Later it was deciding that I was more than just a walk-on. In my heart, I knew that I was meant to be there, with those girls, that we were destined to be part of something. What, I had no idea...but I knew I wouldn't rest until I found out. After almost dropping out of school due to massive amounts of anxiety produced by racing at such a high level, I finally started to make peace with the pressure. Slowly, I began to realize how to function with it, live with it, accept it and even use it.
Moving on again it was marathon training, Columbus.. Boston.. I started to push my body harder. The years passed and it was time for a new challenge. Coming out of the water last in my first triathlon. It hurt.. I was an athlete.. I was supposed to be good. Surprise, I was worse than average.. in fact, I wasn't even on the same scale as average.
Fast forward, three years. I stood at the starting line of the World Championships, the best in our sport trembling in fear and awe. I had never done an Ironman, but by the time the sun set that day I would hear those words "YOU are an IRONMAN", that I knew. No matter how long it took me, no matter how hard it was.. I made a promise.. I would finish.
Four years later and here we are. Just you and me. I'm scared again. I have doubts all of the time. I imagine what it might be like to come in dead last in a professional race. How it will make me feel and how I will look at it if it happens. For me, I have to come to terms with that ahead of time so that I can face that fear and let it go. What's the worst that can happen really? No one will have died, no one will have gotten a disease, nothing really of note.. I of course don't want that to happen, nor do I think it will, but that's part of the process of letting go of your fears and being willing to accept whatever comes as an opportunity to learn, to assess and to see what needs to happen next. I'm ok with that.. I'm more than ok with that. I'd rather come in last than not give this a shot. It's not even about "winning" either, although nice, that can't be even a remotely sole motivating factor. If it was, most of us wouldn't come back, day after day, year after year - agree??
For the first time I'm training like a professional triathlete. Day after day I'm spending the 4-8 hours I would usually spend at a desk on a bike, in a pool, running or lifting. I'm doing the little things.. the rolling, the stretching, the self massage. I'm doing all the things I always wanted to do and it feels strange. It feels more real now... am I really doing this? Can it really happen? I ask myself those things all the time.. Then I have a talk with myself and realize this is where it starts.. day after day, just like it did all the other years, week after week... building, sweating, putting in the miles (there are just more to put in now).
I know I'm not alone in my journey. There are so many others who have done the same.. believed when they had doubts, came to terms with their weaknesses and worked tirelessly to make them strengths, gave themselves permission to dream even when they were scared they'd never be good enough. That's where I am now and that's why I loved this video.
Thanks to those who never stopped believing.. people like Jeremy Lin who waited patiently for preparation to meet opportunity.
You never know when you're number is going to be called.. I don't know about you...
but I'm going to be ready....
Time to head out on that four hour bike ride! Here we go!!