Still Reeling

Lots of thing have been happening.  Some good, some not so good.  Mostly things have been indeterminate. I have had a lot on my mind though, and haven’t been writing enough, so here I am.

Work

I’m liking my new job.  The people are pretty nice, the work is interesting so far, I’m learning a lot, and I feel good about where it looks like this job will go.  There’s a fair amount of wasted time but I think that’s normal when you start a new job.  It’s also weird to be on the customer side of the engineering industry, as opposed to the consultant side.  It’s strange to have people telling me it’s okay not to be busy all the time.  It’s also weird to be directly in charge of most aspects of my projects rather than just responsible for executing certain tasks.

I am actually feeling so good about the job that I am starting to reconsider my timetable for moving.  There are multiple factors here, and yes, one is that the woman seems to be reconsidering her timetable for moving but that isn’t the only factor or even the main factor.  I already wasn’t sure how my timetable was going to work since I don’t know how long it will take to pay off my loans. I’m feeling that it makes more sense for me to get more experience here as well.  Project management is a ball of wax that will take me a while to get to the bottom of but is going to be a major resume point for me when I start looking for jobs. I’m also in the position of having signed my lease again for another full year.  That’s really a small part because I’m pretty sure I could find someone to take over my lease or sign a new one for my apartment.  Mostly, though, it just seems to make sense to stick with this for more than a few months.  It’s a good job, good experience, with good people, and I’m learning a lot.

Training

I’m running a lot but not doing a lot of much else.  I have done some strength work, but not as much as I would really like.  I also haven’t been riding really at all.  The weather and hours of light aren’t really conducive to doing much riding, so it’s understandable in some ways.  I’m also letting my involvement with the woman interfere with my riding.  I’m not sure if that’s a wise choice.  In some ways I think it’s necessary to cultivate relationships when the opportunity exists, but in other ways I feel like I’m putting myself at risk since it’s so unclear if this thing is going anywhere.  Anyway, the point is that I’d like to be riding more but have found it difficult to make that happen. DAMN THESE LIMITED DAYLIGHT HOURS!

The running, though, is coming along.  I feel like i’m building a good base for my full marathon in the spring.  My legs are feeling pretty good after 5 miles most of the time, and my pace is creeping down in a pleasing way.  It’s crazy to think that a year ago I couldn’t really run a mile, 8 months ago I had a broken leg, and now I’m doing 5 miles and feeling pretty much completely fine.  It’s also become clear that running is really helping me to lose/keep weight off.  If I can dial up the healthy eating a little and dial back the drinking a little, I’ll be in a great spot come race time.  For the moment, though, I’m feeling okay abut things there.

In general, though, I need to start ramping back up.  That’s going to mean figuring out how I want to balance multi-sport training.  I’ll have to determine how I feel about doing a lot less riding and a lot more running.  I need to get serious about strength if this full marathon thing is going to happen injury-free. I’ll also have to decide what races I want to do early in the year next year.  I think I want to do at least 2 half ironman races next year, and I’m still considering trying for a full though I feel like it would be wise to put that off for another year in order to build base fitness and discipline with how I do workouts.  It could also help for me to have other aspects of my life a little more stable.  Full Iron training is no joke.

Personal life

I have a lot of good friends right now.  It’s been a tough road getting here but it’s good to have a support network around me. I care so much about my tri and run friends… I don’t know where I’d be without them right now.  This is something I always lacked in Texas… I never really had a great network there.  So, in that sense, my personal life is going well.

Of course there is the romantic side of my personal life as well.  The woman I’ve been seeing continues to keep me at arms length when it comes to having a more serious relationship.  At the same time, we definitely have something fairly significant going on. It’s confusing, and more than a little frustrating.  I’m a romantic at heart so I want to spend my time making someone incredibly happy and have that be reciprocated to some degree. That’s what makes me truly happy.  I’m not really getting that from this right now though.  It’s really hard to know if I’m putting myself too much at risk or if this is just how things are going to be right now with her.

