Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On Putting Yourself Out There

This picture is of my friend and coworker Wendy crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon this year. Not only did she finish, but she beat her own personal marathon time record as well.

Wendy is an athlete.  She doesn't just run marathons, she has completed Ironman Triathlons as well. In other words, she swims 2.4 miles, bikes 112 miles, and THEN runs a marathon (26.2 miles).

I've always been in awe of Wendy and wondered how she managed to find the time for it all. I mean the training time alone must be hours every day, but she works the same crazy hours I work in the same stressful job, and on top of that she has two children still in elementary school.

I admire Wendy's dedication and commitment to her training. At times I think she's got to be a little bit of a freak for doing all that exercise, but maybe that's only because I can't seem to motivate myself to exercise at all. And except for an elevated Diet Coke consumption (but who can blame her), she's probably the healthiest eater I know.

Part of me has always looked at Wendy and thought "man, if I could only have everything so together".

But what I didn't know until recently is that Wendy's an alcoholic. We've worked together for 14 years, she's been in recovery for 4, but I only found out when Wendy started her blog, Active Recovery, in May and posted a link on Facebook for everyone on her friend list to see.

My initial reaction was shock. I mean how could I not have known or at least suspected right? Wrong, but that's not what I really want to talk about. What I realized after that was this was just another reason to admire her.

Not because she's an alcoholic, or even because she's an alcoholic in recovery, but because she's decided to put herself out there. Not only has she realized it's not shameful to admit you don't have or can't do it all, and it's o.k. to talk about it, but she's found the courage to admit it and talk about it with as many people as possible.

I struggle sometimes with what to say or post on this blog because I worry I might reveal too much or piss someone off. It's tempting to make your life sound idyllic when you have total control over what's being posted. It's also easy to tell someone else that their problems, issues, or weaknesses aren't shameful to talk about. But it's a lot harder to actually talk about when it's your own problems, issues, or weaknesses because in the back of your mind you're always wondering what others really think.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that although I've always wished I was a little more like Wendy in my eating and exercise habits (although you can probably forget the triathlon, and the marathon too), her bravery is what I really wish I could duplicate. Maybe someday.

Go read her blog, even if you've never had to deal with an addiction, it's an interesting and eye opening read.

*For those who might wonder, I did ask Wendy's permission to talk about her, but I didn't really tell her what I was going to say. And I totally stole the picture at the top of the page from her blog as well, hopefully she won't sue me.


  1. Great post, off to check out Wendy's blog.

  2. I'll bet she doesn't sleep in much. Awesome story.