Did another first this weekend – a triathlon relay. I’ve never done any sort of race as part of a relay before. Of our three person team, two of us did triathlons last summer. This was the third person’s first experience with the tri. We decided that doing it as a relay would give her a good feel for what this race is all about before she decides to do the whole shebang. We also decided that it would just be fun to go at a race as a relay team.
Our goal was just that – have fun with the whole experience. And while each of us had some challenges on our particular leg of the race, they were challenges that felt good to conquer. We cheered each other on. We broke down each phase of the race in detail. We lost our breath, we got sand in our shoes and we smiled a lot – what a great way to do a race.
The thing about triathlons is that you have to have some sense of crazy to even try one. Chances are one of the three disciplines (swim, bike, run) will take you out of your comfort zone. Gearing yourself up to not just train in all three disciplines but put yourself out there and race them takes some guts. I may never be very good at triathlons – so far my race results are far (very far) from impressive – but I am going to keep on doing two or three of them a year.
The question here is why do I continue to put myself through the training schedule and nerve wracking race when I know I’ll never be close to winning? It’s because this is a truly big challenge and big challenges can be hard to find but wow are they fun.
The sense of accomplishment that comes from pushing my body through its limits in three different events all in the same race is exhilarating. It’s a rush in every sense of the word. I’m not competing against the field so much as competing against myself – my previous times and my own physical limits.
I’m showing my kids that hard work doesn’t just bring accomplishments – it brings a joy that can only be found in a personal challenge.
When I do a triathlon I get kicked, choke on water, feel semi-nauseous from muscle exhaustion, lose my breath, sweat like crazy and at least once or twice wonder what the hell I was thinking when I signed up for this race. And you know what? I love every damn minute of it.