She definitely likes spending time with me, but I don’t know if it’s progressing beyond that.  She’s the real deal, checks all the boxes, and she’s got “it”, in spades and if things work out, it would definitely be worth the discomfort now. I’d probably be falling for her if she’d let me.  On the other hand, I really feel pretty crappy a lot of the time.  I don’t feel like she is ever very excited about me.  She’s at least occasionally talking to other guys, and I actually think she went on a date last night.  While there are some things that make me feel positive, if I’m honest and objective, it really seems like she’s just not that into me which makes me feel pretty worthless. I find myself wanting to put the ball in her court; give her a kick in the ass to decide what she wants. That might be what she needs, and perhaps it’s also wise for me because if it ends up I’m just not the one for her, I guess it makes sense to know that sooner rather than later.  These pushy feelings are tempered by the fact that I know where she is coming from in terms of being reluctant to get into a serious relationship after a rough one.  I also know that a lasting relationship is usually one that takes a long time to build.  Furthermore, I feel like the more time we spend together, the better chances are in the long run.

The fact that I can’t stop thinking about it is actually the worst part. Stressing obviously never improves any situation.  I just want to be at ease, and it’s not like I’ve ever been good at telling what women think anyway, so there’s little point in mulling over it.  I just don’t know, and I hate that I’m sort of obsessive about it.  That’s the worst part by far.  I’m not good with instability.

I have had little interest from other women, and they haven’t had great potential anyway.  I went out a couple times with an attractive redhead but that blew up when she insisted on being exclusive just a few days after we met. I couldn’t be on board because I barely knew her and obviously I have something else going on. I wasn’t going to lie to her and say “sure, we can be exclusive”.  I don’t lie about that. I can’t be that bothered though; there were a fair number of other red-flags with her anyway.  But it still sucks to get ditched by someone at least somewhat interesting.  I’ve been stood up or ghosted a couple times in the last few months too but that hasn’t bothered me that much because my heart isn’t really in it… I mean, I really don’t want to be playing the field. Dating sucks. I’d prefer something stable with the main woman and not be talking to other people but her distance means I have to keep trying, if only to protect myself a little.

There’s one other… maybe possibility… but we’re already probably too close for things to be playful and casual so if anything was going to happen, it would probably have to be pretty serious from the start. But anyway, I don’t even know how attracted I am to her.  Not because she’s not attractive… I just have a hard time thinking about her in that way because I don’t hit on women in the groups I spend a lot of time with.  I wouldn’t want to make things weird.

All I know is that I’m tired of feeling like crap and I really wish that triathlon had helped me find the emotional stability I expected it would. I’m still reeling from that unfortunate discovery.  I just want to be happy and satisfied most of the time. I fixed the job situation which means the money situation is coming back together.  I’m doing well socially outside of romantic relationships and I’m making at least some progress on my athletic goals.  It’d be great if this part of my life could just fall in line for a while too.

The darkness remains.  It hurts to care. I want more but I can’t control what happens.  I want to control my attitude at least, but I’m just not having any luck with that.

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Drinking in the Stillness

With each exhalation, vapor sparkles and swirls around my face before disappearing into nothingness. There’s a quiet so deep that it becomes a a physical object; it surrounds me completely; presses against me, and compels me to tiptoe and breathe as softly as possible. It’s nighttime. I can feel the dampness from recent rain making the cold penetrate just a little more. Fall rain means that for the next few months the soil will be perpetually damp when not frozen. The perfectly still air doesn’t knife me with chill so much as it pricks and drains heat away in a slow, covert and sinister process, like an unseen needle draining the body of blood. 

I settle as quietly as possible on a stump surrounded by old growth trees, naked in the waning moonlight. I slip my hand into my coat pocket and produce a small metal flask. Moonlight glints off the polished surfaces as I unscrew the cap. The dead silence is shattered by the small clank of the hinged lid as it hits the vessel of the flask, but reassembles as rapidly as it disintegrated and surrounds me once again. The smoky, sweet flavor of the liquor swirls in my mouth and is quickly cut by the harshness of the alcohol. My swallow sounds like a freight train in the silent darkness that envelopes me. A sharp smile-grimace steals across my face for an instant as I take a breath, processing the burn of the whiskey. It trickles down my throat and into my stomach, warming me from the inside. I exhale and watch the whisps of vapor again swirl and dance before disappearing. The warmth from the whiskey seeps outward from my stomach, working it’s way down my limbs and percolating into my head. I take another small sip, and grimace a bit less this time. It fortifies me against the damp cold seeping through my jeans from the mossy, aged stump on which I reside. I exhale. Sparkles swirl again in the moonlight. Silence presses back in.
I take another long pull from the flask and replace the cap as quietly as possible. I dare not disturb the stillness more than I already have. My face begins to feel warm. Frost twinkles on every surface around me, as if some unseen hand has sprinkled diamond dust throughout the woods. I survey the patterns of swirls in my breath as time slides silently forward. Minutes pass by in an instant, and seconds seem to take hours. My mind is now occupied only by the rhythmic appearance of my breath and the dull warmth afforded by the brown liquid within the flask. I begin to absorb the calm stillness that surrounds me. I begin to disappear. 

