What I have discovered…
As my triathlon training picks up, more running, bike riding and swimming than I have done in my entire life, I thought it would be good to give a report on how it’s going….
I can honestly say it’s going well, apart from the aches and pains that come from exercising a body that has been sedentary for a while. In fact it’s been quite a revelation.
Yet I realise that what I have learned so far has nothing whatever to do about intervals and strokes and cycle revs. Rather it has everything to do with being human, and about life.
So let me go through my list of things I have discovered.
Firstly I have learnt the art of patience, or at least been reminded of it. From waiting for my body to catch up with my enthusiasm, to waiting for the person next to me to enter the water, to waiting for our practise triathlon to start, we are in a waiting game. I think that’s what I am actually enjoying most, feeling the changes, and embracing the journey. Even if I want to lose weight now!!!!! We or myself more specifically rush around day and night, so that there is very little waiting. Yet I think waiting is good, it leaves room for inspirational thoughts or even no thoughts, when we might actually notice someone else or something else. Like that person that just needs a listening ear, like the wind blowing on our face or how the sun feels as it warms us!
Secondly I have learnt that coming last is not the end of the world. I am not a great swimmer or runner, and the bike riding… Well I am one of the few with a mountain bike, fitted with incredibly fat wheels and a very heavy frame. Not me, the bike! Needless to say no matter how fast I pedal or how much energy I put in to the cycle, I am always absolutely last. As the girls with super bikes or the super girls with ordinary bikes slip past, I pedal, and pedal and pedal. When I went to the first session it worried me, as our competitive world has left its mark on me. I can’t be last!!! Yet I have since embraced my lastness, again because it is not about what the others are capable of, but what I am capable of, and I think I am doing a pretty good job. Luckily on the day there will be so many women around me, who will notice and who will care. Again it’s the journey and it’s great to be open and honest and encouraging of others..
The third thing I have learnt is about looks. While I confess to wanting to look the part, with triathlon suits, snazzy goggles and fancy shoes, I am left with target shorts, old gym shoes and a swimming hat kindly given to me by one of my new swimming friends. And as for the body!!! Well I dream of being a size 8, tanned and goddess like, I unfortunately look like a 54 year old woman, who has been out to dinner just one too many times. In my dreams I can run a marathon without sweating but in real life I look like a dishevelled mess. Again it doesn’t matter, it’s the journey, and it’s one that I am taken with lots of women, tall and thin, short and fat, old and young. Fashion and television and advertising suggest we should look and do certain things. No, we are to be ourselves….
And finally my last revelation is about community. How community can spring up so quickly and in the most unlikely places. This type of community has been termed an incidental community by some, where it comes together for a purpose and then its members go their separate ways once the purpose is over. But we should not deny the value of such communities in our lives. They enrich us even if it is momentarily. We live our lives, full of these moments. Moments when we gather with others, share good times and painful times, and maybe even achieve something quite special together. Either way it is very good for one’s mental health and physical wellbeing. Temporary or not.
And often incidental communities develop into something more. I think those in this triathlon training may be one such group. There is something about women, lots of women, who come together with a common goal, who support one another, even cheering when we all finish an incredibly demanding running session that warms my heart. I know that after this journey is over many will remain friends. Even if I don’t do another triathlon in my life!!!
So in closing this update, I can say that the things that are being revealed to me in between the sweat and the pain are life giving. They will enhance my life and the lives of others. For the triathlon road is long, and we need encouragement, enthusiasm, support, patience, kindness and companions along the way.
Much like in life.
The 3 Amigos at our practise triathlon!