Never say “Never”: Triathlon Edition
Whenever I say or think “oh I’ll NEVER do that” I always end up doing it. It’s like the seed is planted with that word NEVER, it begins to sprout and years later I’m obsessed with something I wouldn’t have given the time of day in my youth. My most recent seed: The Triathlon (thanks Ian). I haven’t ridden a bike since I was 13. During my last swimming lesson I “climbed up the wall like spiderman” – in grade 1. I’m afraid of fish touching my legs in open water and I don’t know anything about how to fix a broken bike chain 40 miles from home. But I said I would NEVER do it, and here I am today, dreaming about completing an Ironman.
The appeal might be the novelty of it all. I started running when I was 30, and I have now figured out what pace is and how much fun it is to race. Add a bike and I’ll get to play with speed (and deal with some new chafing and strained muscles). Throw me in some water and now breathing is a whole new ball game. What is possible? How fast can I swim, bike, and run to the finish line? What will I learn about myself along the way? What teachers will I find? Who will inspire me? Will I inspire my baby girl, or anyone else?
The underlying message is clear: I must use my body. I am an athlete. Dancer, yogi, runner, pregnancy, it’s all about making your blood rush and your body work. I run today because I can, because my legs let me and the will drives me. It’s important to keep options open though, because staying active and healthy into my 90s is going to require flexibility of mind as well as body. I have been reading a lot about fitness and the aging woman. Over the past 40 years, thanks to the revolution of women in sports, we are still just touching the tip of the iceberg of possibility.
My ultimate goal is to feel the way I do today, always. If you push yourself just beyond what you think you are capable of, at least once a week, that might not be an unrealistic expectation.