The Off-Season

The off-season is underway now.  The days are getting shorter and the weather is cooling off.  Fall is setting in.  The colors are changing, the styles are changing, the mood is changing.  It’s going into the hard part of the year for me.  It’s going into the part of the year where everything seems to find a way of falling apart. MY traditional ‘off-season’ is starting too.

I’m looking down the barrel of a loaded gun.  I’m standing on a powder keg.  I’m sailing directly at the heart of a massive storm.  I’m watching a bad moon rise… Are there any more cliches I can use?

The fact is, at the moment I have lost the focus on myself, and at the worst possible time of year.  I have had a lot of good things happening for me lately.  Me and my family have been pretty healthy, I have a new job, had a great trip, improved some friendships, I’m managing my weight and drinking fairly well, and I’m feeling good more than I am feeling bad. But this is a trap.  The memories of my past ‘off-seasons’ loom large as does the awareness that I’ve lost the training focus I had, lost some of the focus on personal and professional development, and most frighteningly, I’ve lost my inward focus on mental health.

I’m not training for a specific race, which means I’m being less disciplined with my exercise routine.  The weather makes this a little more difficult, since shorter days are less conducive to evening rides, and the particularly cold last several days have discouraged me from riding at all.  I had that big gap where I did almost nothing while I was on my trip.  It’s been hard to find motivation to put in the time. I guess this is part of the off-season for everyone in triathlon or any endurance sport, but it’s very dangerous for me.  Especially as I see myself spending more time catering to the lady.  And even more so because I remain so uncertain about her actual feelings towards me.  But I’ll get to that later maybe.  But to the point, not having a specific race training program in place is leaving me with less structure than I think is good for me.  It’s leaving me unmotivated, with more free time, and less endorphin buffer against the darkness.

I’m the least concerned about having lost focus on my professional development, though the lack of personal development progress does concern me.  I have a new job, so it makes sense that things will calm down on this front.  Stepping up into a project manager role is going to be a big change once I start actually doing stuff.  A lot more responsibility.  On the personal side, though, I am not any closer to being able to fabricate steel bikes, or having a more solid long-term career plan.  I also just feel like I’m sort of stagnating in terms of developing myself… I FEEL that way, but when I look at my development over the past year or so, it’s dumb to expect things to continue at that rate.  There’s got to be an off-season for personal and professional development too, right?

So the big thing is that I’ve lost focus on myself, and my mental health with it. There are a multitude of rational, and questionable reasons for this. Some of the loss of focus on mental health and self is tied in with the training. Some of it is just because it’s exhausting to fight my natural thought processes and maybe I need a break… maybe I NEED an off-season to let my brain rest and then come back and do better next season. The lady is part of it too.

Training has always been the biggest part of how I deal with the darkness. I know what I am doing when I’m training.  I know my job is to execute the workout, and that my feelings about anything else, and even my feelings about the workout are really irrelevant.  Training is a refuge from emotions that cloud so much of the rest of my life.  It’s also an identity, and I struggle with identity a lot of the time.  Knowing not just what I’m doing but who I am and what people like me are supposed to do is a huge help. In the spring, I was a triathlete in training. I’m not sure what I am right now.  This is the first time I’ve been a triathlete in the off-season.

The major issue is the lady. I like her. and I like her enough that if/when things break off, I’ll be pretty upset for a while, which really scares me since I have such consistency with relationships blowing up in november/december.  I’m having more trouble lately with redirecting my thoughts from her to other, more productive, self-oriented things.

I’ve truncated this post because I never got to finish writing it before things changed.

Realizations

It’s been a while since I wrote anything.  This will not be a fun, or inspirational post to read. Luckily, I write this for me.

It’s been a hard month.  The last I wrote was the beginning of last month when shit was really hitting the fan for me.  Since then it has been a roller coaster ride.  Lots of highs, a few lows, lots of fun, some scary spots… But just like at the end of a roller coaster, I feel like I’m back where I started.

