Monday, September 24, 2007


It's always a bad sign when I start a post and don't know the title.

It usually means I don't know where this train is going. And I don't.

I have to admit, that I've been in a bit of a bummer space recently. I blame it on Ironman, but it also could be because of other things going on in my life, too. But Ironblame seems more convenient. And less messy, since the other objects of my analysis are living and breathing and tend to dislike being part of the, well, analysis.

Here's the thing.

Ever since I came back from Wisconsin, I've been -- well, to be honest -- depressed. Not in a clinical, should-we-be-concerned, kind of way. But I have most certainly been less fun to be around and have been a grump for days on end. At first, I figured it was disappointment for the sickness in the race and having to pull. But it continued on, and started to infect how I was thinking about other things in my life. I've lost my sense of humor and joyfullness. Everything is a serious conversation with serious emotional implications. And the typically generous and supportive Mighty M has no more patience left for it. Home is tense. I am tense. Life feels tense.

And I'm not usually like this. I'm typically a silver lining, booming laughter kind of gal. Bright side of everything. Not so much nowadays.

I'm trying to whittle it down to what is "really" going on (what is that about us? that we too often prefer the convenient explanation? even when it solves little?) and two straight days of time in bed nursing a head cold have helped.

Or not.

Sometimes you can spend too much time in your own head.

But I think that this may be one of the few down sides to my Ironman experience. For so long, I've been planning for something that has dictated my time and resources, so much so that I am now left wondering what to do with myself. Not in a practical, time-management kind of way, but in a more important way.

Where do I find my hope?

So much about endeavoring to try something new like an Ironman, and the activities around it, was about finding something inspirational to look forward to, something that I could always turn my attention to and find some element of the unknown and exciting. It defined me, as well as my time and energies. I absorbed elements of the process, and felt the hope. I lived the hope. I looked forward with anticipation, I planned with glee, and I always felt a sense of the next exciting step.

And now, I find, it is hard to recreate that in normal life.

And, my inability to recreate that feeling has come to distort my normal life.

I have a great job, but one that has its bad points and can wear on the less resilient if you're not careful. I have a great relationship, but one that falls victim to my need for the "next step" in a disarming and sometimes dangerous way. I have a healthy and happy lifestyle, but I am dreading my 34th birthday next month in a startlingly stereotypical way.

I have so very much that I love, yet I've been recently bogged down with what seems to be missing. My attention and my energies have been held captive by this negative space.

And I think what I lack in the process is my next big thing. Something to hang a hat of hope on. Something to look forward to, even on days when I'm reminded of the negatives. Perhaps especially on those days.

I need some inspiration. I'm not sure yet where I will find it, but I clearly need some. Because my perspective is distorted right now and, as much as I can intellectually make the distinction, I need something to navigate my emotional life towards the future. Positively. With hope.


Krista said...

Um, I will be your inspiration. See? I can run a half marathon in under two hours. WHOA.

But I could never - ever - survive the training of an Ironman. You rule.

Keep your chin up. We all hit the bumps in the road. It'll be smooth sailing before you know it.

Besides, you're funny and I like you. SEE? Don't you feel better already?

21stCenturyMom said...

When all else fails to give me a title I turn to song. What's running through my head right now after reading your post is Jiminey Cricket singing
"You've got to accentuate the positive,
Eee-liminate - the negative,
And latch on to the affirmative,
Don't mess with Mister In-Between"

You got robbed at IM because your guts were in revolt. You still rode your bike for 56 freakin' miles. That is the stuff of legends. So you got robbed. Get mad, shake your fists at the sky and get on with it.

Think about IronMomJenny who is being robbed of the CO Relay (which she loves), the Twin Cities Marathon, AND IM FL. Her heart has decided to go into revolt. ROBBED! It sucks but it happens.

You can do whatever you want to get yourself back in gear. You've got your health. You've got your family. You've got a job.

Now go and have a nice bike ride and shake it off. Your life is waiting for you to embrace it - with a smile.

21stCenturyMom said...

ps - sorry about Momming out on you - it's what I do best, though :-)

I know it is annoying to say, "I feel like crap" and to have someone say "Quit feeling like crap!" But then again... good health is an inspiration - possibly the best inspiration an age group athlete can have.

Laurie said...

Where do I find my hope?

That is a great question. I named my blog 'I Run for Hope' for exactly that reason. Pushing myself and pushing my limits helps me find some hope and promise in my ordinary life. I don't think I fully realized it at the time I chose the name but it is so perfect now. I hope you figure out what will get you through this rough period. I am sure it will be something that stretches your limits. Be well.

Mallie said...

Maybe you shouldn't look for some "big thing" to help regain your hope. Sometimes looking to the small things that make you smile can really help. Look at what you've done for charity already and think about the next donation of time or money you can make. Little things add up, and they don't tend to be as daunting as trying to figure out the next "biggie".

DV said...

you know what gives me a real kick in the ass and makes me stop feeling sorry for myself? 2 things - driving through a housing project and walking into (or sitting in front of) a children's hospital...
May sound sappy, but sometimes inspiration needs to be forced and once it gets in you, your golden.

Donald said...

I hear you with the post-IM depression - I think it's inevitable after such a long buildup beforehand, and it's probably stronger after a DNF.

