Friday, May 16, 2014

If ‘If’s and ‘Buts’ Were Candy and Nuts, We’d All be Triathletes!

I am sure you will soon realize by the proper grammar skills and correct spelling of all the words that I did not write this post. Today's post is from my bride, who is competing in her 1st triathlon on Saturday. Here are her thoughts as she prepares to race this Saturday at the Memphis in May Sprint Triathlon.

So I am finally putting to rest all of those “ifs” and “buts” that prevented me from taking the plunge into triathlons, as in, “if I had more time” or “but I’m not sure I could actually do it.” Now, I’m ready to attempt my first “real” triathlon, Memphis in May sprint, this Saturday. So how the heck did I end up here?

I can only assume( as I usually do) that this is actually all my husband’s fault. Watching him over the years competing in triathlons of all distances – sprint, Olympic, 70.3, and even an Ironman - it was probably inevitable that I would finally bite the proverbial bullet.

Around the time he got serious about triathlons again, we welcomed our third son. So there was no hurry for me to train for my own races. I was more than content to be the cheerleader, child wrangler, and masseuse. I especially enjoyed the venue at Memphis in May because there is a great pool right along the race course. Our 3 boys and I would watch the swim, cheer James on at transition, get in the pool while he was on the bike course, get out and cheer him on at the finish. It’s pretty spectator/kid-friendly.

Maybe I entertained the idea of being out there on the course myself. It did seem like such a rush to cross that finish line. I wondered if I had what it took to do one, but I wasn’t really a runner and the only biking I did was trudging around on my mountain bike with my youngest on front.

But, about 4 years ago, I started running. I've never enjoyed running in any way except for the sprinting we did in 6th grade for the Presidential fitness awards. That I could do. However, Memphis has an amazing running program for women every summer at Shelby Farms, one of my favorite places in Memphis. Hundreds of women participate and it’s broken down into nice categories based on experience. I started with a group of hopeful beginners and surprised myself by enjoying the freedom to head out on Monday nights starting in July and run with other women. I was hooked. I could actually run. I’ve been back every year since and keep moving up a level.

Then I asked for and received a road bike for Christmas. Before that, my biking had pretty much be limited to riding my youngest son on the front of my mountain bike and tootling around. Once I got my new road bike out on the Greenline and rode it, well, I felt a huge sense of freedom. 

And then, there is the swim. I’ve always been a decent swimmer. I was raised by a mother who body-surfed in the ocean when she was eight months pregnant with me. To teach us to swim, she let go of us in the water as toddlers. It was sink or swim, literally. My only concern is that I'm the type of swimmer who doesn't even like to share a lane. Swimming in the open water where it's inevitable to get bumped is going to freak me out a bit. 

I’m Guessing Stopping to Comb my Hair in Transition Would be Frowned on?

So the disciplines were coming together. Then came Valentine’s Day. My darling husband gave me a training plan as a gift. (Crazy, huh?)  And, I was actually excited about it. (Even crazier!) Being able to see in each little square what training I should do each day made me feel like I could give it a go.
The past few months of training have been interesting. I’ve learned that it’s true that we make time for what’s important to us. I’ve always been impressed by James’ ability to balance training and having an engaged family life. Since that often meant getting up at 5 in the morning while training for his 140.6, I could hardly complain about fitting in a 2-mile run.

That’s not to say I didn’t have to be creative. I do still have a 5-year-old at home. So on Mondays, a swim day, I would take Jesse to the Rec. Center with me. He'd go to the childcare while I did an hour of weight-training. Then, I’d swim my laps. After that I’d go get Jesse and we would splash around and swim for a bit. It was a three hour process, but I will never forget having that time with my son.

Other days, I’d wait until my older boys got home from school and then go do my run while they could watch Jesse. If I took Jesse with me on my runs, he’d ride his bike. Once it took us an hour and a half to do 2 miles! We did stop to play on the playground and throw rocks in the creek. Sometimes you have to adapt.
I’ve learned that training can be fun. It’s made me order my days differently trying to fit a specific workout in. For example, I happen to teach a college class at a community college right near our city’s greenline, a 7 mile paved trail. This semester, after I gave my final exam, I  celebrated by changing into my bike kit and hitting the greenline for a refreshing 11 mile ride. (Usually, I reward myself with something like a Gigi’s cupcake and running home to watch a DVRed Sherlock Holmes  before I have to pick my youngest  up from Mother’s Day Out.) Guess which one I now prefer.

I’ve also learned that training makes me feel like a badass, especially wearing my team’s kit. It may sound a little odd to already be part of a racing team when I haven’t proven myself. But, the team I am on is about much more than races. It’s about people, specifically being an encouragement to people with cancer. If you follow this blog, you’ve surely seen James post about Jessica Hambrick who with her husband, James, founded the team GI Jess’s Warriors for a Cause. Even though Jessica entered eternity a month ago, her spirit and her vision and her compassion will live on through this team. She was such an encouragement to so many triathletes and Christians and cancer fighters.

A few weeks ago, the team met at Jessica’s parents’ house to make a plan to go forward. It was there that I bought my Warriors tri top.  Putting it on for the first time made me feel like a triathlete. And wearing it to train as I see people watching me run or bike makes me feel so inspired to represent this team well. I feel like I belong.

And I vow to remember that when the doubt and worry creeps in. The “Can I do this?” “What was I thinking?”  “Can people tell I’m a newbie?” voices will be drowned out by the “Warrior Up” yell I know Jessica would give me. I will! 

1 comment:

  1. Follow up! She did great, finished in 1:39! She came into T2 yelling, "this is awesome!", which was a relief, glad she wasn't cussing me! Very proud of her!


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