Archive | July, 2009

Part 2: Swim Lessons

30 Jul

And then suddenly I wasn’t standing on the edge anymore. I was swimming.

And just as suddenly, I inhaled a huge mouthful of lake water and any ease I felt about my strength as a swimmer disappeared. I was choking. And trying to swim. With 30 other people. And they were all around me. And I was still choking. And I was tired. More than a little freaked out. And only 15 seconds into the 1/2 mile swim. Oh God.

I flipped over onto my back to get my face out of the water. I couldn’t stop coughing on the water I had swallowed. Why hadn’t I practiced swimming more? Twice?! In a calm, clear, seaweed-free pool?! Was I kidding myself thinking that was enough? I was suddenly so shaken and could feel exhaustion creep into my body. I looked up, saw that the first buoy I had to swim to was still incredibly far away, and realized that I needed to get. it. together. Or I would never make it. So I calmed myself down and just focused on doing what needed to be done. Which was mainly: a) staying afloat and b) moving closer to the finish.

It was ridiculously tiring. I felt like part of the time I was swimming, but mostly I was surviving. I think I invented some pretty nifty swim strokes in my effort to simply make it through. That was the longest half mile of my life. When I was finally done, I was so happy to be out of the water that despite how tired I was, I ripped off my swim cap and goggles and ran up the beach with renewed energy, waving enthusiastically to my mom when I spotted her on the sidelines. I was just so happy to be alive and on dry land, and to have the hardest part of the tri behind me that I felt like doing cartwheels. After the swim, the bike seemed like it would be an absolute breeze.

Part 1: I did it!

30 Jul

I did it! The triathlon is over. I kicked its ass.

Friday and Saturday I was buzzing with nervous energy. I was so anxious, not nervous, but anxious, that I couldn’t figure out what to do with myself. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that the tri was Sunday….it seemed so surreal. I had been preparing for so long for that day that I almost forgot the day would actually come. But suddenly, there it was. And I could barely breathe.

But once Audrey picked me up on Saturday to head to orientation and registration, the calm that I had been hoping for started to settle over me. I knew I had prepared for this, mentally and physically, every day since I made the decision to do it. I knew I was ready, not just by the fact that I now owned a triathlon suit, bike helmet and race number belt, but by the fact that I had not a shadow of a doubt that I would accomplish exactly what I set out to do.

This calmness carried throughout Saturday into Sunday. It was exactly what I was hoping I would feel. I slept well the night before, I woke up without butterflies in my stomach. I was amped up, thats for sure, but in a very determined, even-keeled way. I wasn’t nervous at all. I was just ready to go. Bring it on, triathlon!

We left the hotel and headed to the race site to set up our transition areas. The number of bikes lining the rows was pretty incredible. There were so many people, and we had so much time to kill before our swim waves started. Normally these would be anxiety-inducing factors. Yet somehow I still wasn’t nervous. Just ready.

At 8:15, I entered the (freezing cold!) water with my swim wave. 30 or so girls in yellow swim caps, all about my age, all about to do what I was about to do. I can’t tell you what their journeys were to get to that moment. I only know mine. And I made myself think of it as I stood there waiting for the horn to blow. This is it, I thought. Here it is. You are standing on the edge of your moment.

2 Days

24 Jul

I’ve been trying to write a post. I really have. And I really want to. I just don’t know what to say.

This has been such a long journey with so many great moments, so many accomplishments and so much change. So much of it unexpected. So much of it beyond what I imagined. And the goal, the culmination of all my hard work, dedication and unwavering focus, is two days away. It’s an overwhelming feeling. It’s exciting. And I’m a big ball of nervous energy right now.

I know two things in this moment.

One. I did everything I set out to do and so, so much more. I couldn’t be more amazed at how different every single thing in my life is.

And two. On Sunday I will become a triathlete.

Thank you.

9 Jul

It’s impossible to get through life without the help of those around you. Not necessarily because you couldn’t, but because you just don’t. Help comes, sometimes unspoken, in hundreds of large and small ways, all the time.