I usually give myself a few weeks of being a sloth, then I sign up for another race. That's usually enough to get me in training mode again, which tends to lift my spirits. The whole train/race/rest cycle seems to work for me.

Hang in there, and good luck.

21stCenturyMom said...

News Flash! IronMomJenny got her heart back! She found a doctor who explained things, changed her meds, scheduled her for an ablation and told her she could do Twin Cities and IM FL. See??!! - things work out sometimes. I hope knowing that gives you some hope.

Carrie said...

I don't really have inspiration ideas or advice for you. Just thought I'd add to your 'bright side' of Ironman. I was waiting at the mount area of bike transition to watch people head out onto the course and saw where your bike was racked. I looked back a second later and it was gone so I figured I missed you.

Until...your sister started running around yelling "Yayyyy! That's my sister! Goooo Jayme! Come on guys, cheer for my sister!" and we all erupted in cheers. I could actually feel how proud and excited she was for you.

Don't know if you were able to take it all in considering what happened in the water, but it was one of the coolest things I saw in my 17 hours of spectating/volunteering. Maybe you can be inspired a bit by the fact that you've inspired others (like me!) by sharing your journey.

Amy said...

Funny thing about hope is it comes when least expected and most needed. It's probably just lurking about waiting for you to stop's sneaky that way. Take care, Amy

TriTurtL said...

Wish I had some inspiring words of wisdom, but I don't. Post IM depression scares me a bit, actually, as I haven't had to live it yet. But it's coming, I know it is. I think it's normal.

Go Mom Go said...

I could not figure out why I kept walking around crying and being sad. I had completed IM Lou and I should be happy. I kept having people ask me if I was proud of what I had accomplished and I would say sure. But deep down I was not really sincere about that...I was sad. I was sad about the end of that journey.

I don't have any words that will make it all better. I did sign up for Ironman Louisville and it seemed to help to have direction again. I have a half marathon in a month that is also helping. But I do have to say I ramdomly get sad and my kids get nervous, but I am always quick with a smile or a laugh and they relax. :)

Jayme, you will be ok. I guess what I am trying to say is that you would have the same feelings even if you had finished. So DO NOT blame this on the DNF!


1HappyAthlete said...

I can relate...I've been wracking my brain for several weeks now trying to figure out what to do after ironman....and still haven't come up with any good answers yet....

I know myself well enough that I need to set a new goal once I'm about to achieve a current one....I'll let you know if I come up with something good that you may be able to brainstorm from.....

Hang in there :)

TxTriSkatemom said...

sounds like chica needs a new race to work toward. nothing as monumental as Iron again, yet, if it doesn't feel right yet, but something with an end point in mind, something you can work toward.

that, or start planning a wedding.

I'm just saying....

Meggan Ann said...

I really, really, REALLY know how you feel. I have a lot of personal things going on right now, and nothing like what you experienced at IMoo, but I am in a real funk too. I gotta find a way to get out of it . . . .

Mary Sunshine said...

C'MON JAYME, DO THE LOU! REGISTRATION IS STILL OPEN! We can get a group of bloggers and practice on the course a few times and you can build on what you already have and get the medal.

Tri Mom said...

I just found your blog. Oh, I know the feeling of the let down, and feeling out of place and just plain disconnected. How about IM Louisville? I am signed up as well. Think about it. Hang in there. Things are bound to turn for you!

Erin said...

Totally typical reaction, I think, after any big life event...and this was certainly one of those. All of the articles that I've read on "post-Ironman" mention "the letdown" as the biggest hurdle to overcome.

Are you still planning on posting your musings about that fateful day that was IM-Moo '07? Not pushing...just wondering. I, for one, am curious about your thoughts/emotions/feelings about all this both during and after. And I know, at least for me, that it often helps to write about it.

Go Mom Go said...

Jayme, I am going to ask you for I think the fifth time...why don't you sign up for Ironman Louisville? We definitely can get a training group together and ride down there. No pressure, lots of fun (ask Mary Sunshine about fun), and we can all help each other get it done! That rhymes -- ok I am a dork! :)

Come on, I won't ask again, but you know you are really considering it! :)


Fe-lady said...

I know you wrote this awhile back, and you are probably out of your funk - I hope so! But if it's any help, even those who finished the race and did quite well are probably going through some soul searching too. Whatever that's worth. IM is such a big thing, but at the same time it is really nothing, and I think it's that paradox that has many of us "caught" somewhere in the middle wondering about what they did, didn't, will and maybe do next!
THIRTY-FOUR is a great age to be...I just turned 54 today and wouldn't have things any other way! So how ya gonna handle what comes with 54 if 34 is giving you worries (WHAT worries would a 34 year old have by the way...???)
Hope you are doing better than you were on Monday! Have a great weekend!

Dying Water Buffalo said...

Ugh, don't you HATE feeling all steriotypical? I totally hear you on the age and relationship phase thing. The other day I was starting to get a little sketched to see myself envying my girlfriends who are all "settled" down and stuff, and I had to put myself in check... like- hey, self, stop being so typical.

Anyways, I can't offer much advice other than to just say I completely went through the same thing after IMLOU, and have JUST recently been getting out of it. There was a week where I literally didn't leave my apartment other than for work, and just ordered a lot of takeout.

I think the currents will shift and you will find what you need... time does tend to have that effect.