Things with the woman are in an uncomfortable holding pattern.  She’s being a little distant, in an understandable way.  I’m wishing I could get a little clarity but know I can’t without coming off as over-invested or pushing for things to get serious.  Neither of those is my intent. I would be okay with things getting more serious, but I know it will take time.  That’s fine. I just basically want to know I’m not wasting my time if she’s sure they will not get serious but that’s a speculative question, and I hate speculative questions.

The bigger problem is that I’m struggling to come to grips with the beginning-of-September realization that I’m just very lonely.  I don’t know if there is a way to accept that.  I don’t know if there is a way to fix that.  I don’t know if accepting it will require fixing it, or vice versa.  The main thing I know is it sucks.

I really thought that taking on triathlon and spending a lot of time focusing on myself was going to resolve some of my insecurities and give me some more stability when it came to women.  I guess in some ways it has helped with some of my insecurities, but not the ones that needed help.  I already thought I was a good, smart, capable person.  Reinforcing that is great, but it’s not getting me anywhere productive. It’s not a pleasant realization that I haven’t drawn much additional long-term peace from it.

While I was in Colorado, I realized that I really still do want to be out there.  It’s a place that is filled with the kinds of activities that I love to take part in, and people that love to do them.  It’s a complicated situation though, because just prior to, and while I was out there, I realized I also have an incredible support network here in Cincinnati.  I mean obviously being close to mom and dad is great in a lot of ways, but the crew that I run with and a few of the folks from the tri club… they are the kinds of friends that I lacked in Houston. They are the safe place I think I needed. I’m not sure how quickly, or if I would find another crew of friends anything like them out in CO.  Ultimately, I think it’s the right thing to move out there when I get things paid off, but it’s not going to be easy to leave.

Colorado was incredibly beautiful and I felt mostly at peace out there.  I think that’s to be expected though, when you are on vacation.  I saw some amazing things.  The San Juan Mountains and Black Canyon take the cake.  Both left me speechless.  The changing aspens were an unbelievable and unexpected treat as well.  Having the woman come out for a spell was also obviously fabulous.  She had a great time, and we had a great time together.  In some ways, I think that should placate some of my uneasiness, but in other ways, the inconsistent behavior over the past month has only made it worse. In spite of that, and some difficulties with my original travel companion, it was an incredible trip.  I think as it drew to a close, I realized that expecting big changes from things like undertaking triathlon, or going on a 3 week walkabout is foolish.

I have realized that despite the good feelings I got during training over the past year, I’m not sure if I want and am ready to invest the time and effort for a full iron distance triathlon this coming year.  I won’t have the flexible schedule with the new job I’m taking, and with a move planned, that’s sure to throw a wrench into any training plan I have.  I’m also just not sure I want to be that dedicated to it. Ultimately, I know I can’t afford to sign up till at least probably February anyway, so it’s not a problem just yet.

I’m realizing that I’m on a low…. I think I’m handling it a little better than I used to be able to, though it’s really day-to-day, and I can’t form an objective opinion about it anyway, since I’m so affected by it. I haven’t gotten much of any lasting peace of mind from my trip.  This is partly because I want to feel comfortable with where things are with the woman, partly because it’s just not possible for events or experiences to single-handedly change the outlook of my life. I can’t permanently extract myself from my emotions just by going somewhere or doing something.

The Second Part (Jackson Browne and Mike Tyson)

This is the second part. It’s the scary, disjointed part.

I once wrote that most endurance athletes are running from something.   I don’t think that’s changed.  I wasn’t sure then, and I remain unsure of whether many of us can ever escape the things we are running from.  I’ve been running for a long time now, but the last few days have made it clear I’m not building a gap.  And the last 24 hours has made me terrified of what I’m running from.  How can you escape from something that’s inside you?

I want to believe depression and this current downswing isn’t really about a woman.  I want to believe it’s more about thinking I had finally built some immunity to romantic uncertainty and that I’d re-focused my life on myself and my personal goals, but that the addition of goals and achievements hasn’t worked the way I wanted it to.  That for all my work to escape, my shadow still haunts me.

When I read that, I realize that what I am saying is that I want it to not be about being lonely, but that it’s about being lonely.

That’s incredibly difficult and scary.  And it might not even be completely right.  And even if it is, it doesn’t change anything.  How can you ever run away from loneliness?  How can you ever show it to someone?  How can I be the funny, happy person I love being for everyone if I admit that I’m afraid of a terrible loneliness that I have almost no control over, and that no matter how many good friends I have, and how much I make people laugh, that feeling won’t completely go away? How can you be surrounded by people, smiling and laughing, and also feel so alone?