Maybe it’s only me that takes each step when I go for a run- no one is physically helping me move my legs. Maybe my motivation comes from something inside me- no one tells me what to do. Maybe this whole thing is about me- my idea, my plan, my goal. After all, didn’t I say that the whole reason I chose this goal was that it had nothing to do with anyone else, only me?

But that does not mean that no one is helping me. Each and every step I’ve taken– both literally and figuratively– has been backed by the support of so many wonderful people. Could I have done it without them? Yes. But did they help me do it? Absolutely. I could have done it without them, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Sometimes getting help seems like a bad thing- like you can’t do something on your own. But that’s not true. When people want to help you and support you not because you asked for it, or even because you need it…it’s a wonderful thing.

So. I moved my own feet. And here’s to some of the people who made that possible.

Amelia. I have no idea how I have not mentioned you here before, because without you no one would not be reading these words. You’re the one who put the blog bug in my head, and I am so thankful. Besides that, you’ve been one of my most positive supporters, and have listened to my crazy thoughts more times than I can count. Thank you so, so much.

Audrey, your seemingly crazy idea to do a 5K before the tri has changed my life tremendously. Thanks for patiently re-teaching me how to swim and for always having the sweetest most encouraging things to say. Thank you. Because of you, I will not drown.

Callie and Wayne, I don’t care if you hate your blog names. I love you. Thank you for running with me. And thank you for always being truly happy for me, and for believing in me and in every aspect of my future.

Lola. I cannot imagine what the past few months would have been like without you. I would have definitely puked before the first 5K (and it might have been my last), maybe even cut out of the gym early some days and would not have given myself over to the idea of dating as easily. And I would have had a lot less fun. I don’t know how else to say how happy I am that you came on this journey with me….thanks for being the yin to my yang.

James….it’s still beyond words. Thanks for reading this, understanding me, and then doing something amazing. You made me realize that it is possible to do something for yourself that can truly reach other people. And speaking of beyond words– thank you for the bubble.

Piz, you believe in my words with such a conviction that I can really see myself on Oprah someday. I promise I’ll figure out a way to get you on camera too 🙂 Thanks for training with me, for coming to see me run, and oh yeah, for being the best brother in the whole wide world.

Mom & Dad, thank you for… everything. For being there. For believing in me. For laughing when I told you I was going to do a triathlon, because it reminds me how far I’ve come.

I just had to say all these thank you’s now, because I’m hopping on a plane to Mexico in the morning and I know that once I get back they days will fly by and it will suddenly be the day of the triathlon. I wanted to say these thank you’s before then so that when I cross the finish line each of you will know the role you played in getting me there and the gratitude I have for it. Because let’s face it, I’ll probably be so exhausted I won’t be able to breathe or form a coherent thought to thank you then.

I can’t wait! 16 days!

2 Jul

Yesterday was a really hot day and the sun was blazing, so naturally that was the day I had to leave work to take a trip to a local historical society to get some images for a project we’re working on. Whatever idea you have in your head of a historical society, I bet you’re right. It was just like that. Hot, lots of stuff, old smells, and no fresh air to breathe. I didn’t even have a chance to recover because when I got back to work I found out this was also the day that the air conditioner decided to break. I spent the last two hours of work trying to cool myself down. It was not just that it was hot. It was that it was stuffy. It was stifling. By the time I walked out at 5pm, I felt like I could barely breathe.

I got into my car (which was even hotter and more suffocating) and the feeling didn’t go away. Even after the air conditioning kicked in. Even after I drank a bunch of water. Even once I was halfway home. The feeling seemed disproportionate to the actual temperature displayed on my dashboard. It was making me nervous. Panicky. And then I realized– this is what I used to feel like every day.

I had to give that thought a moment. Wow. I used to feel this way all the time. In the winter, having nothing to do with the heat. On a normal day, when nothing in particular was wrong. My mind’s own constant revolution would cause the elephant to creep up and sit on my chest. Or it just never left. I could never breathe.

I don’t know how I got that way.

I don’t know how I got this way.

But thank God.