The first few years are the hardest. Sound familiar? Whether it’s starting a career, marriage, becoming a parent or being the other-half of an endurance athlete, it’s true – being left on the sidelines isn’t as easy as it sounds. And the first few years are definitely the hardest.
Being the ‘stay-at-home’ wife left me feeling alone in the beginning. Nunzio did his best to train early in the morning so he could still be with the family, there were a lot of times he wasn’t available to us, and it was hard. I cannot tell a lie. But I was committed to seeing him achieve his goals because that’s what we do for the ones we love. I was happy seeing him happy. It was a good thing. But I was still on the sideline. And the longer I was on the sidelines, I started to forget who I was. Who is Erin? Did it matter anymore?
I fell into the typical female trap – I focused on everyone in my life but me. I was there for them. I built my career, worked hard at being a good a wife and mother, had a dog and beautiful home… and I was happy. Unmotivated to do and be much more, but I was happy. And it was all I needed. Or so I thought. It took me a long time to figure out that I – Erin – was lost, wrapped up in a world I created for others – where was the spunky girl that did what she wanted, lived life HUGE and had an identify all to herself? Did i change that much or was the Erin from 15 years ago still there, waiting to be found again?
Well, my ‘lost and found’ moment came (surprisingly enough) at one of Nunzio’s races. It hit me – I loved being his cheerleader – I actually loved being on the sideline. It was here that I was the spunky, living life HUGE girl I once was – I was there because I wanted to be there. I loved the people I met, the energy they gave me, the motivation and sense of community it gave me. I was Erin, not Nunzio’s wife, Emma & Ethan’s mom… I was exactly who I wanted to be. I was exactly here I wanted to be.
Being on the sideline after all these years later has clearly been a good thing, but I now realize that it has lead me back to me. I had changed. This was an awakening, I realized that it was true, life changes and so do we. And change can be really good.
Over the years Nunzio’s passion has not waivered – his commitment to competing in the Ironman Championships in Kona is stronger than ever, but the difference in this journey we have taken on together is me. I am different. I am making choices because I can. Clearly it took time to figure this out. I am not just sitting on the sideline because I need to, I own this choice and have found my passion for being here.
The change needed to happen within me – I needed to be happy with who I was other than being a professional, a mom and wife. I needed to find me again. My choices, for whatever reason I made them all those years ago, have lead me to a place that feels really good. I have rediscovered my spunk and I’m feeling better than ever because of the things and choices I have made while on the sidelines.
The human spirit is an amazing thing and through my time on the sidelines I have found it to be the most motivational aspect of my life. The energy I get from being part of the endurance community reminds me of the spunky girl I once was, the spunky girl that was just dormant for a few years. I have found my passion, my hobby, and my go-to place for me – it’s being the cheerleader on the sidelines. It makes me happy. And isn’t happiness the key to success?