Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. ~William James

Monday, August 9, 2010

Done for the Week: Clearing Another Hurdle

Another difficult week.  But things are beginning to turn around.  I have now had two nights of reasonable sleep, after two weeks of insomnia resulting from the same medication adjustments that brought me a prolonged bout of über anxiety.  And trust me, everything looks better on sleep.  I surprised myself putting together this list of what got done last week, given where my head was at, and where it wasn't!

Done List--Week of Aug. 2-8
  1. Finished Week 12 of revised 14-week Sprint Triathlon training plan--2 weeks to go!
  2. Began Open Water Swim Clinic
  3. Attended triathlon prep camp
  4. Made final adjustments to gear, supplies
  5. Finished Noah's Compass, by Anne Tyler
  6. Struggled with intense anxiety due to medication change--prevailed, with my family's support
  7. Saw my doctor about blood pressure
  8. Continued significant support to transitioning nonprofit organization
  9. Worked my two part-time jobs
  10. Published 5 blog posts
  11. Meditated 4 times
  12. Wrote 3 Gratitude Journal entries
  13. Wrote 1 Morning Page
  14. Continued cleaning campaign
  15. Continued mini yoga practice 
  16. Attended 2 yoga classes
  17. Got new screen door--with doggie door--installed
  18. Continued reading Elizabeth George's In the Presence of the Enemy aloud with my husband
  19. Got two decent nights of sleep, after battling insomnia for two weeks
In green above are accomplishments related to last week's focus goal and my current obsession, preparing for the triathlon in two weeks.  The race, sponsored by Danskin with proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, has this motto:  "The Woman who starts the Race is not the same Woman who finishes the Race." I want that transformation.  I am learning, though, that we meet our best and our worst selves on the journey there.  My most potent demons are fear and the self-limitation it "inspires," obsessive tendencies, being relaxation-challenged, and an unrealistic desire to excel.  My better, more functional qualities that are serving me well are determination, compassion for myself and all the other women who are scared to death but will show up anyway, and a growing courage to match the fear.  I am also pretty dogged and resourceful when it comes to problem-solving.  My focus goal for the next two weeks will remain the completion of this "Outward Bound"-type venture.  

In red, and related to tri preparation, as well as to sanity and survival, is my week's most important achievement--getting two decent nights of sleep.  About mid-week, this began to seem like the impossible dream, as each night saw me waking after a couple of hours of sleep to hours of struggle.  As I padded to the bathroom, to the kitchen, and back to my makeshift bed where I wouldn't disturb my husband and my dog with my night wars, I despaired of sleeping normally in time to recover for the race.  On Saturday morning, I "rose" at 5 a.m. (having been awake since midnight) and left for the prep camp, where I would bike for 12 mi., do an open water swim, and bike the 5K running course--all on 3 hours of sleep, on top of a major sleep deficit from nearly two weeks of killer insomnia.  The good news is, I slept 6 hours that night, after a 2 hour nap on returning from the camp.  And last night, I slept a much-needed 8 hours.  I'm hopeful that this is a corner turned.

As I begin another week of this quest, I want to acknowledge my family's patience and support, and thank my husband for the flowers and the meals, my grandson for the laughs and the hugs, my daughter for her triathlon example in the face of her own health challenges,  my dog for his unceasing affection (even if it is a little wet at times), my sons for the love and their distracting demands, my sister for her encouragement and her humor, my meditation "homies" for their steadiness, and my friends for their faith.  If this sounds like an Oscar acceptance speech, consider that I don't expect to stand on any podiums when all is said and done.  In fact, I learned a new term this week--DFL, which stands for "dead last," as in "Do you know what we call the person who finishes DFL? A triathlete."  So I am renewing my original goal of finishing the race--my race--in the time it takes me.  And being humble and proud enough to live with that.

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