The experience of competing as a triathlete this past Saturday was yet another opportunity to peel away a layer of fear, doubt, and insecurity from my soul.
Many people have dismissed my journey to this race as "no big deal" because I have run longer distances than anyone else they know. They do not understand my sense of fear because they do not live in the pool (pardon the pun) of self-doubt that I sometimes find myself drowning in.
Last year at the Texas Ironman, I found myself reiterating over and over again how I would NEVER do a tri. I COULD never do a tri. And seeing these amazing men and women who are much stronger than I finish this race only confirmed my thoughts that I could and never would attempt this challenge.
Then just as surely as I was convicted to never attempt a tri, I came to the realization that I did not want to NOT do something because I was so fearful of it. The seed was now planted and the journey began.
I started swimming slowly but consistently in June. After awhile, I found that I rather enjoy it. In fact, I enjoy it tremendously. Competing in swimming is really not something that I feel compelled to do. I use it as a way to counter the miles I put on my legs in running. I embrace the relaxation and recovery that I feel when swimming. Swimming is a wonderful adjunct to running as it is the only activity that I have found that comes even close to the way I feel when I run. If I have a wonky leg or hip, swimming is still an option and typically does not compromise the rest that my legs are requiring.
I also began biking more consistently, just to see what it would feel like to add something else into the mix. Admittedly, so far, I am not a huge fan of cycling, but I don't hate it. I have much more respect for those who do cycle and cycle well. Biking takes a lot of strength and determination much like ultra running does, but in a different way. I hope to develop myself as a stronger cyclist. I plan to start looking for a decent used bike and all of the gear that goes along with it.
From that last statement, one might have guessed that I have decided that I may be in this for longer than one race. And you would be correct. I don't know where this journey will lead me just yet. For now, I am going to take it one step at a time, one race at a time.
I do not plan to give up ultra running; it is who I am. But I also can not acknowledge the potential growth I can see for myself as an athlete through the challenge of triathlons. I was never one to fit into anyone's "box" of what to expect from me. I am a fairly simple person that in the end, just wants to say that I have tried everything I ever wanted to try and never let fear stop me.