Yesterday morning, Emily, Melanie, and I congregated with about a thousand other women at the fitness center in American Fork for their women-only sprint triathlon. After all my careful doube0checking, I did remember all the crucial things to have- swimsuit, bike helmet, running shoes- and most of the nonessentials, too. It was a beautiful sunshiney morning, the one sunny day sandwiched in between all the rainy ones. Perfect triathlon weather.
My goal was to complete the race and to complete it without coming to a complete stop at any point in time. And I succeeded. I didn't love it the whole time, but there's enough of a competitive spark in me that even when I was wondering why I wanted to do this, I was still observing the people around me and making sure I kept pace as much as I could.
A few things stand out in my mind as pivotal in this event. First, the sheer triumph of knowing that I have the strength to do something like a sprint triathlon. I remember being in high school and dealing with Candidas (which has symptoms very similar to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) and having to go home and sleep for long periods of time just to have the energy to get through the remaining school day. Or being a college student and not being able to carry my backpack across campus all the time because of the searing pain behind my ribcage when I wore too much weight.
Yesterday that familiar pain behind my right shoulder blade made an appearance on the run- the final stretch of the race. I was frustrated and annoyed at first, and went from a jog to a walk for a while. But then I realized that the pain hadn't been there for several months, even with the increased activity I've been doing. And then I celebrated- in a sweaty, tired kind of way.
A second thing that made an impact on me was the support of friends and strangers both. No one was at the race to cheer for me- Kerstin was going to come but ended up going to a funeral instead. But she stayed up on Wednesday night and made me a special triathlon support sign for my door, and she texted me on Saturday morning before the race to let me know she was cheering me on. And there were people along the race route who cheered for everyone- some in a rather placid manner, but some with a large dose of ebullience. There were kids who held out their hands on the 5k route to give us five as we ran past. There was one little girl who jumped up and down every time someone ran past calling, "good job! Good job!" And I hope all those people know how much they boosted my spirits along the way. I'm so independent in most of my life that I almost forget just how much I love getting that support and cheering from people. But it always makes a difference.
Lastly, afterward when I was talking energetically with Mel and Em and we made plans to2 do it again, I realized yet again how lucky I've been to find such good friends, who not only have interests like mine but give me opportunities to improve and excel in those interests. We are making plans to go back to Cedar City for some Shakespeare this summer and climb a few mountains and go on a few campouts. And now I am on a new topic- Summer Plans- that could fill a while nother blog post, so I will save that for another day and conclude by saying that I am very glad that I completed my first triathlon and I'm excited to do another one.