Sorry to keep y'all in the dark about this, but I was so nervous that I didn't want to share and then back out. For those of you that have been following our blog, you know that last year I started training for the Montgomery half-marathon in honor of the girls. Well, that just didn't work out. For the longest, I have always wanted to participate in these kind of events but my mind would always tell me that I couldn't do it. At the beginning of this summer, KC asked me if I would start training with her to do a tri-it-on triathlon. Honestly, I brushed off her request in the beginning because I knew that it was not worth my time. But, after some convincing from Raleigh, I told my sweet friend that I would start training with her. In my mind, I just kept saying that I was going to work-out and keeping track of it. I didn't want to psyche myself out. When it finally came time to register, KC registered both of us so I didn't have to log on and actually commit. I still didn't think I was really going to do this, I was just "working out."
Then, race week approached. We started planning and packing. It began to feel a little more real. I kept telling myself that I was going to do this and have fun doing it. I think that had been my problem in the past with other 5k's that I have done...I wasn't having fun. My mind was open to negativity and it convinced me to stop trying during these kind of events. That attitude really translated itself into the rest of my activities. It was a terrible spiral downward that I couldn't get out of for the longest. Athleticism had always been an attribute that I had prided myself on having and suddenly I couldn't convince myself to run half a mile down the street. For a brief moment on the eve of the race, that negativity crept back inside of me. I was trying so hard to make it stay away but I got extremely nervous the night before. We were staying with seven other people and they all seemed to be having so much fun but I couldn't put a smile on my face. I went to bed praying that I would feel better the next morning.
We woke up on race day at 5 a.m. I haven't been up that early since the girls were brand new. I adorned a great amount of Spandex, ate a quick power breakfast of peanut butter toast, and headed out. There were over 1,000 people racing in this event. The vast age range and physical fitness level of the contestants amazed me. On one side of the transition area were Iron Man participants and the other side had scared little girls like me hoisting their bikes onto the bike stand. Even though I had pre-race jitters, I was excited to be doing this. The day was finally here and I was going to finish this race, even if I came in last!!!!!!
As we stretched on the beach, we saw the sun rise. It was a reminder that the Lord is in control and that I could do all things through Him who gives me strength.
A small group of dolphins swam by the event, as if wishing us good luck. The water was calm and lukewarm, which was nice for our early morning. Soon, we lined up and crept toward the start line. It all happened so fast. The race staff said, "770, Go!" and I was off!
We swam 300 yards in the ocean. That was the part I was most nervous about but soon it was over. As I got out of the water, I heard our friend Laura scream my name. I had finished the swim and was now off to the bike!
Raleigh and I with Laura's husband and dad. Her dad, "Coach" lost his arm to a shark while training in this location for a triathlon twenty years ago. This was his first time competing in a triathlon at this very spot. An amazing story of victory!!!!
KC and I got on our bikes at the same time but she soon got ahead of me. We had to bike for 10 miles and as people passed me they kept saying, "On your left." I heard that so many times that I started singing Beyoncé's "To the left, to the left" song. :) Whatever it takes to stay positive, right?! Whenever I passed someone on the bike, I would try to say something positive like, "good job," or "halfway there." Me and this one girl were going about the same speed and kept passing each other. When it came time to run, I saw that she was walking a little ahead of me. Even though my legs felt like jello, I told her that we could run together. Maria and I soon became fast friends, encouraging one another to keep going. I was so glad to have found a running buddy!!!!
As the two miles came to an end, I could see the finish line. Picking up speed, I held my head high and felt this amazing rush as I crossed the finish line and heard my name called out. I did it. I had finished what I started! It was such an accomplishment.
Friends, we all have fears that need to be accomplished. After our girls survived their premature birth and came home from the NICU, I challenged myself to be fearless in this life. Being fearless isn't about not feeling fear, but it is allowing those fears to not consume us. Life is just too short to be afraid. Conquering our fears brings such personal satisfaction. Whenever I feel like I can't do it, I'm going to look back on this moment and tell myself, "If you could run in a triathlon, you can do this!"
What is a fear that you would like to accomplish? What is a goal that you would love to finish?
Till next time, let your light shine!