Monday, October 14, 2013

The Triathlon Life For Me

Sunday, I got to play a brand new role: I was a sherpa/cheerleader/triathlon groupie at the Ameliaman/Atlantic Coast Triathlon in Fernandina Beach, Florida.  Having just come off Ironman Augusta 70.3, I was in no shape to "race", so I got to be a spectator at a triathlon for the very first time.

My husband was racing his very first 70.3 distance, and since he was patient/generous/gracious/wonderful enough to play the role of MY sherpa/cheerleader/triathlon groupie in Augusta, I thought it only fair that I do the very same thing for him.  That way, the kids could whine and complain cheer for their dad and their dad would have a reluctant enthusiastic cheering squad!

I was also fortunate enough to be able to cheer on and photograph many members of my tri club, who were competing in both the sprint and Olympic distance races.  And while in the wee hours of the pre-race dawn I was feeling edgy and weird that I wasn't zipping up my own wetsuit to race, I soon came to relish my opportunity to see my friends and fellow triathletes do what they do best, and see into their souls just a little bit.

It became obvious to me just why I have fallen so fast and hard for this triathlon life.  Yes, the training can get long and arduous.  Yes, the early morning wake-ups for races can be less than thrilling.  Yes, the hassle of hotels and travel can get old.  But, everything else makes up for those little things and then some.

Besides, how can anything be wrong with having the opportunity to witness this?

Or this?

I don't know that I usually take the time to appreciate the colors of sunrise when I am racing.  But I did yesterday, and I made a mental note to take a picture with my eyes of each and every sky before each and every race I do henceforth.

Watching my friends and teammates race yesterday gave me a little glimpse into their cores, and I came to love and appreciate them so much more.  Seeing their joy, their struggle, and their triumph made me appreciate the journey - both theirs and my own.  I mean, how can you NOT love triathlon when you know someone who can't stop smiling when she races?

Or these two bright and beautiful people who don't spend their days gardening or golfing, but who race and win at triathlon and life?

And sometimes, you have to turn the world upside down to really appreciate it:

Training for Augusta completely exhausted my body and my mind.  It took everything out of me, churned it up, and threw it into oncoming traffic.  Spending yesterday with my triathlon family was just the therapy I need to jolt me back to life.  Now, I can't wait to race again.

And the greatest payoff of all yesterday, for me, was seeing this guy cross his finish line:

Real men do triathlon!

My husband didn't think he could do a 70.3.  Even after watching me finish my race, he felt less prepared and less able.  But, as with everything else he puts his mind to, he showed himself that he WAS prepared and the he WAS MORE than able, and he showed that race who the boss was yesterday.  And I was happy to be a blissful observer.

The triathlon life.  It is SO for me.

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