Monday, March 18, 2013

Life Lessons from Triathlon


Have you ever been so terrified that you wanted to cry and vomit at the same time? You shake uncontrollably? Your fight or flight area of your brain has been activated and screams, "Run for the hills!" But your bowels protest screaming, "Run for the porta potty instead!"

Welcome to triathlon my friend. Defined, triathlon is a swim followed by a bike followed by a run. All in one day.

I read somewhere that triathletes are classified as narcissists and masochists rolled into one crazy little package. Anybody not associated with this sport can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would ever want to do such a thing.

My journey into this insanity began 6 years ago. It changed my life and how I look at it forever.

I joined an all women's triathlon team. The voice inside my head told me I didn't measure up to these elite athletes. I had absolutely no business even thinking about it! What I actually experienced was quite different. These women came in all shapes and sizes. Varying fitness levels and ages that spanned across the board. Lots of professional women and busy moms just like me. Hallelujah! We all had similar fears and some negative self talk. We were all here for many different reasons. However we all shared one common goal. To see what our glorias bodies were made of. And how far we could mentally be pushed. Most of these women had accomplished so much in their lives and were still looking for something more.

For the last 6 years we've trained together miraculous things started happening. Our bodies were going from soft and weak to fit and strong. We were getting faster in all three sports. Mentally when you didn't think you had anymore to give there would be our coach screaming at us,"Yes, I know you have more in you now give it to me!!" And some how we did have more to give.

We spent many training sessions scared out of our wits to enter the 60 degree ocean with large rumbling waves for our mile swim. Our backs screaming in agony after a 70 mile ride only to end with a mind numbing 6 mile run. We cried and laughed and cheered together. Always pushing each other to be the best we could possibly be.

We travelled long distances to races together. Packed 6 girls in one hotel room with all our bikes because we were afraid someone would steal them before the race.

Always on race day the mood was somber. Supporting those of us having per race jitters or a panic attack or just an old fashioned nervous breakdown. We talk about forbidden subjects such as gastro intestinal problems and other unmentionable bodily functions. If one of our girls went down during a race we stopped no question about it.

The most magical part of the race is the finish line. Making your way down the finishers shoot toward the finish line and seeing all your teammates there cheering you on. It's an out of body experience. In a flash it all comes down to this glorious moment that is all about you. All the months of blood, sweat  and tears have brought you to this point. All the joys and agony you have shared with with these women. It's absolutely pure unconditional love for each other. You are forever bonded by this experience. As you cross the finish line with the crowd cheering you on like a rockstar, suddenly you know why you do this and what it took to get you there.

These are all the reasons I do triathlon and why it's changed my life forever. I now have the confidence to approach any situation in my life, not with fear but a good training plan. I know I can do anything. It probably won't be as scary either!

Edwine Gains says, "You must do one thing a year that scares the s...t out of you!" Well Edwine, Accomplished!

As far as the beautiful women who are my team mates go I couldn't and wouldn't do this crazy sport without them. We are like sisters now. These women are all angels in disguises of workout clothes, tennis shoes and bike helmets. Every now and then you can catch a glimpse of a wing sticking out of the back of their team jersey as they race past you.

I am the luckiest crazy person in the UNIVERSE!! Please come and join us one day. We are always looking for new angels to add to the team.