I had such a fantastic weekend that I’m not sure I can convey its greatness. I had the opportunity to do things that made me feel strong and capable and to see things I’d done make others feel strong and capable and it all came back to me in spades and left me waking up Monday morning feeling like I’d won a gold medal. I also had the opportunity to reflect on what is really important to me and what I need to do to nuture my own needs when I tend to be driven to spend my time nurturing others. And I had a “moment” that will help define my life for another year or so and that might be the best part of all because I tend to bump around in my own life buffeted by immediate experiences and often not understanding how I ended up where I am. Let me explain.
Saturday was long run day – I had to run 2 hours. It was also a day when many members of my club race at the Back to School 5K or 10K and those not racing go out and volunteer. Many of my New Triathlete Program people (NTP aka newbies) said they would volunteer and I really wanted to be there to see them the day before our big triathlon and just to be a part of it all. I also really needed to go see my foster kid for whom I am an advocate through the Court Appointed Special Advocates program (check out the national site to see more). This child lives hours from me so I had to allocate 2 hours to run and 5 hours of travel time plus the visit plus I had to be up at OMG:thirty on Sunday so I needed to get home early. I couldn’t work out getting the race in (I guess I could have raced 10K and then run another hour but there aren’t any showers there and racing wasn’t on the plan) so I didn’t go and it felt sort of wrong but very right. There are things in life that really are more important than triathlon and race clubs and foster kids in need of an anchor is definitely one of them.
My 2 hour run was fine – it felt good and that was exciting because the run and I have not been such good friends lately. Score!
Sunday was the day of the race I’ve been training the Newbies for. Most of them had already done a shorter sprint and some had even done an Olympic distance race but this was our big club event and I was so excited. I didn’t race but I did do the swim with a woman who was very nervous about getting run over by the swim waves behind us (our club gets to go in the first wave en masse and there was quite a mass of us!). I was there to defend her water space and help her stay calm and I did and she exited the water all in one piece. After that I ran up to the bike course to cheer people on and then I headed up to the water station to cheer some more and pass out water. Turns out I positioned myself incorrectly and missed some people that way but it was fun. Then I went down to the finish line to cheer everyone in.
I really wanted o stay and be at the award ceremony and just hang out and talk to everyone about their race and I wish I had because NTP had people on the podium! How great is that??!! Alas – I had a long ride on the plan so off I went with my 2 new BFFs and a friend of theirs. It was a tough, long ride and it was hot and windy but it was great. There was a moment when I was sure I couldn’t do it and I really worried about how I was going to get out of there but some cold water and a PayDay later and I was fine and rode strong – no problem.
We got back to the park where our cars were right about the time the Challenge Weekend Celebration BBQ was starting but we were sweaty and gross and really needed to get cleaned up. I had neglected to bring clean clothes but my BFFs had several outfits each with them as well as soap and shampoo and cream rinse so we all used the outdoor, cold water shower and cleaned up in our tri suits and then put clean clothes on (in the privacy of the ladies changing room) and finally, finally headed to the party arriving a mere 90 minutes late to a 2 hour party. Great.
But it was great because I got a chance to say some words about my fabulous Newbies who stepped up and trained and made their dreams come true. I’ve hatched a litter of tri-junkies and I couldn’t be happier about it. I’m so proud of them and so very happy to have played a role in giving them a chance to do something they might not otherwise have done. I said my words and I handed out a little memento to each of them and then they took the floor. One of them read a whole story about how there is no “I” in TEAM and about how great the program had been and how she had made friends and accomplished something wonderful. Another woman gave a speech about me that made me blush and made me proud and made me feel loved and then they gave me something to remember this inaugural season with – a Garmin 310XT and a $50 gift certificate to Forward Motion Store, our primary benefactor. Wow – just wowl *Channeling Sally Field* -“You LIKE me… right now. You LIKE me!” I’m so humbled and so happy and so very jazzed about my new toy! But I’m more jazzed that several of the newbies want to ban together to train for an Oly. Success!
Looking forward, one of the things possibly on my plate is getting a slot for IM Canada when I race Oceanside. Because it is so early in the year the carrot they dangle to athletes is the potential to get a slot at any of a couple of NA Sports M-dot races and Canada is one of them (but shhh… don’t tell everyone about this because it’s kind of a secret, okay?). I have several friends who are going to race and a few more racing Oceanside so they can get slots. It’s a possibility but one I don’t think I’ll take because this weekend I figured out something really important about me.
My “moment” came when I realized that triathlon is a fundamentally self indulgent endeavor but I am not a fundamentally self indulgent person. I spend a lot of time volunteering and giving to others because I like it and it makes me feel good. I feel good about having become an athlete, too but the trade offs cause me stress. This weekend was a great example of that where I was torn between being with my race club and being with my foster kid and being with my race club and getting in my training. I had to just take a deep breath and let it go but it was difficult. It all worked out in the end but in the process it made me feel a little crazy.
I’d like to do the NTP next year again and I’d like to help organize this year’s newbies to train for an Oly and I’d like to train with them. This year my direct participation in their training fell off because I signed up for Beach 2 Battleship and if I raced Canada I’d have a worse problem because it is in August and the training would consume my whole summer. So again – the opportunity for conflict and stress is huge and I’m a ‘want it all’ kind of gal. I’m a problem solver, too so here’s the solution: I’m going to race Oceanside which means training up a 70.3 on March 27. I’ve also decided that I’m going to attend IM St. George in some capacity. If I love 140.6 after B2B I might do a fund raiser and buy a community slot for 2010 (I’d pay my $550 and raise the rest) and attend IM St. George as a participant. If I don’t want to do that I can just go be a Sherpa and then sign up for 2011 on-site. Either way my IM training and season will be over in early May at the latest and I can get on with the business of playing, training newbies, and racing shorter distance races. Brilliant and perfect and what a great Monday it’s been.