isupportredfridays_edited-1 Join me by wearing red on red shirt Friday! Pray for my brother-in-law's safe return as well as the rest of our troops!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Why I Do Triathlons

Someone asked me last week why I would possibly put myself through all of this and by "all of this" she meant triathlon.

At first when she asked me, I thought about the pain that I sometimes feel when I do it and the distances I do and thought, honestly? I don't know why.

And then as I began to mentally prepare for the 70.3 that cometh next weekend, I realized, that I do know why I do them, it began by my own stubbornness but then turned into something that wasn't about triathlon at all.

But rather about my life.

For years and years I've lived within my own boundaries. My own confines. My own limitations. My own head.

I've listened to people when they told me what I can and cannot do. I've listened to the limitations that society sometimes gives a "woman" or a "teenager" or a "20-something" or a "mother" and a "mother of two" and with each title that changed, the limitations have changed but I have very often lived within them. And if I didn't live within them, I lived with them in my back pocket or in my subconscious and lived cautiously outside of them, never wandering quite far, just far enough to be comfortable but not far enough to be a rebel.

Then, one day, when I began to run, it made me feel free.

As much as it hurt, it gave me a finish line and with each finish line I crossed, it freed me some more.

Then when someone questioned me when I thought about trying a triathlon, it was one of the first times ever I chose not to live within those confines and I chose to live stubbornly OUT LOUD outside those confines.

And with each bike ride and with each swim and with each run and with each milestone I had reached in going further than I ever had, I began to break down those confines altogether. Every last one. Every one of them up until that very day and every one of them ever since.

And every time I pushed the boundaries, the air smelled fresher, the sun shone brighter and my eyes began to open as my life became fuller. I began to sing louder and roll down the windows and let the wind blow through my hair.

Because, all of a sudden, it wasn't about triathlon.

It was about the boundaries.

Someone told me I couldn't or I shouldn't.

And I was stubborn and I did.

It's really that simple.

You see, for me, triathlon became a metaphor for my life.

Because triathlon allows you to break your own boundaries, push your own limits, and when you experience those things you begin to live your life fuller and free-er than you have ever in your life imagined.

But the best part is that something that once seemed so impossible suddenly became possible and that feeling doesn't remain within the confines of triathlon, it empowers you within your outside life and allows you to say things like, "Yes, I deserve this." and "Yes, I can do that." and "No, you cannot tell me that I cannot, I will not hear of you telling me I cannot because yes I most certainly can (if you didn't hear me before)."

I suddenly have permission to live.

Triathlon gave me that.

Then something even more amazing happened, that feeling began to spread like a wonderful contagious disease, it goes from person to person to your children and your family and then all of a sudden they begin to believe you too that there are no limitations and then they begin to live outside their own boundaries and then you begin to set people around you free and even that is freeing! For everyone involved!

You see, there are no limitations!

And triathlon is my way of telling myself so!

There may be a day when I cannot do triathlons, but that will be ok (well, not really...)

But it will be ok because triathlon already shared with me its greatest gift.

The gift of living.

I live now.

Triathlon may just be a sport, but for me it was a vehicle and it may not be everyone's vehicle but in this life, it was mine.

And that's why I do them.


Kirsten said...

Have I mentioned that I totally have a girl crush on you? Because I love you to pieces. Seriously. I was scrapbooking at a friend's house this evening and printed out pictures from my races this year. I have one that T took at the Victory party. You, me, and ChristyM. dancing and rawking out and CELEBRATING the lack of boundaries.

I felt this today - this lack of boundaries. I went to my friend's house because she agreed to watch my girls while I went out for a 14 mile run. (Both T and my parents are out of town.) And she, and two other friends supported me, but think I'm crazy for training for this marathon.

And had you asked me a year ago I would have said "hell no" about doing a marathon. And deep in my heart I know that DisneyWorld will not be my last marathon. Because I can and will continue to run and enjoy the miles and my boundary-less hours of running and muscle fatigue and sometime, yes even pain, Because they make me stronger, not only physically but mentally.

And if it wasn't for you signing up for WDW, I know I might never have committed to a full marathon. I might have stayed where it was "safe" at the half-marathon level. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it was safe. I know I can go finish a half. A full takes a different level of commitment. It's pushing my boundaries.

I'm proud of you, proud of us. You're my sole sister.

Roo said...

Very interesting perspective. I hope my back can heal so I can start pushing boundaries. Dave asked me the other day why I was so sad. My answer? Because I want to run and I can't. I want to push boundaries. I want to live. And I want to have something just for me.

AnnG said...

Love this!! Thanks for being a wonderful example to me and "pushing" me outside of my "boundary" so I could do what I am doing for my next 5k!!

Brooke said...

you are incredible. and an inspiration to us all. i thought about you today while my dad and i watched the nyc marathon. about how you watch old Ironman races to get pumped up. I consider myself so blessed to be cyber friends with someone who encourages me to push my boundaries. and I can't wait to consider you an IRL friend :)

Pubsgal said...

Beautifully written! I hear ya - triathlon has done that for me, too. And you've been so amazingly inspiring to me, not only to push my boundaries fitness-wise, but to find ways to use my powers for good. :-) Your site theme was well-chosen!

P.S. - Can't WAIT to read about your half-Ironman experience!!!

The Project Author said...

Well said...this was a beautiful post!

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My Favorite Quotes

"Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it." - Bill Cosby

I tri because one day I didn't believe in myself. And then one day I did.

"I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of a man is to live, not to exist." - Jack London

Some people think it's holding on that makes one strong- sometimes it's letting go.

"Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make History."- Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

Live life PASSIONATELY, laugh OUT LOUD, love UNCONDITIONALLY. - from my spoon rest.

"The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire." - Ferdinand Foch