It is a little hard to believe since I have been writing about this for over a year – but on Sunday, August 5th, I completed a sprint triathlon.
There is so much good stuff to write about that it may take me a few posts to tell the whole story. I must say that I was inspired by the event in many ways and perhaps my personal achievement was the least of it.
My first triathlon was the Greenfield Triathlon in Greenfield, MA. It was extremely well organized and has been going for 35 years!!
In case you didn’t know, a sprint triathlon starts with about 600 meters of swimming. Above, I am in a wetsuit swimming in a river. I am the one with the hand about to go into the water facing the camera.
Then you get out of the water (get out of the wetsuit), put on socks, a helmet, and bike shoes and ride 15 miles.
Here I am on my bike – chugging along as the course had two laps. I love my bike and the ride was both challenging and beautiful. It included corn fields, a covered bridge and lots of cute New England farm houses.
Finally, there is the run which is a 5K (or 3.1 miles). Here I am running slowly along in my triathlon outfit which is what you wear for the entire thing. It is quite comfortable.
And finally, you finish. I like this photo as you can see me hopping onto the finish line and my son running me in from the side. It was a good moment.
What can I tell you? I survived. The motto of this particular triathlon is “To Finish is to Win” and this photo is of me and my pals – Sarah and Amy – and our medals. EVERYONE GETS A MEDAL. I wore mine all day.
I want to say it was the greatest day of my life or that a surge of pride hit me when I finished but instead I felt frustrated. My left calf muscle told me to STOP RUNNING and I had to stop and attempt to stretch it. During the run, I was in pain and exhausted and I was thinking about calling an UBER. Instead, I decided to dig deep.
I reached into my body to find the strength to get me across the finish line. Hello?? Power, stamina, energy?? Anything?? LEGS?? Do I still have legs?
The answer came back very clear. You don’t have anything left. Walk your butt down the road and stop thinking about doing anything but getting to the finish line. For a good mile and a half - I was limping.
At a pit stop, I drank some water and a little bit of Gatorade. I began running to one telephone pole and walking to the next one. But not even the knowledge that I had .1 mile left was enough to get me truly moving.
Then, at the top of a little hill, there was my son and husband. They were smiling at me with shining eyes and yelling, “You got this, Mom!” “Go Lisa!!”. Because I was slow, I was the only one on the course coming into the finish line at that time (took me 46 minutes to do 5K).
The crowd of spectators (my friends and other people I had never met) starting yelling, “Go Lisa!! You look great!! Keep on going!!” and I found myself smiling as Amy gave me a high five.
I didn’t feel great and I didn’t want to keep going but I finished.
And I was angry.
I had done my best to let go of all my expectations about how long this thing would take me but I still had an expectation that I would feel powerful.
I wanted a Wonder Woman surge where I got out of my own way and blew past my limits. Instead, I had a very clear thought that I needed to ease up or I might injure myself. It was like Wonder Woman flew home in her invisible jet without saving anyone from evil.
That, my dear friends, was disappointing.
I don’t want to leave you on a low note. Here I am with my medal, chain grease on my jersey, and a number written on my arm. Don't I look tough?
I am a triathlete today. I survived but maybe next time a little bit of Wonder Woman will show up. I believe she is in here somewhere.