Life in the Fast Lane


From Sprinting to Slowing Down

By 4:27 PM , , , , , , ,

Nothing makes you take stock of your life quite like your health. I feel that in many other aspects of one's life, to a certain extent, you can control somehow their outcome: relationships, education, career, finances, interests, etc.

However, when it comes to your health, you really don't know what can/will happen to you. Some eat healthy, work out like crazy, and still get diagnosed with a terminal illness. On the other hand, others manage to live an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle all the way 'til their 90's. You really can't tell.

As for me, for the longest time, sports have somehow defined me as a person. While I was never a pro athlete, neither was I "beast mode" enough to be a consistent podium finisher, my world always revolved around sports to some extent. From swimming competitively for 10 years as a child all the way 'til high school, to discovering running and cycling as an adult, and later on, combining all three in succession in the form of triathlon, I've pretty much eaten, slept, and breathed these sports for many years now.

One random afternoon of doing sprints.

I've gotten used to a weekly routine that consists of waking up early 2-3 times a week on weekdays for quick training sessions before work, and sacrificing both weekend mornings for longer training sessions or races. Most of my social circles these days involve people from this world; same goes for those I follow on social media.

You could say that I have been a "go, go, go" kind of person in recent years. As if my life has been some kind of a sprint wherein I've had to find a way to juggle my family, my work, my faith, my passions/pursuits, my time with people close to my heart, and other aspects of my life in whatever way I could manage.

However, I am currently in this place where I have had to put my triathlon life on hold — doctor's orders — while my body sorts itself out on a hormonal level. I had never realized until this year just how complicated and interconnected our bodily functions are. What started as a thyroid problem earlier in the year spun into something that managed to affect my menstrual cycle.

Without going into too many details, I am currently under medication to stabilize my hormones, and my body will go through some adjustment period for the next 2-3 months. While this is happening, I am currently experiencing a range of side effects: bloating, mood swings, very particular food cravings only to be followed by a loss of appetite, and at times, lethargy.

I'll be honest: after 5 years of regular workouts and planning an entire year built around scheduled races, it feels really weird not to be doing anything physical. Sometimes I have to think twice about whether or not I should eat something because I am fully aware that my body isn't burning calories the way it always used to. Other times, I feel really bad because I see my friends and teammates training and joining races and here I am not doing what they're doing.

I know my current situation isn't a dead end (I hadn't realized how many women out there are actually going through something similar), and neither is it actually serious enough for me to feel this bad about it; in fact, some people might even think I'm being incredibly overdramatic. Truth be told, if I heard someone tell me this, I'd even agree with them.

But this is where my faith comes in: I know God is putting me through all of this for a reason. 

I have slowly and painfully come to the realization that while I've always known that He was my Savior and my Master, while I've had a personal relationship with Him for many years now, and while I have claimed to have placed my trust in Him for many aspects of my life, I actually hadn’t fully surrendered myself — and when I say “myself”, I mean my body — to the Lord. Instead, I have placed demands on Him, always in the hopes of getting better soon so that I could do the things that I wanted, just like everyone else. Admittedly, I have had a shallow kind of faith in that I would claim healing, but always because of what I wanted for myself, not for what He wanted for me.

I've since started to pray more purposefully, now surrendering to whatever His will is.

While I'm currently in this period of "inactivity", I’ve actually realized that even if I do miss being part of the tri world I've inhabited for many years, I don’t feel as guilty as I used to for missing out.

Rediscovering my love for photography.

Because I now have a different mindset.

I know now that even if working out and racing are technically “good things”, and while it is admirable to engage in a lifestyle of fitness and health, they cannot and should not ever take the place of God in my life. I’ve realized that I don’t have full control over my body and over what it can or cannot do. I’ve also realized that I shouldn’t be rationalizing that my being fit or strong is for God’s glory when, deep inside, it was actually more about me reveling in the temporary high or rush that comes with working up a sweat or crossing a finish line.

Now, I am simply praying to be healthier, to be more whole as a person. When the time comes that God will allow me to healthy enough to do manageable workouts in a week and race every now and then, then praise be to Him. But while I've been asked to slow down and try less strenuous activities, praise be to Him for all the things I'm learning and even for my other passions that I've rediscovered along the way. I am also more appreciative now of the time I have for simple things like catching up on my favorite TV series (and watching new ones!), and getting to enjoy a leisurely breakfast on weekends.

I am looking forward to getting back on track, but slowing down isn't so bad, I have to say. 

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