Sunday, January 25, 2009

I Believe...

A Talk at Cannon McMillian Elementary last January

I believe there is a plan and a purpose for my life unique to only me.

I believe that struggles don't build character, they help reveal it. They peel apart the layers just like the onion I feel is peeled down on race day. They remind us to look inward and examine ourselves, our motivation, and our life.

I believe that no one is in this life alone, we are our friends, our family, the people who share with us and love us. We are a part of them just as they are a part of us. Each one influencing and impacting the other.

I believe triathlon isn't who I am, it's something that I do but that helps shape me, teaches me things about the world and about myself. It's something I enjoy beyond words.

I believe we are each given a very special set of gifts and talents. I know I've been blessed in many ways, I'm a singer, a choir teacher, a speaker and much more. When I'm out there, on the course, I feel I'm doing something I was born to do and that I wouldn't be the same without it, at least right now.

The last two months I've been questioned more about my motivations - why I do what I do, when I'm going to STOP doing what I do and "start my life", more times than I can count. I know people are not trying to be rude, or intrusive, or even make me feel one way or another about it. They're inquisitive, and why not be when you don't understand anything about why someone would put themselves into something that requires so much work, so much sacrifice, that is so physically demanding and even risky. It doesn't make sense. There are more important things to be doing, like starting a family, having dinner made each night when Kyle gets home, finding a house or building one. These are just plain the things that make sense for me to be doing. They don't say it quite like that (well, some do), but the meaning is fairly obvious.

Small towns are much different. I haven't been here since I was in high school and I was living in my own little world at that point in my life. Small towns have many benefits, good schools, knowing everyone, safety, our church.

They also have a very different mentality, and very few people that understand even one part of what I'm doing or why I'm doing it.

So, why I am doing it?

Because I believe.

I believe all the things I mentioned above, and I don't know how the plan fits together yet, but I know that I feel most like me when I'm working toward something, setting goals, getting stronger, fitter, training with friends, joking and laughing about the things triathletes talk about.

What if I'm supposed to use all this in a way I haven't even fathomed. I don't put limits on the plan, I just try to listen to the voice that tells me if I'm doing the right things and staying on the path set forth for me. Could it be to speak to large groups of kids about nutrition, dreams, inspiration and encourage them like I'll do next month? Could it be to start my own business and help others get starting in the sport, influence them in a positive way? I don't know yet. All I know is that I can't stop, I won't stop. If they want to call it selfish, well, have at it...because that just goes to show you how little you really know about me.

Today I rode my bike on the trainer for an hour and forty minutes. I felt like myself for the first time in months and I soaked through my ironman towel while drinking two bottles of Gatorade. I have a confession to make Father, it's been three months since my last gel, and that does not make me sad. Ha! Actually, it tasted strangely familiar, and I won't say I liked it, but it did feel a bit like coming home.

So, that's it. That's why I do this, and that's why I'm not stopping.

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the kind words left on my post from Friday (and the calls I received, you guys are amazing..thank you for caring so much about me). It was a rough day and I'm sure it won't be the last. I'm not afraid of the future. It might be incredibly hard, and I might struggle like I've never struggled, but I trust the plan. I have more faith in it than I do anything else. That, my friends, is why gets me through those times.

I just read the last lecture by Randy Pausch. The link is to the youtube video, but the book is excellent. One of the things that struck me is when he said that "brick walls are put in place to keep out those who don't want it bad enough". That's how I've been feeling lately, brick wall after brick wall and I just keep heading in full force. I'm coming to terms with what Randy said in my own way and trying to turn things around to look at the positives and make it through. I do want it bad enough, so watch for the girl with the chisel and the hammer, that would be me. Like Shawshank Redemption, it might take me awhile, but eventually I'll get to the other side.

So thank you again for the thoughts, and I will certainly keep you posted. We all have our reasons and I hope putting mine out there might make you think about yours. Not one reason or another is better, only different and unique. I'm so lucky to have friends who believe in me. You are a part of me...thank you for making this journey interesting, and fun, and better because you're in it.

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