I was 16 when I first watched the Kona Ironman on television.
And I was blown away by the capabilities of the human body: A 2-mile swim in the ocean…followed by100-mile bike ride…followed by a marathon? How was this even possible?!!
I was so touched by the event, and from that moment on, I knew my life would be incomplete if I never got the chance to participate in such a race.
12 years later, I got that chance.
Here is where I would like to give a big, heartfelt “THANK YOU!” to my friend Laura. It was her idea to offer a sprint triathlon class at the local university, and I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of it.
And by “jumped,” I mean “a friend convinced me to do it.”
After 12 years of waiting for the opportunity to compete in a triathlon, I almost didn’t do it! This is because I occasionally suffer from this syndrome where I’m afraid to do the very thing that I want to do because what I want to do might cause me some level of discomfort.
And I was uncomfortable!
First of all, class started at 7:30 am. Though this was not too terribly early, it was chilly. I remember the day our class had to practice our first swim/bike brick. (A brick is any combination of two triathlon events such as a swim and a bike ride or a bike ride and a run.) The morning was cold, wet and gusty, but we still had to swim for what felt like 5 miles before running outside and hopping on our bikes.
Pedaling into the icy wind wearing a dripping wet swimsuit was awful…and yet empowering. Finishing that ride showed me just how capable I was at enduring (and achieving!) difficult tasks. In fact, every class revealed yet another layer of my mental and physical strength. On days when I feel like giving up, all I have to do is remember that cold, wet, miserable bike ride and suddenly life doesn’t seem so impossible anymore.
I was downright giddy the morning of the race.
This is not like me.
I hate competition; it makes me panic.
But the beauty of a triathlon is that it’s only as competitive as you make it. Therefore, I imagined that I was the only one in the race and my only task was to cross the finish line.
Which I did!
Crossing the finish line and running into the arms of my loved ones was such an incredible moment, but in truth, I enjoyed the WHOLE thing from the preparation, to the swim, to the bike, to the run, to the finish.
Eventually, I’d like to run another triathlon.
Maybe even a longer one!
Or maybe even an Iron Man!
But who knows?
After all, I am getting older. 😉