Thursday, September 9, 2010
You Can't Have Success Unless You Tri!
No I didn't have a typo in the title, I spelled "try" with an "i" in honor of the mini triathlon I participated in last Saturday. I learned alot by challenging myself physically in doing something I never thought I could.
Some people wonder why I decided to do a triathlon. Heck, on Saturday, I was really questioning that decision. But I made the decision because I had an epiphany. (I hate when that happens because then I have to act on it!) My epiphany was that as people we sometimes stereotype ourselves. We give ourselves a label, like being shy, or lazy, or uncreative. We give ourselves these labels so we don't have to try something outside of our comfort zone. Afterall, why would we want to do that? We might actually *gasp* learn something! (said with much sarcasm) We box ourselves into our own perceptions that many times aren't even true. I have a friend that always tells me how shy she is. I've got to tell you, the girl is about as shy as Oprah!! Maybe she used to be shy as a kid, but she isn't in anyway what I would classify as shy now. But she percieves herself that way. I began to ask myself what labels I've given myself. The biggest one that stood out in my mind is that I labeled myself as lazy. I don't like to clean my house, I don't always push myself to my limits especially in my writing, and I'm the furthest thing from being an athletic person. If someone says let's go for a walk I reach for the car keys.
So my next question was how do we break out of our own boxes and away from the labels we saddled ourselves with? (And this was the epiphany that got me into trouble) I realized that we had to do something to prove to ourselves that we don't fit that label. I asked myself, "What is something a lazy person would never do?" The answer I came up with was a triathlon. (I mean seriously why couldn't my brain have came up with something like walking daily, or cleaning my house.) Now of course I was in no shape to do an olympic triathlon but my sister in law had done a sprint triathlon and suddenly I was thinking it was doable. (Dang people having to be good examples!)
I began training during the summer. (Again, not my smartest move living in Phoenix and all) I didn't have alot of time to train having four kids and lots of other obligations, but I did make sure I did something at least 5 days a week. Sometimes that didn't happen, but I truly did all I could. When it came time for the race it was very evident that I wasn't the most fit person there, but I knew I did all I could. I had to psyche myself up for the race and the thing I kept thinking was "keep moving". I made the decision before the race that I wouldn't be giving up. I would keep my body moving unless I was scraped off the asphalt and carried into an ambulance.
This thinking got me through the triathlon. I didn't run the whole time during the 5K, but I kept one foot in front of the other. The bike ride was a 4mile loop that we did 3 times. Two miles of it was uphill and two miles was downhill, and after the first time downhill, I was addicted. The uphill was worth it just to feel the rush of the downhill. My time on the bike was pitiful but I never once stopped that bike. (Mostly because it had these things called toe clips and I was afraid if I took my feet out I'd never get them in again!!) My body continued to move forward even when it was time for the 400 meter swim. This was the portion I wasn't worried about because I learned in my 5am swim practices from high school that I can swim in my sleep. This skill finally came in handy!! I dragged my sweaty, smelly body to the first pool lane and threw myself into the cold water. I was hoping for a Percy Jackson type moment where I would suddenly be revealed as a daughter of Posiden and grow gills or something. Ok, so that didn't happen but I did feel good knowing this part was something I knew without a doubt I could do. My family had come to cheer to me on and my husband was taking pictures as I swam. On my last time through the lanes, I couldn't resist smiling right at the camera as I came up for breath one time. (See ridiculous picture above.) I was almost done and the feeling was amazing.
When I stumbled across that finish line I felt relief and a bit woozy. It was like I was in a fog, but the smile wouldn't leave my face. So what if I finished last in my age group, I was so happy that I finished. My husband kept looking at me funny afterwards and I couldn't figure out what he was thinking until he said, "You did it. I feel disappointed in myself because I didn't even try. You are so much better than me, you are the greatest person in whole world, I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy." (Ok so he never said the italicized portion but I thought it was implied.)
I thought about what he said and realized that's why it felt so good. Because I tried. Writing is like this, how many people talk about stories they have in their head, but never try to write them down? How many of us have books written but think it's too hard to get published so we don't try? How many of us think we can't do justice to the story in our head so we think, "Why bother?" If we try we may or may not succeed, but if we don't try, we DEFINATELY won't succeed. Wouldn't we rather take our chances and try, than be disappointed in ourselves because we didn't?