyone liked Maleficent, since she was the bad guy. Seeing as how her — and our — only point of reference for the character was the Disney movie Sleeping Beauty, we talked about perspective. We talked about how the story can change depending on who is telling it.

I went for a run tonight (Stream of consciousness is fun! Right?!) I had to make myself. I didn’t want to but it was a pretty day and it was 50 degrees and there was no rain or snow and I knew I needed to go outside. But it was getting dark. I was going to run on the main road near my house because it is well-lit and close to home and because my brain told me that was the best thing to do. So I decided to go to the Battlefield instead.

The Battlefield is a mostly wooded area (National Park) where the streets are runner and cyclist friendly, so I train there a lot. It was getting dark, but that doesn’t really bother me. I decided to do the basic 5K route I have done a million times. I am so not into training right now that a 5K is about all I can muster. My brain told me that I was going to run the 5K, no matter what. You’ll never get back into training if you don’t just do it. No stopping. You’re here to run. Suck it up and run.

About 1.5 miles into the run I heard it. One of my favorite sounds. The sound of summertime evenings in the country. The sound of peace and relaxation. The frogs. I heard them even with the music from my headphones pumped straight into my ears. I stopped. No! No. You don’t stop. Runners don’t stop. My brain was so adamant. If you don’t do it today, you won’t ever be able to do it. But another part of me said, Stop and listen to the frogs. They’re only here for a little while. They’re the sound of little me, catching lightning bugs and running barefoot. I stopped. I listened to those frogs and I looked around. I saw the deer wandering around in the fields and in the woods. I watched the squirrels run up the trees. I saw a hawk heading home for the night. I took a deep breath and things changed. I walked the rest of the 5K, headphones off, enjoying the gloaming and the air and the sounds.

Just like that, Maleficent was no longer the villain. My book was not the last of a trilogy. It’s just Book 3 of a series. (It’s probably that character building one that is hard to read and hard to get through, but really important to the storyline…)

Just. Like. That.

Sometimes I need the same lessons as a 5-year-old watching Maleficent.

The story changes depending on who is telling the story. The same is true whether it’s in an old storybook, a movie, or in my head. I have to be careful how I let my mind tell my story. I can choose to be the heroine, not the victim. I can choose to be in a comedy-fantasy-drama (think The Princess Bride), not a tragedy or a Lifetime drama.

We tell ourselves so many stories every day about how we’re not good enough or how we failed at something or how things are going to end badly or how that thing we said was SOOOOO dumb or how we made the wrong decision for our patient/our child/our life or how we’re just not good enough. Well, that’s bullshit. That narrator is really just the worst. So she’s fired.

I get to be the author of my story and it’s going to be a good one.

I Am (not) A Failure

Well, it happened. Here I was thinking that I am so mentally healthy now and I’ve finally gotten control of this whole depression thing and – WHAM – I got knocked back a few steps. Out of nowhere, those thoughts of worthlessness and hopelessness and anxiety just hit me. Everything was fine. It was great, really. Hanging out with my husband and my kid, off work, dinner with friends, mostly cleaned up house. Then there was (as my husband describes it) “a click”. Not audible, I hope, but a distinct change in my thoughts and my actions. I was cranky, I started picking fights, I stopped making eye contact. And in my head, I was only a little aware that I was doing all this. I don’t even remember it all that well. I just remember thinking, “I don’t want to be here anymore. This is all bad and it is never going to be good and it’s all my fault.” What. The. Hell? I’m fine now, so don’t worry. No need to call and check on me. I have a great husband who has had to deal with me for a while now and he’s getting better at noticing when my anxiety is showing. After many, many tears (mine) and some frustration (his) and some confusion (ours), everything calmed down in my head and I was able to go to sleep. The next day, though, I kept thinking about what a failure I was for letting myself get that far down into that hole again. Why didn’t I notice sooner? Why didn’t I try harder to stop those negative thoughts? I scared J. I scared me. It caught us both off guard just enough to shake our sense of stability. It was nothing, nothing like “The Incident”, but it was enough of a reminder of my mental state at the time to shake us both. How had I let that happen?! I had failed. Again.

Failure is my biggest fear. No one likes to fail. I am scared to fail. Terrified. As a matter of fact, I’m just waiting for everyone to figure out that I am really just a big failure who has been fooling them all this time. I lie awake worrying that I made the wrong decision for a patient, that I missed something. I worry that I’m failing as a mother. There are so many things I should be doing that I’m not. I’m not as active as I should be politically; I’m failing to make the world better. Sometimes my fear of failure keeps me from doing potentially awesome things, like auditioning for a stage performance (with speaking parts?!) or joining a chorus or karaoke or dancing with friends or even just dinner if it means having to have conversation with people I don’t know well. Because they might see me as a failure at acting or singing or dancing or conversation or being interesting.

I really have tried to push myself beyond that fear of failure. It’s getting easier (sort of) the more I fail. And I have had some doozies. Here is a tiny sampling: I was booed at a speech in high school (still not sure if that’s a fail, but it was a bit traumatic). My first marriage failed. Of course, there was “The Incident” splashed all over local and regional media. And then there were my first 2 Ironman attempts. Ugh.

