I thought now would be a good time to share that life for this tall lady is not always sunny and bright. The beginning of 2015 was not my favorite stretch of time, but I believe even the tough times are worth it for the story. So, with the most robust buffer of all set in place, time, I am ready to share the story of how I rescued myself from a bout with despair by taking a risk that shot me out of my comfort zone, but made me stronger than I ever could of imagined.
Two years ago this week I climbed out of the deepest hole of self-pity I had ever fallen into. After ten weeks of whining and complaining I was finally on my way to Albuquerque, NM to reunite with Marion where he was working on the movie, Independence Day Resurgence. I knew he would be gone for six months when he first accepted the job in December, 2014, so his absence was not a surprise, but I underestimated how gutted I would feel with him gone for so long. As the days and weeks passed after he left, I became lonely, irrational, insecure, and cold. I was not myself. Something had to change.
One day, I looked around my empty house, (except for my wonderful dogs), and realized there was no reason to feel sorry for myself, because there was nothing keeping me there anymore. Hannah was living with her mom full time at that point, and just weeks away from earning her driver’s license, which made it a huge transitional time for all of us. It was time for me to face the fact that Hannah didn’t need me like she used to, and it was time to move on to the next part of my life. I decided to pack up, and head to Albuquerque.
The interesting part of Marion’s living arrangements, was that he was not alone. He was sharing a house with one of his colleagues, so I would be living with both of them. In fact, Marion didn’t really invite me to move out there, I just announced one night on the phone that I was coming. He was happy, but surprised.
The drive out to Albuquerque was the most vulnerable I had ever felt in my life. We left on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend; Marion flew out that Saturday to then drive back with me and our dogs that following Sunday. I opened up somewhere on highway 40 and told him that I felt like I needed to do this for myself as much as for our marriage. He told me he missed me, and wanted me with him, but it was hard not to feel like the lame, lonely wife swooping in to clobber all of his fun. He was living like a frat boy, but he also needed someone to confide in after the classic 14 – 18 hour set days that pour out doses of exhaustion and frustration. This was a huge job for him, which meant it was a huge job for us.
Throughout the rest of the shoot, I took my role as his producer seriously, and stayed up all hours in order to listen to him when he came home, and offered any insight I could since I had accrued years of set hours before switching to post production. Soon enough we were back in sync, and having the time of our lives together. Yep, you guessed it, we fell in love all over again.
I brought my bike with me because I was training for Ironman Coeur d'Alene, but truthfully, I signed up for that race as a distraction instead of a goal. As I started to adjust to my new every day in Albuquerque my desire to train and race in the Ironman faded away. I needed to take a break and reassess if I still wanted to pursue triathlon, and if there was anything else in the sport that I wanted to accomplish. I decided to let it go, and see what happened.
However, I did not let go of all of it, because I still ran. A lot.
New Mexico is renowned for its amazing training grounds, and I discovered a few wonderful places to run. I ran at least ten miles every day along the Paseo Del Bosque trail, a beautiful and fun trail that bordered the Rio Grande. I ventured out to the trails in the Sandia foothills, where I could run for hours without seeing another soul. Naturally, I thought it would be a great time to train for my first ultra-marathon, (any race that is longer than 26.2 miles). I figured for my first Ultra I should be conservative and go for a 50K, which is just over 31 miles. A hefty, yet reasonable distance I thought would quench my curiosity. As the summer progressed, so the distance of my runs. I never pushed my pace too hard; I just ran a lot in order to build a solid base that could withstand the unknown tasks the Ultra would dish out. I loved the simplicity of only running, and figured that would be enough to keep me happy in this new phase of my grown up life.
I really believed that would be enough.
Then one Saturday night while mindlessly flipping through channels on the TV my fingers froze, my eyes sprung wide open, and my heart thumped hard against my chest. The remote stopped at the televised U.S. National Championship race, Ironman, Texas. Marion was sitting next to me on the couch and said, “Oh, here we go. See Taryn, you’re not done with Ironman.” He was right. I loved the heavy running I was logging, and was excited about a future in Ultra racing, but I wanted to swim and ride my bike again.
I hadn’t swam in months, and I hadn’t ridden outside since I arrived in New Mexico, but soon that all changed. We only had a few weeks left in Albuquerque, (thankfully the movie was wrapping at the end of August), and even though most of my work outs still consisted of running only, I took my bike out a few times to ride up to the stages where they were shooting the movie, and discovered a community pool, and a YMCA pool where I could swim. I was rusty in the water and on two wheels, but I was excited to be a triathlete again. I realized that even though a huge phase of my life was over, (being a full-time parent and athlete), triathlon was still there for me on the other side.
I spent the following fall prepping for the Ultra race, The Ray Miller 50K, and even met some life-long friends on a “training” marathon I ran in Cleveland, Ohio that October. The 50K was fantastic, I felt good through out the long, slow day, but I missed the intensity of triathlon. I knew I would run more Ultra races in the future, but it was clear that triathlon was my top priority for the back half of my 30’s. I’ll save the Ultras for my 50’s.:)
“When you’re driven, whatever is in front of you will get destroyed.”
- David Goggins
It turns out there is more I want to accomplish in triathlon.