How is a Tri like life? Let me count the ways.....Insights from an exhausted, but inspired triathlete.
1. Encouragement - While calmly treading water and waiting for the horn to sound, all the ladies were talking to each other. At one point behind me, someone hollered out, "Good luck everyone! See you at the finish line!" Several calls of Good Luck went back her direction and then around to each other. I thought of that later in the day. I thought about the pre-existence. Did we call out "Good luck! See you at the finish!"? Did we send each other off to this big bad world with smiles, hugs, high fives, and words of encouragement? I like to think so. And if we did, what happened? Too many times we are quick to be critical and disparaging in our comments. Why didn't you? How come your aren't? You really should... You really shouldn't......Instead, of cheering each other on, oftentimes we find ourselves bashing, judging, criticizing and outright holding each other back. We gotta get out of that mode friends. We have to get back to cheering each other on and offering a whole lot more encouragement.
2. Support - In the swim portion, there were many support people. Lot's of Mr.Canoe's I call them. Just staying close by in case you needed them, but they were not allowed to help in any fashion. A swimmer had to complete the swim unaided or face a penalty or disqualification. Isn't life like that? We are here to do this journey for ourselves. No one can do it for us. However, we have lot's of resources at hand. People close by that we can call for assistance. Even if it's just to hold on for a second while I catch my breath. And then we can keep going on our personal journey's.
3. Seeing to the needs of others above our own - Splenda reported to me that in an earlier wave in the lake, a gentleman came ashore very pale, shaky and in obvious distress. Two fellow swimmers STOPPED to assist him. Remember this was a race. They gave up their precious moments in their times to make sure this man was okay. Once the EMT's reached him, they quickly hurried on. I witnessed a biker stop to help a woman with a flat. Who knows how many minutes that cost him. But I am inspired by their acts of unselfishness. They saw the bigger picture. They put themselves aside to care for the needs of another.
4. You never know what's around the corner - During the run portion, I mentioned hills. Well, one particular hill was not to be seen until you turned a corner and then there it was! No time to look ahead, see it coming and step up your game to tackle it. Isn't life like that? We just never know what is around the corner. We have to stay ready for anything. Both physically, mentally and spiritually. Some "hills" in life, we get the luxury of a glimpse or some sort of knowledge that it's coming, but others hit us blindly and hit us hard. We gotta stay on our toes and be ready.
5. A well balanced life - In a Tri, there are three portions. The swim, the bike and the run. One has to be prepared for all three. A participant HAS to train for all three. Life certainly is a balancing act. We need to keep all aspects trained and ready. Our physical selves, our mental selves and most importantly, our spiritual selves. A triathlon isn't a triathlon without all three portions. Our lives are more complete when we learn to balance our three selves.
6. Extra baggage can drag us hold us back - Okay, little TMI here, but when I started the run, I needed to poop. That just added to my already difficult situation with having jello for legs, and physically nothing left in me. Having that extra (I'm sure 2 lbs) of crap in my gut really did affect me. It's the same in our lives. If we have unrepented sins, hate, grudges, all those things will hold us back in our progression. Sure we might move forward but certainly not at a pace or gait that we are capable of. We need to unload that baggage so that we can our optimum selves.
7. Too often we are quick to judge others and ourselves unfairly - During the waiting period for the swim, Splenda and I both noticed a woman who seemed out of place. She was quite large, and instead of a wetsuit like 99% of the other participants, she was in a sports bra and swim bottoms. Though neither of us said anything to the other at the time, we both had the same thought "She seems ill prepared." Well guess what? She KILLED the swim. She did it, came out of the water as one of the first ones and seemed to be just fine. No wobbling around for her! We gotta stop the quick judgements of each other. You know, those judgements where we find others lacking?
By the same token, what about ourselves? Just as I was finishing the bike portion, I heard "on your left" so I knew I was getting passed. I glanced at the passer, and noticed that on his leg was 62 (age) and an O for Olympic distance. I.was.deflated. Not only was I getting passed, but by a 62 YEAR OLD MAN WHO JUST BIKED TWICE THE DISTANCE!!!! I came into the transition area and passed his station. I made the comment, "Wow, I can't believe I just got passed by a 62 year old dude! Man you rock, and I clearly suck!" He looked up at me, smiled and said, "Don't worry about it honey, I got DQ'd from the swim." Wha?? He didn't finish the swim? But you know what? I did. How's about we cut ourselves some slack once in awhile instead of the constant self destructive talk that we as women especially like to do?
There are lessons to be learned. Every day. All around us. We just have to look. We have to be in tune with our own personal spiritual self to learn just the lessons that we individually need. For me, I have come to realize that the adrenaline rush, the people I meet and the lessons I learn while competing in some event or another is the way I gain truth. Yes, I gain it as well with my organized religion, but I also think that life is full of opportunities to grow, gain knowledge, and become better people, if we will step and and take them.
My final stats (Sprint Division):
Total time: 2:05:27.59
Swim time: 32:04.187
T1 time: 5:01.884
Bike time: 54:24.412
T2 time: 1:54.341
Run time: 32:02.772
26th out of 29 in my age division
172 out of 192 overall women
369 out of 401 overall participants (not counting DNF and DNS)
44 people either Did Not Finish or Did Not Show
Was it my best showing ever? Hardly. BUT, the lessons I learned today, will be with me forever, and really, that's what counts right? I can live with this.