One year ago, I signed on board with a few friends to compete in a Triathlon, relay style, Labor Day Weekend of 2008. I was to do the swim portion, Aaron would bike 20K, and Ann would then run 5K. Of course back then, I got many warnings that one could DIE swimming in a triathlon. Little did the giver of those warnings know, but that just makes me want to do it more. Tell me I cannot do something and I will prove I can!
So I began the road of swim lessons and many hours spent at the Y trying to make sure I could actually swim 500 meters straight. Well the weekend arrived last week and my team, complete with cheerleaders (Yay Adam, Leann, Mom, Laurie and Larry), and Jen’s team showed up at the triathlon, ready to go. Then I saw the lake, and the buoys, and how far away they were from each other. Then the announcer told us where I had to swim around, thank GOD is wasn’t ALL the buoys I saw out there!! I wasn’t saying much. I looked pretty calm. Aaron, Ann, Jen, and all the rest asked how I was doing. My standard answer was “I’m good!” However, my internal answer was…^%@!@&&*@&%&. The more I talk about how nervous I am, the worse it gets. So it is much better for me to put my game face on than be honest. Now that it is over….I was very nervous. But in reality, I was more nervous about making it up the hill after swimming than I was about the swim. I mean come on…it is sooo NOT FAIR to make people get out of the water and run up a hill on rubber legs in their swimsuits. But who says that Triathlons were meant to be fair!
In the end, I swam the distance, with my own personal lifeguard puttering along next to me. He says he is the chase car in a marathon. His job was to swim with the last person in the water. So I guess you now know how quickly I swam…not quick! My first 10 minutes were rough. But that is how it always is…I wanted to quit to say the least. But how does one quit in a Lake. At the pool, you grab a wall and hang on. In a lake your choices are limited. Turn around, swim on, or get hauled out. Getting hauled out was not an option for me because the ONLY way I would allow that was if I was dead…and frankly I wasn’t up for dying. Turning around was not an option either because when I wanted to quit it was equally far to turn around and swim back as it was to keep going and finish. Not to mention the fear of failure and the shame that would go along with it.
As I approached the finish, I see a man in the water just beyond the finish line. I hear cheering…yes I have fans 🙂 Then I notice the man in the water is a friend of mine who had already finished his swim…He came back for me. TO cheer me in, and to conquer the hill with me. I was not alone. Talk about no man being left behind. I felt very very loved. Together we made it up the hill and I was able to get my electronic chip that keeps track of our times passed off to Aaron so he could go off on the bike. Then and only then, was I finally able to breathe…and begin to wonder will I even recognize Aaron when he comes in on the bike. What was he wearing? What color is his helmet? Is he wearing sun glasses or not? How will I know to cheer like crazy when he comes in? SO I went and changed then stood near his siblings. Because I was for SURE that they of all people would recognize him…and when they cheered, I would cheer.
He did great, despite a mechanical failure on the bike. His seat dropped when he sat on it, so he rode a bike that was not fitted right for him and with a seat that was wobbling. Despite all that, he still spent less time on the bike than Virg. Yes it is a small victory and probably the only competitive victory for our team of the day, but a victory nonetheless.
He came in, and yes I recognized him…and Ann took off to finish strong on the running.
All in all, we decided we wanted to do it again next year, but the longer version. So next year, I add 500 meters on and will swim a total of 1000 meters. I am so glad they want me back on their team again:-)
And on a side note: I am beginning to see a theme in my fears. My fears have nothing to do with the event itself, but with what I might look like doing the event(valid-see photos), or how others might perceive it(not valid, they want me back), or the not being able to do it(not valid, I did it!).
Click the link to see our results if you care to see them. 🙂