Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Coming out of the closet

Back at the start of the summer, when I posted our to-do list, there was one item I intentionally left off. It was an item Chad had added and I wasn't totally comfortable declaring it to the world.

12. Cheer on mom during her first triathlon.

I have wanted to do a triathlon for a long time. I used to be a sporty person, back in that was-I-only-dreaming-that? phase of my life called Before Kids. It seemed reasonable at one time. But I have slowly been losing that part of myself over the past little while. And my faith in myself slid right along with it. Last year, I said I was going to do it... but obviously, I had trouble with the follow-through. So when I said I was really going to do it this year, I wasn't all that sure that it would actually happen.

Nonetheless, I started an official 'training' program (one I made up, but one with the triathlon as the end goal.) And as I began it, something happened. I started training for the triathlon... and I liked it. It quickly went from being something that I felt like I should be doing, something that I was going through the motions of doing and something that I was doing to ensure that I didn't make a fool of myself on race day... to something I looked forward to every single day. Something I was doing because it was (gasp!) fun.

The swimming was definitely my weakest discipline. I swam laps in university for a bit, mostly because the pool was close by and the hours were convenient, but I have never really swum since then. After paddling around our own back yard pool in circles, I realized that a kidney-shaped home pool was not the place to practise distance swimming. So I started going to the pool in Blenheim for the morning open swims. I bought some goggles and swim cap... a new swimsuit... and finally a pool pass (both so that I didn't have to search for loonies and twonies at 5:30 a.m. each time I wanted to go, and also to commit myself to getting out there). I worked my way up to where I am now, able to swim 1.5 km straight before booting it back home in time for the kids to wake up and for us to start the process of getting out the door to work.

I started biking on my old mountain bike. The 14 km loop I often do took me 49 minutes the first time I timed myself on it in the spring. I am now down to 31 minutes. I got down to 36 minutes on my own, just by keeping at it. I had put my name down on the wait list for a used road bike at our local bike shop, but was planning to muddle through with the mountain bike for as long as it took. And then, partway through the summer, Chad surprised me by researching and buying me a road bike... a really wonderful, supportive gesture on his part, and one that has made me faster yet.

Running... well, I have been running for years. But I think I was burning out on it, and my interest was waning along with my mileage. Now that I am running less, I am enjoying it more. I hadn't run more than 5 km at a time for years, and now I am doing twice that much. And looking forward to it every single time.

By no means am I fast at any one of these pursuits. That's the bane of being a triathlete, I suppose: jack of all trades, master of none. If I were running, I could be fitting in 6 runs per week. Instead, I am fitting in 2 swims, 2 bikes and 2 runs, more or less. Not enough to make me really speedy at any of them, but all that I have time for. But I can do them, and I can do them back-to-back, and most importantly, I really enjoy them.

I am doing that triathlon I have been talking about for so long in a few weeks. And a few weeks after that, I am (eek!) doing another one that is twice as far. Because I feel ready for it. And because I am not ready for this athletic summer of mine to end.

So that's where I am right now. Why the house is perhaps more disheveled than usual, why I am in bed so much earlier at night and why I've had less and less time lately for other pursuits... but also why I am happier, more energetic, healthier, and really enjoying re-capturing a big part of who I was before things got complicated with work, kids and the day-to-day minutiae that is life.

Wish me luck in a couple of weeks... my nerves are really humming right now, and it's going to get worse before it gets better.


Kathy said...

Good luck Carrie! When and where is the first event?

The Robiltons said...

this is awesome! we also want to know the details of the first event

Jennifer said...

woot woot! anywhere close? we'd love to cheer you on!

Ainsley said...

Best of luck in your triathlon!

Sounds like you've worked really hard and you should be so proud.

I wish I were that dedicated! :o)

Dawn said...

hmmmm.....which am I more jealous of, your athletic ability or that you look amazing in spandex???? Best of luck to you!

Jennifer said...

oh, and this is not the first time I've seen a parallel between you and Ms. must be kindred spirits! ;)