Monday, September 2, 2013

The truth hurts ...

This is typical.

I just posted a rather long entry figuring I would not have much to say for a week or two, but ...

I have mentioned some of this, or possibly most of this ... but not in detail, and not completely truthfully.  To get to where we are I must repeat a bit of history.

*** 1982  ***

I was watching some strange event from Hawaii ... a triathlon.  I don't recall who exactly was watching it with me, but I do remember the negative, derogatory comments about people trying to exceed limits, low self esteem, dangerous health issues, and yada yada ... but I was enthralled.  The longer I watched the more I became consumed with the idea of competing in this bizarre event.

ABC focused on the leaders.

For part of the race the women's leader was Julie Moss.  She was a cute college student who was outpacing the athletes who had trained for the event ... the proverbial underdog.

I was excited for her ... I was rooting for her.  Then she began to slow down ... she stumbled and fell, but she did not give up ... she crawled toward the finish line.  While she was crawling she was passed and did not win the women's division.

I wanted to cry.

I wanted to cry, but I couldn't because I was supposed to be a boy ... a young man.

By the end of the day I added an item to my list of secrets ... I was going to train for and finish an ironman triathlon.

Julie Moss finish

*****

The late 80s were a difficult and stressful time for me and Pam.  We had suffered the loss of our 3 month old baby Rusty in 1989.  We then reveled in the birth of our son Timmy in 1990.  We spent the better part of a year on edge and nervous fearing that our precious angel would be ripped from our arms again.

I imploded ... I just didn't realize it.

*** 1999 ***

While Timmy was playing in his room, I stumbled across the ironman on television.  I hadn't watched the ironman since ... since ...

I could not remember the last time I watched it ... and I wasn't going to watch it today either, but I could not manage to press the button on the remote.

I mean seriously ... the first minute of the show was devoted to a guy with cerebral palsy.  He's not even an athlete ... but I couldn't turn it off.  Like in 1982, the more I watched the more enthralled I became.

I soon realized that the story of the father running with his disabled son was less a story of athleticism and more a story of unconditional love and acceptance ... But what an athlete Dick Hoyt is.  It is demanding enough to complete an ironman triathlon ... he has completed many while towing or pushing his son.

Tears began streaming down my face ... but not for team Hoyt.

I realized that I had abandoned a life goal ... to finish an ironman.  And it was becoming clear to me that I had been self destructive over the past decade.

Team Hoyt 1999

Since that time I have belonged to several online groups and forums with the goal of completing an ironman.  I made many friends along the way ... I have drifted apart from most of them, but feel very fortunate for the few who remain in my life.

Over the years they have been very encouraging and supportive in my endeavors.

When I trained for a simple 10K I received a plethora of advice ... I had all the time and tools to prepare ... I said all the right things ... and I fell well short of my goal.

This sequence of events was repeated when I rode my first (and only, to this point) century, as well as my first and second marathon attempts.

There were legitimate reasons that contributed to my shortcomings in each case, but all but one was truly a form of self destructing ... and even in that one I was beginning the process.

The century - I failed to do the proper training for the final month before the ride and gained 15 pounds.  If I had not self destructed, the contributing factor of an unexpectedly long hill at the 30 mile mark would not have had the profound impact it had on my overall time.

The 10K - I just waited too long and never put in the proper effort.  Yes, my exercise induced asthma kicked in at the start of the run, but had I trained properly I would have been aware of this issue and had an inhaler on hand.

Marathon 1 - The most legit reason of the group.  I tweaked my left Achilles tendon about a month before the event.  I couldn't even walk without an ankle support for nine months ... but I was starting to break my training plan, skipping runs, eating junk food.  The downward spiral had begun.

Marathon 2 - I felt pain in my knee diagnosed as chondromalacia, eventually in both knees.  It turns out that I did have a torn meniscus  in my left knee, but I did not discover this for several weeks after I had dropped to the half marathon distance.

The truth is I felt trapped ... this was a "family event" with my brother and some nephews and nieces.  I did not want to hold them back, but did not want to back out.  The pain and injuries were real, but there was no reason I couldn't have done swimming, water running, stationary bike or other low impact training while I was waiting.

I began to implode again in July.  My endocrinologist (as well as every other doctor I've seen) asked me to lose some weight and exercise.  Being on estrogen should have been the greatest motivator in the world ... and for a month it was.  Then came the implosion ... the almost surgical dismantling of what few accomplishments I had made.

It seems like my entire life I have worried whether people would accept me; this feeling has only intensified since I started my transition.  I have been so consumed fearing that people won't accept me that I never realized that I have trouble accepting myself.

It's almost as if I have disliked myself to the point that I apparently cannot allow myself the satisfaction of success.  At times I feel that people cannot possibly appreciate me, that any compliments toward me cannot possibly be sincere, or that I don't deserve compliments in the first place.

I'm not sure how to change any of this.

I have allowed myself to balloon to a hideous 350 pounds.  I was 250 when I rode the century and 265 when I finished the half marathon.  I carry 220 easily ... or at least I used to.  But even then I'm considered overweight.

Surprisingly I still have reasonable cardio ... a 30 minute fast paced walk raises my pulse rate but does not leave me gasping for air, and my pulse returns to normal in just a few minutes when I am done cooling down.

I must learn to truly accept myself before I can expect others to openly accept me.

I must learn to fully accept myself with all my weaknesses and strengths if I ever want to like, or even respect myself.

These are not easy issues to change.  I have been self deprecating my entire life, using humor to dismiss my successes and hide the pain of my failures.  I must change if I ever truly want to successfully complete my goals.

If you have noticed the lack of pictures in this diatribe, it is intentional.  I am only attaching one, and it is very embarrassing ... This is me at the heaviest I've ever been just prior to starting HRT.  Forgive the quality.  I am not wearing makeup, I'm a tad bit sweaty, but I did not alter it in any way.

This is my reference point ... my beginning.  This is what I will use to judge my progress as I move forward.