I wish that I were an artist so I could paint this picture that is in my head. It whirls and twirls across the canvas. Some lines shoot straight out, heading up, down, sideways, or from corner to corner. Others meander, sometimes picking up speed and looping back over themselves again and again. Some just form roller-coaster like hills across the canvas. There are a million colors but no direction to this painting. It is a painting of my mental state since I completed the Beach to Battleship Ironman in October.
This is not the mind painting I had imagined for myself before the event. For months leading up the event, the lines in my painting were straight and heading all in one direction straight to the center of the canvas, right towards the goal.
With the goal removed the lines had no place to go and I found myself wandering – planning and re-planning, working and not working.
I have been in endurance sports long enough to have expected this, but Beach to Battleship was different. The goal was bigger than just a race. I had built it up. It would define me. I would no longer be a quitter. I would be a finisher. I would be an Ironman.
I met my target, but since it had been placed firmly in the center of that canvas for years, my lines now have to wear to aim. What’s next? I wrote something about what’s next months ago, but I had no idea what I was talking about. Instead, my mind whirled and twirled and I found myself feeling off balance, out of control.
Luckily, I have a very smart coach and a week ago, he stopped the spinning.
“Let’s not do the marathon,” Jeff suggested, “Let’s just plan on the half.”
For days my mind sat idle, not knowing where to go from here. I can do a half marathon in my sleep. This goal means little to nothing to me. It is just a race. Should that bother me? Because as I sat there last week I realized it didn’t. Not having a target for now is okay. Not having a target will not be the end of the world. Being there at the end to support my sister is enough. I can do that.
But still I sat. What’s next? What’s next? What’s next?
Today I woke up and knew what was next. Fun. No plan, no goal, no timeline. Just fun. I rode my bike on the trainer today. I will do something else tomorrow. What? I don’t know. Maybe take Brian’s Clubbin’ Cardio Class, maybe a swim, maybe a run. Who knows? Thirteen miles I can cover without writing down every minute, bargaining out my time. I can do that and still enjoy the next few weeks.
I know I will eventually have to go back to a goal because that is how I perform the best. It is how my life progresses the best. But for now I am okay with a new painting – one in which balloons full of paint are thrown helter skelter against the canvas, one with no target painted firmly in the middle, one with no rhyme and definitely no reason. I do wish I were an artist.