The Extroverted Introvert

I’m taking a year off. No one seems to believe this. In the last year, I completed a lot of goals–some big, some seemingly smaller, but all mentally and physically taxing. The most difficult hurdle was to train so wholeheartedly for a race and, though the race was conquered, to feel cheated. I’ve lost that competitive drive, though I don’t know that I ever had it.

Not a couch potato yet.

No couch potato here. Loving the early morning workouts.

Now, it may look as though I’m taking no time off. I have started CrossFit and am still running. I have also begun incorporating yoga into my weekly training. I will start cycling and swimming more regularly when I feel like doing so. I am not training for anything, after all. I can decide when and how I want to stay active. It’s quite liberating!

It is not difficult to get up at 5 or 6 am for a workout when you do not HAVE to do it. It is not hard to eat better when you have time to cook, sleep, and think straight. I enjoy having the time to slowly learn about what foods and exercises will make me stronger and to incorporate them over time. Additionally, it is freeing not having to worry that I didn’t incorporate this or that training method into my program or that I did too much–the dreaded OVERTRAINING.

What is strong?

My only goal, I suppose, is to be strong. This one word has so many different meanings and I do not scoff at any of them. I have no doubt that CrossFit will make me physically stronger. “[It would be insane to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.]” Am I correct Albert E.? Why, then, would I continue to spend 10-12 hours per week swimming, biking, and running and expect anything other than a barely decent performance and complete exhaustion at the event’s end?

Fireball Classic 10K PR

Fireball Classic 10K PR

More important than any physical training, is the stretching and testing of that inner voice that says, “I can’t” or “I won’t”. You have to shut that little asshole down. After cycling up a mountain in France, something I’d not done prior to that event, I realized “I can and will” do a lot more than I thought even without having trained for it. The realization that a lot of the battle is won by convincing yourself that you can perform a task and ignoring* anything that opposes this effort led to a 10K PR on a tough course in my hometown (a PR by almost 1.5 minutes).

I am also learning what my actual hobbies are now that I don’t have anything (ie. dissertation, 8 hour brick) that I wish to avoid doing. I don’t really love knitting. I do, however, adore reading! I don’t like reading about famous triathletes or “how to” books. I like reading a writer’s imaginative truths. I love to cook and, though I admire others who can do this so well, I despise gardening. I actually LIKE to workout and I enjoy my occasional “work” days at 405 bicycles. I look forward to going to Crimson and Whipped Cream just to sit, chat, and even enjoy a sweet treat now and then without the burden of dissertation writing. I do, however, like writing. I like writing of those imaginative truths I mentioned earlier. I, shockingly, am really getting into savings and investment banking. I never saw that hobby coming! I’ve gotten to spend more time with my parents, which is nice. And, even if it may not be my passion, I enjoy my lab job more than I thought I could. I think it is teaching me to be patient with myself and more organized.


I am also getting extreme enjoyment out of Husband’s new love–ROCK CLIMBING! It is not something I am very interested in doing, but I love watching him compete with himself and train for something. Playing guitar with him is still one of my favorite hobbies.

I suppose that’s all I have to say. I just wanted someone to know that I am not wandering lost. That Cat is no longer the “triathlete, student, runner, knitter, whatever-you-labeled-me” is preposterous. I am, we all are, so much more than a label, a hobby, or a career. We evolve every day into better versions of ourselves, even if it feels like a digression sometimes. I felt so trapped when I was in the Ph.D. program. I couldn’t decide if it was the program, my marriage, Oklahoma, anxiety, being an extroverted introvert, blah. My guess is, it was all of those silly labels–those little boxes that are just too small, even for me.
"Not all those who wander are lost." _J.R.R. Tolkien

“Not all those who wander are lost.” -J.R.R. Tolkien

*Please don’t ignore potential injuries. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve been an injured athlete enough in the past to write this footnote.

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