I had no idea how I would accomplish a triathlon. In April when my cousin Glen invited me to join him and his girlfriend Joanie for the NJ State Triathlon something had me say yes. Then, the reality of putting in the training set in. What the hell was I thinking?
And so it began. The mental and physical training and preparation. I knew that if I could accomplish this goal I would feel invincible and be fully present to my strength and determination both physically and metaphorically. It was much more than just pushing my body to finish the race. There was a lot riding on this event for me.
Race day comes and I am surprisingly calm regardless of the anxiety and nervous energy swirling at the starting line. Why am I not terrified? Am I going to panic when my feet hit the water? As I look out across the lake, all I can see is beauty and possibility. It was then that I knew in my heart that I was going to nail this race and nothing was going to stop me.
It was not easy. The swimming was hard. Very hard. I started to feel tired a quarter of the way when some woman’s leg kicked me in my lower back. “Sorry” I hear as I catch my breath. I slowly separated away from her and floated on my back for a minute to gather myself.
That was when I gave myself a little pep talk. I stopped for a moment and appreciated the cool water flowing across my face and reflected on how I was always so totally fearless when it came to water. I felt fortunate that I grew up swimming and loving water. Then, I thought of Dory repeating “keep on swimming, keep on swimming”. So, I did just that. I just kept pushing forward one long meaningful stroke at a time. I kept my eyes on one buoy at a time until I reached the shoreline and headed for transition and my bike.
The bike was way easier than the swim. The breeze hitting my face was amazing as I pumped my legs even harder to catch more air. I gave that ride my all and savored each decline to catch my breath. I was doing this race! I was doing a real triathlon!
Then came the run. The piece that I had dreaded and feared the most. I knew I would be tired. I really pushed my legs on the bike so they were really feeling like wet noodles. But I kept on going. I was determined now. I had already completed two-thirds of the race and I could not give up now!
That 3.5 miles felt like 10miles. It was an out and back run and it seemed like the winding path of athletes ahead of me was never ending.
Ugh, when will they finally turn around and head back? I think.
Finally, I reach the turn around and start heading back. I can feel my legs get weaker and my energy level start to fade. In that moment I hear a sweet voice running up from behind me. “There is a light at the end of this tunnel. We just have to keep going.” She says. I turn around and smile. She was right and that was exactly what I needed to hear! We were in this together and that little push was exactly what I needed.
Moments later I see the finish line and I get a burst of energy that carries me through when moments before I just wanted to walk. I was filled with pride as I crossed over that finish line and heard my name called. Sweet victory. I had done it!
That was a pretty big day for me. I realized that I am ten times stronger than I thought I was and when I am determined, there are no limits. I am excited for what the future holds for me on so many levels.
Thank you cuz for the invitation to really take on my life with this triathlon.