Giving up. Giving in. There’s a big difference. And Giving In is being fearless.
Giving up means defeat.
Giving in means accepting.
I’m learning a big lesson about giving in.
I’m tired. I’ve been tired for a long time. Not just “mom of three boys” tired. Not just “training for a marathon” tired. Completely exhausted. As in I have to lie down right now otherwise I’m going to fall down.
But I kept pushing through the tired. We’ve had a rough go of things the last few months. My dad died very suddenly. My eldest son has had serious health problems and multiple surgeries. We’ve had crises with extended family. It’s not been easy. So of course I’m tired. And I’ve just repeatedly told myself to push through.
I’ve got multiple sprint triathlons on the calendar this summer. I’m training for a Half Ironman. A Ragnar race. The New York City Marathon. But that’s what I do. And I love it. So I push through the tired.
But the tired got to be too much. And instead of pushing through, I went to see my doctor. Turns out I’m sick.
I have severe iron deficiency anemia. My body is not making enough iron to build red blood cells, and it is using up stored iron. Once my stored iron is gone – and it pretty much is – my body makes fewer red blood cells. Those cells carry oxygen – if you don’t have enough of those, then your heart has to work harder to distribute oxygen. Symptoms include severe fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, confusion, and dizziness. I can check off all those symptoms, plus a few others.
I saw a hematologist last week for some help, and tomorrow I’m starting multiple treatments of iron infusions. I’ll be hooked up to an IV and receive iron to restore my blood. It will take a while to get my iron stores where they need to be, but I’ll get there.
So I’m giving in. Giving in to the exhaustion and not fighting it any more. I’m making sleep a priority. I have a nap every afternoon. I’m increasing my intake of iron rich foods. I’m not doing the triathlons. I’m not doing the Ironman (kind of ironic, though, isn’t it? All that iron…) Ragnar is in October, so I’ll make the call in a few weeks. New York City Marathon is in November, so I’ve got time to decide if I can train safely.
I’m not going to be afraid of missing races that I was really excited to train for and participate in. I’m instead going to be fearless in making myself healthy again.
All those races will be there next year. It’s not the end of the world to drop out. I can’t power through this. I can’t force myself to train. Last month I helped run two training courses for 261 Fearless and was away from home for 10 days. I loved every minute of it. But I slept for 4 days straight when I got home to recover. I’m out of breath going up a flight of stairs. Time for my hemoglobin to take priority!
So for now, I’m going to enjoy my naps, relish going to bed at 9pm, back away from obligations and activity, and focus on making oxygenated red blood cells. Here’s to healthy hemoglobin!