My first Ironman was going to be in Cozumel in 2012. I was so dedicated to training. I ate healthy. I trained according to schedule. I lost time with my little girl to go and ride my bike for 5 hours. I was ready. But then the swim happened. I’m not a really strong swimmer, but I’m okay. The water was already choppy when we all got in to tread water until the start. The race started and things were going ok. Initially, you swim “upstream” against the pretty mild current. I started having more trouble making progress and the waves got bigger. Once I made the turn and headed “downstream”, I couldn’t see the buoys. I could see on the ocean floor that they had been dragged down the course. I followed the drag marks as best I could. A paddleboarder helped call out where the next buoy was. I was starting to get really tired and dehydrated (my tongue felt like sandpaper and about 10 times too big in my mouth) from the salt water I kept swallowing. I reached the next turn to head back “upstream”, only this time, it was like a river. The current had picked up tremendously. I held on to a life guard’s float and vomited into the water (it wasn’t too gross because it was immediately swept away by the current). I tried to swim away, but came back to throw up one more time. Then I headed toward the swim exit. Except I didn’t. I swam in place. I swam HARD in place. The paddleboarder said she would stay with me until I got out of the water. She said she had to paddle hard and continuously just to stay with me. If we stopped, we lost so much ground so quickly! I had 20 minutes left before the cut off, but I was making no headway and I started to vomit again. I waved for the boat pick me up. It was my first DNF (Did Not Finish, for you tri-newbs) I cried so hard, hanging onto the paddleboard while we waited for the boat. (Little did I know that it was taking so long because they were busy picking up 400 –FOUR HUNDRED – other swimmers who were also DNFing) I cried because I had failed. I had taken so much time to prepare for this epic thing and I had failed. I wasn’t prepared for that. I wasn’t prepared to fail.

Other swimmers in the boat tried to console me, including a 5 time Ironman finisher and former Flying Tiger. But I sobbed. I had to walk/ride my bike back to the bike transition area, past the cyclists who hadn’t failed. The volunteers were sweet but weren’t sure how I was supposed to get my bike where it needed to be. They weren’t prepared for a failure. I finally racked my bike and waited at the bike course to cheer for my husband, who had waited 40 minutes for me to get out of the water. (This alone was pretty telling. He’s a much stronger swimmer than I, but it had taken him an hour to swim that last 0.5 miles.) Then I jogged back to the hotel at the end of the marathon course to drop off all the stuff in my transition bags that I should have needed but didn’t get to use. People cheered for me, thinking I was still in the race. Thinking I was not a failure. I cried some more. I met J at the beginning of his marathon, wearing my race number, and did the marathon with him. People cheered for us, but it didn’t count for me. Because I was a failure. I was an imposter. He finished and I cheered for him because he is awesome and he never quits. I couldn’t enjoy the full beauty and fun of COZUMEL for the next few days because I had failed.

Then came Ironman Louisville. I was definitely going to do this. I couldn’t deal with failing again. I had trained and trained for the heat and the hills. I knew this race, because J had done it 2 times before. The swim was fine. Upstream and crowded for a little bit but then downstream and just fine. I rolled onto my back and smiled (which broke the seal on my goggles and made them leak for the rest of the swim, but whatever). The bike was going pretty well, but then I couldn’t choke down my nutrition. All the foods and drinks I had practiced with on all those 75, 100, 110 mile rides? Not. Going. To. Happen. I wasted a lot of time trying to get those calories into my stomach, even getting off the bike a few times. Nope. I got off the bike before the cut off, but pretty late. And I couldn’t make my body run. Those brick workouts were for naught. I had no calories and no energy. After mostly walking, I realized there was no way for me to finish in time. I met a girl who was injured and crying because she wasn’t going to finish and I made the decision to DNF. I walked in with her. We talked and I told her about my DNF in Cozumel. I reassured her that it was ok. Whether she finished or not, her friends knew she was awesome. Her husband thought she was incredible for training with all the other stuff she had on her plate. The world would go on. She would get another chance.

I paused and I heard myself. She wasn’t a failure.

This time, I only cried a little when they took my timing chip and confirmed that I was DNF-ing. I stood at that finish line and I cheered as loud as I could for those Ironmen coming into the chute. I was so proud of them. I cheered them in and got so many smiles in return. I loved each one of those sweaty, exhausted, slightly (but only temporarily) broken people as they became Ironmen that night. And I felt only somewhat of a failure.

Now removed from those failures, I can see them as they are. I failed to complete those races, but I was not a failure. I worked hard. I gave everything I could. I made it to the start lines and I pushed myself forward again and again. I got knocked back a few times. But I was not a failure.

Failing to complete something as big as an Ironman is pretty much the worst for someone as afraid of failure as I am. But it happened. And I learned. I learned that my friends love me whether I finish the Ironman or not. My family loves me even if I fail to keep it together all the time. My husband and my daughter love me even if I fail to keep anxiety and depression at bay all the time. And the rest of the world doesn’t care at all. They’re not watching me. They’re worrying about failing at whatever they’re doing.

Each time I fail, it gets easier. It still really, really sucks, but it takes less of a toll on me. Even though I failed to control my depression a few days ago, I’m not a failure. I’m a work in progress.

After all, I’m awesome, not perfect!