So admittedly I am not an athlete. I walk – fast – but I walk. I’m not really sure what came over me when I announced in front of a group of women cancer survivors last February that I was going to do the Danskin Triathalon in 2012. It felt great to make that statement. And then fear creeped in. This post is about that fear – recognizing it, acknowledging it, fighting it, and doing it over and over again.
I didn’t realize just how big a commitment a triathalon was when I went to the first group meeting in May 2012. I was one of two newbies and sat next to a 70+ woman who does one a month. Talk about intimidating. Still, I felt I could do anything. I made it through surgery and chemo – a triathalon should be a piece of cake! Wrong idea number 1.
Wrong idea number 2 was thinking that my 20 year old Sears bike would be just fine for my 15 mile rides. I wasn’t willing to spend a lot of money on something I wasn’t sure I was even going to make it through (fear is starting to creep in). But biking was an incredible high. I loved it and felt in control, except in traffic, on sharp curves, or steep hills. But still … I made the commitment and bought a lighter bike. Still not high end, but it made a difference to me.
Wrong idea number 3 was the one that almost put me over the edge. Swimming. I know how to swim. I swim. Just not very often and not very far. Jumped in that lake in mid-June and swam out to the kayak and grabbed a float and went right back. Made it one lap. I thought okay, I can do this. Tried it again. Started having a hard time getting my breath. Especially on Monday night swim practices and Saturday full practices. After a month of total stress, I acknowledged that I was not going to make the swim. Total relief. No more pounding heart. No more struggling to get my breath. Just relief.
But I still wanted to do the triathlon. Another training partner just found out she would not be able to run or bike due to injuries, so we partnered – she handled the swim and I did the bike and the run/walk. I felt so powerful and alive when I crossed that finish line! It didn’t matter that I ‘only’ did two of the events – I did it, I wasn’t last, I didn’t crash, I felt incredible! And I committed to doing it again in 2013. And this time, I would swim!