There’s a Jackson Browne song, ‘Fountain of Sorrow’, that has been on my mind lately.  My dad talked about hearing this song in his late 20’s and that it hit him so hard he didn’t know what to do.  “Man, that line… ‘you’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight’.  I was 29 and I knew it was me.  I spent my 20’s running from something that I could never get away from.  The steps are hollow because you can’t get away from what’s inside you.”

He never talked about the 4 lines before that though.  Mabye his depression wasn’t from loneliness.

“There’s this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You’ve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight”

That loneliness comes from within.  You can do all this shit and try to learn all this stuff, but half the time you are only believing something because you want to.  And you can think you have it figured out or are making progress or whatever but then something happens and that loneliness springs back out.  It’s there… maybe it’s covered up by that pool of other feelings and distractions, but it’s going to come back.

The rest of the song has lots of other meaning in there.  It’s an incredible song about loss, and learning, and being grateful for someone’s grace.  I can’t get into all of it right now… maybe for another day.

But man, I’m 30, and something just…. I know that’s me.  Tyson said “Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth.” and man, that song and the last few days have just hit me in the mouth with some truth that I’ve been trying to avoid or thinking I could overcome.  I had this plan of how tri was going to change things.  But there’s this loneliness. And the footsteps I hear, they’re my own.  And I’m not getting further from that fountain. I can’t swim, bike, and run away from feeling alone.  And shit… I don’t know man. I don’t know.

Right now, I guess I just need to keep riding through the dark.

The First Part

This writing started differently than it has turned out.  There are two separate systems of feelings I’m struggling with in this moment, and as much as I want one to explain the other, I can’t make that happen.  So there are two separate writings.

I’m frustrated that the things that should matter the most to me are being overshadowed, in their moment of importance, by things that should be and will eventually become trivial.  A little less than nine months ago I lost Buddy, my best friend, most loyal companion, and wisest teacher.  In that time I was stricken with profound grief as would be expected.  I was lost in ways I didn’t and still don’t understand.  But I was also frustrated by a woman.  She’s a perfectly fine person, and we had a meaningful relationship, such as it was, but she didn’t have anywhere near the significance to me that Buddy did.  To have been distracted from my feelings about Buddy in that moment by feelings about a woman felt bad, and still does.  To be distracted by (possibly unfounded!) feelings about a woman in THIS moment, where I have just accomplished a major personal athletic goal, landed a very promising new job, and am about to embark on an extraordinary trip, feels bad in a very similar way.

It’s okay to feel bad about relationships.  It’s normal to be bummed about even fleeting relationships coming to an end.  It’s okay to be anxious when unsure how things will unfold with relationships.  It doesn’t feel okay to be distracted by these things in the face of what should be more significant events.  I just want the things that really matter, to really matter, and the things that shouldn’t matter to stop consuming my consciousness.  This is a neurosis, not a psychosis.  I’m aware that my anxiety and the darkness that surrounds me is irrational.  But that doesn’t turn the lights on.

Fignon, Flaubert, and Victories that Don’t Feel as Good as they Should

fignon podium

Laurent Fignon (above, left) spoke of his loss by 8 seconds to Greg LeMond (above, right) in the 1989 Tour de France:

“How could I have allowed it to happen?”….”It was the only thing in my head. There was no flavour in anything I ate. Just moving felt like an effort. It was like being in a coma. ‘Watch out for sorrow, it’s a bad habit,’ wrote Flaubert.”

I raced 2 days ago and it was about as close to perfect as I could have hoped for.  I think anyone who races would always like to be faster than they are, but we also know when we turn in our best effort.  Sunday was really my best effort.  I kept my head down, never cracked, and pushed out a lot of power the whole time.  I drilled my 19mph average that I was hoping for on the bike, and I was only about a minute off of my super-ideal 10k time and put down a new personal record of 1:03:06.  Overall I finished in 3:01:44 and my goal had been 3:05:00. Not only that, but I was 20th overall out of about 76 on the bike, which is fairly satisfying since it wasn’t quite perfect, but still put me the top 27% of athletes. So, a big success.  Plus, social, career, and travel developments. Why does it feel so empty though?  It’s nowhere near like I lost the greatest sporting event in the world by 8 seconds to a rival whom I out rode.  So why do Fignon’s words feel so piercing?

