The seesaw motion was keeping me in limbo. I tend to be a high energy, high volume person prone to doing things 110%, even if those things are not good for me. I always found it necessary to have a release for the amount of effervescent energy, chaos and swirling thoughts that made me feel like bouncing up and down, rattling in my skull, and begged to be let out. My pressure valve always was in things that weren't good for me - anything that would take me down a notch, slow my brain, settle my thoughts, cloud my vision and muffle my cares. I was always taking three steps forward and three steps back, effectively going nowhere. I knew what I was doing wasn't my best choice, but habits are hard to break.
And then, everything changed. I committed to Escape From Alcatraz and realized that without committing fully to training, I would never survive the swim. Since the beginning of the year, we've been training hard. Six days a week, one to two workouts a day, hours of time well spent in sun, salt, wind and sweat. What once was a one-off fling with a new sport has become a full-fledged part of my life and a huge boon to who I am. I've had a lot of time to reflect on these changes and the importance of the sport in my life.
- Triathlon has forced me to make a choice between the two halves of myself. I am either going to be healthy or be on the see-saw of stagnation. One or the other. No in between.
- Triathlon has proved to me that I have no idea what I am capable of doing. It has taught me that what I think I can and cannot do is total bullshit. I've been believing a lot of bullshit for three decades. Imagine the things I can do when I no longer believe in limits!
- Triathlon has given me the schedule and routine that organizes my life. It's insane, I realize that. Time management has never been my forte. In elementary school I received bad marks for time management and handwriting. My handwriting is still sloppy, but that's okay, I've finally learned how to allocate my time.
- Triathlon has taught me to fill my sails with only that which pushes me in the direction I want to go. I cannot be happy with unhappy thoughts. I cannot be confident when full of self-doubt. I cannot share love if I'm smoldering with resentment. I cannot be free if I'm burdened down by guilt. The more fun I had training; the more outgoing, active, and inspiring people I've met; the more confidence, courage and self-worth I've gained; the more I feel like I'm going in the right direction. Then too, the less I feel the need to make room in my life for anything that doesn't inspire happiness.
- Triathlon is a built in excuse for avoiding extra snacks, too much to drink, and late nights that I'll regret otherwise. I'd love to go on a binge weekend with you in Las Vegas with a hundred people tons of tequila shots, bad decisions and all nighters, really, but I have a race I'm training for!
- Triathlon has shown me that there is little in life better than pushing your body past your mind's limits, spending all day in the sun, spending time with friends, seeing some of the most beautiful landscapes in the area, and feeling alive.
- Lastly, triathlon has taught me how to make time for what matters. In a life with not enough hours in the day to divvy up between work, family, friends, obligations, chores, hobbies and exercise finding time to enjoy being alive can be tricky. Before you know it the year is over and you can't put your finger on a single moment. Maybe I don't have as much "fun" as I used to. Maybe I don't go out and have tons of fancy photos to show for my time. Maybe I don't make plans as much, or have something exciting going on all the time. Maybe I say "no" sometimes to friends and family. Maybe I look crazy to other people.