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The Next Time For Everything

17 Mar

What happens when you thought you gave it everything, but realized you had some left in the tank?

I don’t think this has happened to me in a race … like ever. I give it 100%. That’s a lesson I learned in sports, relationships, and life. No half measures, because then everything is off. And I thought that was embedded in my brain, my conscience.

I thought I had it.

I thought I was prepared … until it started raining.

 

 

 

 

The unexpected has always turned things upside down and tested whether I could adapt to the social conditions. And I’m not gonna lie … it sort of put a chink in my chain. For safety reasons, like creating an avalanche of cyclists tumbling onto the pavement and requiring ambulance transportation, I sided with caution. A slower pace so that I would not injure my already clumsy body.

However, I had reserved more in the tank than I really needed, and was unaware of how much until I crossed the finish line. I was all smiles and breathing normally. I wasn’t tired at all, but during the course of events I definitely felt the weight of my muscles and the rapid pace of my breath, especially during the swim. But once I crossed I wasn’t as tired as I thought I’d be, or as I’d seen other athletes become. I thought to myself, perhaps I was just really well-conditioned, but then I saw my time and realized I could’ve gone faster during the cycling portion. I mean with slick roads and rain, there’s still a safe way to go fast. Unfortunately I was unaware of it.

I was disappointed in that fact. But I was grateful and proud to have accomplished so much. I was happy that during the running portion I passed the elite-looking triathletes with their stretchy pants and six-pack abs. While they walked, I ran. I never walked, not even during the incline, and that’s something I took pride in, but for some reason the bike killed me.

Now granted, maybe I should have prepared a bit more, conditioned my quads for that cycling movement and prepared my butt muscles for the bike seat. But I should have stepped it up on race day, regardless of the rain.

Now normally finishing a sprint triathlon in a little over an hour and half seems pretty badass for me, but I couldn’t help be a little disappointed in my time. I didn’t think I was going slow, but then again I don’t remember hauling ass either.

A tough lesson for any athlete to learn. But I got it. Reminder … check! So for the next race I’ll be ready to end it like an Olympian.

I was still proud of my achievement, as were my kids, but I felt the pang in my stomach when it was over knowing full well that I had some juice left in the tank. It wasn’t a dump-gatorade-on-my-head worthy moment. But the universe was making sure I listened next time. And not just the “next time” of a race, but the next time I wake up in the morning and I say ‘I got this!”, the next time I write a story, the next time I’m in full fledged morning routine, the next time I’m a friend, the next time I’m in parenthood existence, the next time for everything.

So now I know … haul ass during the bike ride.

Buen Camino my friends.

 

Just-Do-It Character Even With Saucony Shoes

29 Jun

Even though the miles were the same and the landscape didn’t change, running through it, biking through it, and swimming through it made me different every time.

I don’t do it to lose weight, to work on my non-existent six-pack, or to post pictures with you-should-be-doing-this type of headlines in order shame or guilt moms with kids who are barely trying to survive ’till 7 p.m. I do it because it makes me feel good. It’s become part of my lifestyle, part of the routine that makes me feel like me, like that 2.0 version of yourself that’s always been there, the kind that comes out in a Just Do It commercial, the one that you produced.

Although I wish I didn’t have to recover with Alleve and BenGay the next day. But that’s what happens. You can’t fool your bones. They know you’re 39. They know it and they’re passing the message along to your muscles.

But regardless of how much menthol-smelling cream I need for my aches and pains the awesomeness I feel when I cross the finish line at the TinMan Triathlon keeps me going for at least a week or two. Even though I didn’t finish first, second, third, or even in the top 10, I still felt like a champion.

The hills were tough, but I kept going. Biking Devil’s Canyon was brutal, but I kept climbing. It kicked my ass, most definitely but I kept pedaling. And the swimming … well the swimming was so much better this time. Can’t say anything about the swimming, I felt like Michael Phelps. But no matter how challenging the other parts of the race were I kept going. I got the Just Do It vibe in me, even though I was sporting my Saucony running shoes.

And the thing I realized is that I passed that on to my son.

I was super proud of that fact. Proud of the fact that my son kept going after the lady handing out water during the running leg tripped him. Proud of the fact that after he fell hard, really hard on gravely road, he still got up. He scraped up his knee and the elbow was in need of some Neosporin and Band-Aids, but he didn’t give up. He needed a minute, but then he kept going, on to the biking phase, the swimming leg, and finally sprinting, not jogging or walking, but pumping his little arms and sprinting the last 20 yards to the finish line.

And I was there to watch him do it.

He raised his hands up in victory as they gave him his TinMan medal.

I was proud of his athletic accomplishment, but even prouder of his character, because he had Just Do It Character. Gatorade-commercial worthy character.

Yeah, this year the miles and scenery were the same, just like last year, and the year before that. But when we finished the race, we both had something different. I’m holding onto that for a while. I’m hoping he does too.

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