If you’ve followed my Facebook page or blog for any length of time, you’ll know that I began doing triathlons 4 years ago for my 40th birthday present to myself. I had to learn how to stick my head under water without plugging my nose. It’s been a big deal for me. The Today Show even did this story on it. Who gets to be on national television for their 40th birthday???? So much fun!
So, this was my 4th year of swimming, biking and running. Every year it has been a real joy for me.
Except this year. This year I struggled.
Let me clarify….I LOVED working out with 50 women every week. I loved feeling like a bad-a$$ when we would finish a lonnnnnnnnnnng workout.
But I just couldn’t pull it together on race day this year.
It didn’t help me mentally that it’s been a hard summer in Kansas City in the water.
A few weeks ago we had 3 drownings in one weekend. Then we had this precious girl contract a horrific virus in the lake water of Kansas and pass away. Stories like that don’t ease the mind of already nervous swimmers.
I myself came down with an upper respiratory infection last month that lasted 3 weeks. For 3 weeks I coughed and coughed. It didn’t make training much fun during that time. And I have a jillion other excuses of why this season was tough on me.
This year I’m a year older.
And a few pounds heavier.
And in physical therapy for an IT band injury.
And preoccupied with our house being up for sale.
And my mental list went on and on and on.
I laid in bed the night before my big triathlon and quit that race about 10 times….. I’m just being transparent. I think it’s important you know that I hate doing stuff that terrifies the crap out of me. And swimming 500 meters, in a lake, where I can’t touch and people drown….terrifies the crap out of me. Even after 4 years and 8 triathlons.
I want you to know that I gave God my very passionate opinion on “why does He keeps asking me to do scary stuff”?????
I literally prayed my bike would be stolen off the back of my vehicle the night before the race. Then I would have an excuse as to why I couldn’t race.
I told myself I would do this race and be done forever.
I will take up quilting.
I could fake an injury.
How many of you know that your mind does crazy things in the middle of the night when you are overcome by fear???? Fear is irrational. Fear is a liar.
If you’ve never been that terrified of something before……. if you haven’t recently experienced that “if God doesn’t show up quick, I will surely die” kind of terrified…..then I invite you to do something scary. Because this is where the rubber meets the road folks. This is where you have to walk the walk. This is where GROWTH occurs. You can’t be BRAVE if you aren’t SCARED.
So race morning came after seriously what felt like 5 minutes of sleep.
And my stomach was ridiculous.
And my mind was a hot mess.
But guess what…… I KEPT IT TOGETHER IN THE WATER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Last year, there was a search party going on in the other side of the lake while we triathloned (an elderly man had drowned). Last year, I had a panic attack in the 1st 100 meters and had to rest with a lifeguard. Last year, I had my best overall time ever, but I didn’t feel BRAVE in the water.
This year…..I swam like a thoroughbred baby!!!!! (or so I thought).
I did not pause.
I did not freak out.
I did not break my freestyle to doggie paddle.
I did not swallow water, gasp for air and come up coughing.
I did not meet eyes with a lifeguard who was trying to determine if I needed assistance.
I got out of that water and this was my face…..
And this was my face:
And this was my face…..my personal favorite!
I was yelling at my bff Laura….. “I NAILED THAT SWIM”.
And then I biked my bootie off.
And ran as fast as I could for that given day.
And I looked at my finish time and laughed.
I had the absolute slowest time of the 8 triathlons I’ve done. The worst. My swimming was almost 2 minutes slower than last summer and last summer I had a panic attack. I added 9 minutes to last year’s overall time. In triathlon terms…. 9 minutes is an eternity.
But let me tell you what God has been working out in my heart.
For THIS year, that was all I had.
For THIS year, I did the best I could.
For THIS year, many other things in my life were more important than my training.
For THIS year, my job was just to nail that swim.
I’m not an expert of understanding “seasons” of life. But I am praying on it. And I know that this was not my season for training.
The truth is, I’m not good at having a P.W. (personal worst) instead of a P.R. (personal record). But I am redefining in my heart what failure looks like. Failure would have been not showing up.
I am giving myself grace.
I gave it all I had for that day.
And sometimes, that just has to be good enough.
So let me encourage you today. Some of you are good at beating yourself up because, like me, you are so competitive…. with yourself. Some of you expect way more from yourself than anyone else expects from you. Some of you are guilty of sometimes feeling like you need to be more and you need to do more. Some of you need to rest in this…….you ARE ENOUGH and you DO ENOUGH.
I want to show you the note I put on my bike for race morning…..
I already knew that I wouldn’t finish like I wanted to, but I would finish the best I could….for that day.
This guy still met me at the finish line with roses like he does every year (yes, I am the most spoiled triathlete there).
These kids still got to see mom work hard and do things to improve her health…. even when mom is slower than she wants to be.
These girls still got closer and stronger and braver thru the journey:
My husband and friends still threw me a “surprise” birthday party that night…..
And I still feel like I nailed that swim.
We are chalking this season up to “my personal worst WAS my personal best”. For that day. For this year. And that IS enough.
Give yourself some grace friends. Perhaps you haven’t lost all the weight you want to. Or you haven’t gotten the grade you want to in your night class. Or you haven’t made the numbers in your business this year that you are hoping to. You are moving forward, right? And any forward motion, in any adventure YOU are in, is progress.
And that too….is enough.
You’ve got just a great outlook on life. well done Jennifer. I love this article.