Up Above the World So High

I'm atop the Westin San Francisco, staring out at AT&T Park and a setting sun on a Monday evening. It's quiet in my room, as I'm alone in town for a marketing and PR conference tomorrow.  It's rare moments like these where I can stop and assess my life.  I'm always juggling multiple projects and multiple thoughts in my head.  To be able to calm myself, after a glass of wine and a rich meal, is a treat.

So what am I thinking about?  My mind races, trying to process the last year and a half.  Training for and completing two Ironman races.  Maintaining my career.  My writing. And above all, counting down ever so slowly to a wedding that's now just a couple weeks away.

Where did the time go?

I feel proud that I've accomplished what feels like a lot in the past 18 months.  But I wonder what lies around the next corner.  As I sipped on some wine at my favorite Indian food restaurant (Amber...drool), I realized that lengthy solitary moments for quiet contemplation -- minus being in a pool or on abike/run, are going to be even further and farther apart.  Right now, life feels like a series of daily transitions, where I'm constantly on the clock from one activity to the next.  The finish line really does occur around 17-18 hours later when it's time for bed to do it all over again.

Every day feels like an Activity Ironman.

I'm not complaining.  Not by a longshot.  But I am trying to make some sense of it all in my own context.  I'm looking back at my 15-19 hours of Ironman training a week wondering how in the hell did I do that?  Now that I'm "only" working out 7-8 hours a week, triathlon training seems like an impossibly large time sink. I have no idea how I made it work now that my life has become consumed with other activities.

I suppose it comes down to what's important to you.  Those are the things you make time for, whether it's friends, family, work, hobbies or something else.  For 18 months I made time for triathlon and squeezed everything else in as best I could.  Right now, as my schedule has balanced itself out, I'm still adjusting.  I'm learning to live with "good enough" with my training, if you can even call it that.  I've struggled at times, but I'm also relishing a greater sense of balance between all other aspects of my life.  I'm catching up with myself while I beat myself up at the same time.  I think that's the strange dichotomy of post-Ironman race depression talking.

But in two weeks, I'm about to become a married man. And that's strange too.  I've been single for 37 years and in two weeks, there's someone called Mrs. Schneider and it's not my mom. I'm super excited and to be honest, I'm a little scared.  I'm scared of the unknown, just like I was scared of competing in my first Ironman.  I'm not scared of whether Steph and I will work, I know we're rock solid on that front.  I'm just scared that I'm getting older and entering a new phase of my life.  But if you're not a little scared at a juncture in your life, maybe you're not pushing hard enough?

In that respect, triathlon has helped me take more risks in my life whether it's this blog, approaching Lava Magazine cold and brazenly asking for a column, pursuing Ironman triathlons and ultimately, finding the fortitude to make my relationship right with Steph once and for all last year.

So while I may have been busy as all hell and not sure what the hell I was doing at times, this past year and a half probably produced the biggest emotional and spiritual growth period in my life.  And, yeah, the physical fitness growth wasn't too shabby either.

In the end, the view from the 22nd floor of the Westin San Francisco is pretty astounding.  Taking a few moments to stop and look around is a humbling experience.  I've been so busy for so long that I forgot about stopping and simply doing nothing for a bit.  In those moments, life comes into focus.

Damnit, I like what I see.