Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How triathlon saved my life...really

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how lucky I am. Lucky in a lot of ways, but lucky to be alive. And lucky that I have found an outlet and have turned my life around.

In the early 2000's I was still a closeted lesbian and incredibly depressed. Occasionally I used running to ward off evil thoughts, but followed a hard run with a glass or bottle of wine and a lot of crying. In the summer of 2001 my life hit rock bottom. Around the same time a close friend told me to see a therapist and I found the 2001 Tanqueray AIDS Ride from NY to Boston. I bought a rode bike and started therapy. I rode my heart out that summer and cried my heart out in therapy. By the end of the ride I was a new person. Ok so therapy helped a lot, BUT I found a way to deal with my emotions and frustrations. I had yet to unveil the true strong unstoppable Kristi.

I've had periods of fitness and destructive behavior, sometimes simultaneously, in these last ten years. The times when I regularly ran coincided with happier times. I knew this, but could not quite get meld training into my life.

In 2007 I made the decision to get back in shape and run the 2008 Boston Marathon. That following summer I did two sprint tri's and my first Olympic. It was this summer where I feel back in love with triathlon. It was also that summer that my heart was broken. This time, however, I swam, rode, and ran harder every time I felt the least bit sad. I started choosing tea over beer and a banana over a pie. Towards the end of that year there were hints of uber Kristi.

In 2009 I trained for a completed my first half Ironman, 70.3 miles, I unveiled my true self. I swam, rode, and ran out every last negative thought and emotion. I replaced negative with positive, despair with joy. When I needed to solve a problem or deal with an unruly patient, coworker, family member, friend, or roommate I would hop in the pool, my bike, or grab my shoes and just go. 9 times out of 10 I return a happy Kristi. I found self confidence that carries over into my work, friendships, romantic relationships, and family.

Sure I still drink every now and then and don't always eat impeccably. But I am healthy, happy, and prosperous. I am more patient and calm. I look to my days and future with glee. Even though my life is not perfect. I find perfection and imperfection with my training and racing. When I look back at the last decade I see crucial crossroads that could have sent me down a very dark scary road.

Above all triathlon and running unraveled a strong condfident person that had gotten lost. I was reminded that I can do anything I set my mind to. This year that will be a full ironman. Even if that means giving up beer, sleep, and cookies every now and then.

1 comment:

  1. You are simply amazing sister! I love you and am so proud of you ... Also so glad that upu found a healthy outlet as I cannot fathom the alternative.