Things have been going kind of well lately.  There have been some hiccups socially and I feel like I perhaps willingly followed a path (person) I knew would probably lead nowhere, but I navigated that without making myself too emotionally vulnerable in the end.  I’ve been good with training and although I’ve spent a lot of the last month pretty exhausted, it’s paying off with my performance and that feels good.  I’ve also just recently had some good things going in terms of dating too.  I’ve met a couple of women who are interesting and funny, which, of course, will be discussed further below.  Generally, though, I have been feeling like overall my social life is almost… satisfying, which is weird for me to be able to say.

I also got some fantastic news that I will be getting a job offer soon.  Major win!  It’s a good job, with great benefits and I’m at my wit’s end in my current company.  I really think I’m going to be a lot happier in the new position than I am here where I’m part time so don’t make enough, and am struggling to make ends meet while still feeling over-worked and underappreciated.  I don’t expect the new digs to be all rainbows, but a change of scenery, getting away from the soul-crushing nature of mega-corporate life, and moving into an atmosphere that at least seems much more friendly will be good for me.  There will be some challenges, as I am stepping into the role of Project Manager, but in many ways, it’s time for me to take a step up and forward with my career so that’s okay.

I’m planning a 3 week long trip.  I’ll be in New York at my sister’s farm for a week, where I’ll be getting paid to help out with various tasks around the place and hopefully getting in some bike rides and just generally refreshing myself physically and mentally.  After that I will be spending two weeks in Colorado just experiencing all it has to offer.  I’m going out there with this woman my best friend and her sister tried to set me up with.  There’s been no spark, though, which is fine, and I’m not really anticipating anything happening.  Really, I’m not even thinking about that because aside from romantic focus being elsewhere, what this trip is all about is spending 2 whole weeks seeing incredible sunsets and sunrises, hiking glaciers and seldom-traveled trails, riding bikes, rafting, seeing a few old friends, and building incredible new memories.  Those mountains call deeply to my soul and I knew they would (and am now counting on them to) refresh my spirit and zest for life.

So, I have a great race, my social life seems to be a positive, I have a new job to look forward to, and I have an incredibly rad trip on the horizon.  I still feel like shit.  If you know me, you know why.  I rode a wave for too long and forgot that you have to prepare for the wash.

Flaubert also wrote, “One must always hope when one is desperate, and doubt when one hopes.”

She’s one of the first women I’ve met in a long time that has real potential.  We hit it off.  We ended up spending a lot of time together last week.  I allowed myself too much hope, too little doubt.  And then, she cooled.  It is as simple as that. I don’t “love” her, I barely know her, though I do like her.  I have little time invested.  And she has actually only cooled a little, not frozen.  There is reason to believe things will turn around. BUT, one would think that by this time in my life I would be able to guard against a crash in situations like these; that I would know enough to doubt when I hope. Furthermore, one of the big reasons for diving into triathlon was to become stronger mentally and emotionally as well as physically.  So why am I sliding hard into the darkness, especially when I have all this other good stuff going on?

Flaubert says “Watch out for sorrow, it is a bad habit.”  True enough, but he also says “One can be the master of what one does, but never of what one feels.”

Maybe actually I am I down on post race blues?… I thought I would have at least a few days of runners high to live on.
Am I just over-worked and maybe burnt out?… It really has been a hard training block without much extended rest.
Am I over-reacting to her changes in behavior and all will be well?… Unfortunately, I rarely read these kinds of things wrongly.
Is panic because I have no near-term race goals a significant part of it?….. It’s only been a day since my race. It is time for rest and recovery.  Plus, I have other plans.

Am I actually just fearful that I’ve failed to re-focus my mind on self-sustainable happiness?… Sadly this is inescapably part of it.

Consciously, I know that I have done great things, and have more great things ahead.  I know that whatever misfortune that might befall me will be swept away with the dust of time and that only the triumphs will remain.  I know that I have achieved, in just 9 months, a massive transformation of body, accomplishment of goals, and change in life direction.  This should be a time where I hold my head high, where I puff my chest out, celebrate my successes and do my finest LeMond.

And yet, I am NOT LeMond, smiling for the press, world at my fingertips, filled with joy.  I am Laurent, eyes open but empty, present in body but absent in mind, dejected despite my nearness to the epitome of achievement.  I do not taste the flavor of anything I eat.  Moving is a chore.  It’s as if I am in a coma.  How could this have happened?

For me, the darkness just never seems to be very far away though I have worked so hard to distance it.