Sunday, June 3, 2012

"Tri"-ed and True

To S - this one’s for you.

Anyone who was successful was once thought to be crazy. Someone thought they were too small, too slow, too inexperienced, too naive, or too sick. 

This morning when I woke up at 5 AM to my packed backpack ready for the ‘super sprint’ triathlon I was attempting, both my parents carefully warned me, “Now don’t be stupid, if you need to stop, you need to”. When S picked me up to take me to the location, I recounted this story to him, to which I said, “Clearly stupid is my middle name”. This is extremely reminiscent of Simba in the Lion King (click to see what I’m talking about!).

I was recently watching a video about Rob Hill (after all, like any sane person, if something has the slightest bit to do with Rob, I’m interested) and he said that he didn’t climb mountains because he was crazy or because he had some deep, burning desire to do so - but more to show everyone that it was possible. And by no means and I even attempting to compare myself to Rob, but I understand the sentiment: doing this mini triathlon wasn’t because I’m a super swimmer/biker/runner and it’s not even necessarily that I enjoy any one of those things. Moreover it’s because the feeling of movement and freedom and health and strength from doing those activities is addicting and electrifying. 

And so I suited up and had a theme for the day: consistency. If you go out too hard, you get tired, so as smooth and equal as you can make things the better for your body. I literally found out about the race about 3 weeks ago from S, and so my training schedule had been compressed to put it lightly. But as I told my parents,  it was never about placing or getting a medal, it was about finishing. And finish I did.

One of my favorite memories from Peru was on the 3rd day when everyone walked alone as we trenched through the Cloud Forest. I decided not to play my iPod and instead just listened to my body and the silence of my surroundings. Today iPods were not allowed and I was again put in the position - or rather given the opportunity - to listen to my breathing and water sloshing over my back as I swam or the wheels spinning on the bike or my sneakers against the trail and my heart vibrating in my chest. 

I don’t like being told what I can’t do. In fact I hate being told what I can’t do. Because truthfully (if not naively), I don’t know if there’s anything I can’t do. What I mean is not that I’m going to become an Olympic triathlete by tomorrow or raise global awareness about IBD, but that when I set my mind to something, I’m going to work as hard as I possibly can. 

Like most everything, the race was over before I wanted it to be - I ran across the finish line, had a little medallion placed over me (ahh, my very own Olympics minus the podium!), hugged S, and downed my water bottle. And then I watched S do the triathlon and cheered. 

Sometimes in life you’re the athlete. Sometimes you’re the spectator. It’s the push and pull, the give and take, the adding and subtracting that keep everything interesting and constantly evolving. Take a moment every now and then to listen to your body - tune out everything and everybody else - and take inventory of things for you since they’re happening to you and decide where you want to go, what you want to do. And then go do it.

It’s simple advice to give, harder to take and live. But, my friends, it’s tried and true.


Bike helmet, electrolyte tablets, Crohn's & Me waterbottle, sneakers, race number, race medal, banana, IDEAS bracelet, Cliff bar, Triathlon NS blue bracelet

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