Sunday, September 14, 2014

Triathlon

Today was another big accomplishment for me in my journey of health and fitness.  I participated in a sprint triathlon that was a team event.
Just coming back from a visit in Canada and coming off a vacation in Turkey and feeling a bit like I was close to falling off the exercise wagon, I wasn't feeling 100% like this triathlon, my VERY FIRST triathlon was such a good idea.  I had talked myself into it and found a team of teachers I could join and was psyching myself up.  As I showed up early that morning and sized up the competition I was becoming a bit nervous.  GULP!
As the first leg of the team was getting ready to start, my family showed up to wish me luck.  Again, like I said when I participated in the Duathlon, I think it is so important for my family to be able to cheer me on in something.  To make that sacrifice for me that I make for them at their weekly events.  It is also good for them to learn about cheering other people on and what it takes to be a good support system on the sidelines.  Not only that but, it is important that they start to learn that exercise if FUN!  Exercise can be a family event, friend event, or a time to do something for yourself.  I am realizing now the important to instill in our kids a love for exercise so it is always something they WANT to incorporate into their lives!
I grew up athletic but something happened when I became a mom.  I started to make excuses as to why I didn't have time to exercise.  I would get into a really good exercise routine and then it wouldn't take much to get me to fall off the fitness wagon where I would stay for months at a time.  See, that is why I am a bit excessive these days with my need for daily fitness.  It is just out of fear that I will easily steer myself away from a life of fitness.  A fear of going back to the size I was.  And at that size, I wasn't the best mom, best wife, or best self I could be.  So I go extreme!  Sitting on the couch doesn't feel as good as looking at my fit self in the mirror!
This triathlon came at the perfect time.  Just when it would have been easy to say, "no thank you!  I'll just stay in bed", I said, "YES!" and that yes got me back into the game.  The excitement of running into the water to start my leg of the race left me with a feeling of wanting more!  I knew it was time to get serious again!  No more vacation time!
And after each leg I finished accomplishing the goals I set out for myself during that leg, I realized I CAN do this!  And I WANT to do this!  I want more!  Don't get me wrong, there were ups and downs both during the race and on my exercise journey as a whole.  As I was chocking on salt water during the swim I felt like I couldn't go anymore.  Instead of stopping, I'd switch to the breast stroke, clean out my mouth (I wasn't use to competitive swimming in the open ocean so the speed with the size of my stroke was causing me to get salt water in my mouth at every breath), regain my breath control, and line myself back up with the markers (there are no lanes to follow in the open ocean!).  While I had wanted to maintain the freestyle stroke the whole time I wanted more to not stop so switching strokes allowed me to keep focus on my goal at large and it was a success!  Running out of the water with the leg behind me felt amazing!
I had worried about my transition to the bike ride.  I had planned to ride Brad's road bike and made a last second switch as my teammate let me ride her road bike!  Awesome!  It allowed me to make better time on the bike portion of the race without using too much extra energy however, I didn't have my helmet set up for the hunched over position so I was in pain for a lot of the ride.  Keeping my attention on how far I had come and focusing on trying to catch the person in front of me kept my mind distracted enough to push through!  The success was being able to feel the difference a road bike made in my racing (for the duathlon I rode my hybrid bike and was SO slow on my time) and I was able to see that I was fast enough to be competitive!
Finally, I only had the run to finish.  I was SO close.  I knew this transition was the hardest so I just had to buckle down and do it.  Having my family there cheering me on as well as friends from the community and my teammates helped me get through the tough part.  And THAT is why we cheer each other on!  That is why being a good spectator is so important!  It is so important for the athletes!  It pushes us to want more.  To work harder!  To finish for ourselves and all of those watching!
My goal for the run portion of the race was to not walk.  I am proud to say I accomplished that!  Halfway through the run I was a bit thirsty, to my surprise one of my teammates went to the turn around point and was handing out water!  An answer to my prayers!  The high from that support from my teammate pushed me the rest of the way through. 
I had just met my teammates when I said, "yes, I'd like to be on your team."  Other than that I had no interaction with them.  It is amazing how an event where you race individually but your time counts for your team can bring people together for the sake of the team.  We now will always have this bond of competing this together.  And for me it is extra special because it is my first tri ever!  How the event worked was each person competed a tri themselves but we were a 3 person team so we did it as a relay.  The first person did a 750m swim, 20k bike, and 3k run and then tagged the next person to go.  I was the middle leg and it felt so good to tag off to our next teammate, recover from my leg, and then start cheering on everyone that was out on the course!
Finishing something I set out to do felt amazing!  I didn't know I could compete in a triathlon.  You might not think you can either.  I'm here to say you CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET OUT TO DO!  DO NOT let your mind or fear win.  The only way to lose is not not try!
I am proud to say that my team got 1st place in the all-girls team division!!!  I was SO shocked!  When I had looked around and sized up the competition I didn't give us a chance to even compete for 1st place!  I knew I just had to finish and have fun!  What I learned was you cannot judge other's physical fitness levels by outward appearance!  Also, you cannot put compare your journey or fitness level to anyone else!  It is your journey!  Have fun with it!  Make it your own!  Have fun and enjoy!  This is yours to take... everyone else's is already taken!  What goal will you set for yourself?
pete

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