Life after Bill: I Still Have A Lot of Living To Do

 Gini came in first in her age group at the Grandman Triathlon on Saturday, June 2, in Fairhope, Alabama, her second race since Bill's death. The triathlon event comprised a 1/3-mile swim in Mobile Bay, an 18.6-mile bike, and a 3.1-mile run.

Gini came in first in her age group at the Grandman Triathlon on Saturday, June 2, in Fairhope, Alabama, her second race since Bill's death. The triathlon event comprised a 1/3-mile swim in Mobile Bay, an 18.6-mile bike, and a 3.1-mile run.

I want to thank Carolee once again for inviting me to blog on her site. It was great to finally meet her, in person, in April when I went to D.C. to run the National Women’s Half Marathon in April. She encouraged me to write when I felt ready.

The months since my husband, Bill, died, and racing in Kona, have made me realize how important working out and staying active are to me. When Bill passed away, I lost more than just my husband. My world, as I knew it, changed in every way. I am no longer a wife, and I live alone (with our dog).

The loss of Bill has affected my self-confidence, my self-esteem, and my brain function has changed (another friend and I refer to it as “widow brain”). I cook for one and eat alone most nights. It is the hardest, most gut-wrenching, horrific, life-changing thing to live with. I have cried an ocean of tears. Fortunately, I have good support from my family and friends. I do know that the way I continue to live will make a difference in my happiness and moving forward. That is why I will continue to work out.

I have continued to work out most days, although not to the intensity I did before Bill got sick. The half marathon in D.C. helped with my confidence. I have increased the number of days I exercise. I need structured workouts, and my coach has given me workouts. I did most of them, but my heart wasn’t in it. I was sleeping in and getting to the pool or gym late. I signed up for two early sprint triathlons. I fell while running two weeks before the first one and bailed on it.

This weekend was the second race, and I did just about everything I could think of to bail on it, too. I wasn’t sure I would do it until I got to the race site. I told myself it was time to get back to living fully.

I jumped into Mobile Bay at 7:00 am, and I was off. It was 90 degrees with a heat index of close to 100 degrees. I felt good, most of the way. I walked most of the run. The neighborhood on the run course has the best support. People were out with hoses spraying the runners, and I loved hearing the William Tell Overture. I felt like dancing…. sort of. I came in first and was back with some of my tri friends. Yet I realized that swimming once a week and lackluster bike and runs are not going to cut it.  

At Christmas time I decided I needed to do another Ironman. I didn’t feel I did that well at Kona, so I signed up for Ironman Chattanooga with my son and coach, and the producer of the Brawny video. I am looking forward to it.

I know that how I deal with the loss of Bill is going to make a difference in how I move on. I can stop living an active life, sit home, and feel sorry for myself, or I can be active, be out with friends, work out, and continue to enter events.

I still have a lot of living to do, and I am going to live it.