Saturday, February 9, 2013

Training to Cope

“I know God will not give me anything that I can’t handle, I just wish He didn’t trust me so much.”  Mother Teresa

My training plays a daily role in my life (I consider rest a part of my training too).  It allows me to prepare for my races and meet the goals that I set for myself.  Most importantly, my training helps me to cope with life’s challenges.  On New Year’s Eve I was faced with one of the greatest challenges of my life; my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. 

I am an only child.  My mother and I are very close.  She raised me on her own and instilled a strong sense of faith, family, and determination in me.  She and I talk almost every day, sometimes several times a day.  She is my best friend and advisor, and I can always count on her to have my back.  At the age of 71 my mom received her master’s degree in divinity.  She is vibrant and loves to bake.  I could not ask for a better mom.

So why at the age of 73 has my beautiful mother been diagnosed with such a horrible disease!?  Devastated does not begin to describe my initial reaction.  It took everything I had not to break down in the doctor’s office.  I didn’t want my mom to see me upset, because I knew it would upset her.  Surprisingly my mother was very calm when she received her diagnosis.  She told me that she would do whatever the doctor and I told her to do, she was going to fight the disease with all she had, and she knew that God would be with her.  That’s my mom!

So as my mom leaned on her faith and coped, I was falling apart.  I found myself crying almost every day and losing my motivation to do much of anything, especially train.  I had so much going through my mind.  Why my mom?  What can I do to help her?  How long will she be able to live alone?  My head was spinning.  All I wanted to do was to crawl into a hole.  My mom means everything to me, and knowing that this disease was going to slowly take her away from me….I just couldn’t handle it.  How do you mourn the loss of someone who is still alive?  I know there have been medical breakthroughs with the treatment of Alzheimer’s, but there still isn’t a cure.

I knew I had to get it together for my mom and I needed to get back on track with my training, so I reached out to my coach and teammates.  I told them I needed them to keep me accountable.  I asked if they would either text or call me to see if I was coming to our workouts.  In my mind if I knew someone was expecting me to be at a training session, I would show up because I felt obligated to do so.  Well my coach and team stepped up big time!  They texted me and sent me Facebook messages to make sure I came to the workouts. 

It wasn’t easy at first to get back into my training groove.  I felt this heavy weight on me, but the more I trained the better I begin to feel.  I was still upset about my mom’s diagnosis, but I felt more emotionally and mentally equipped to handle the situation.  I am now completely back on track with my training.  My mom and I are working together to make things as easy for her as possible as we begin this journey.  And on those days when I feel down, my training sessions serve as my special time to work out everything that I am feeling.