I wrote this in my journal two years ago and am sharing it here because I still need the reminder! I wrote it after finishing my first EnTri triathlon which was a 500m swim, 10km bike, and 3km run.
Almost everything that could go wrong in my triathlon yesterday – went wrong. I had an anxiety attack in the swim and couldn’t bloody breathe. It was as if I had never swum before and it felt like I was having a heart attack. I tried so hard but I just couldn’t get my breathing under control. I had to keep stopping and it took forever for me to make it thru 500m and out of the water. So discouraged after all my swim practise.
On to the bike and the first lap, and I was excited because ‘hey I’m good at biking!’ But then I had a flat tire on the road bike and had to run back to the tri base pushing my bike, and switch to the mountain bike, and start all over again. So my bike was extra long #dying. Then dogs ran out at me while I was on the second lap of the bike and for a moment, #DeathBycrashAndCanineMauling flashed before my eyes. WHAT ELSE COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG DAMMIT?! All that was missing from my delightful day was a shark attack, getting hit by a car, and being abducted by aliens.
But I kept going. Because:
1. Darren got us matching REALLY BRIGHT COLORFUL tri-suits. In other words, theres no way I could quit quietly and sneak away without being seen. He was so excited for us to compete together in them. And while his gift was really sweet and romantic, it also meant that I was a staggering shuffling billboard announcing that WE ARE DOING THIS TOGETHER and I really really wanted to live up to that commitment and his faith in me.
2. I’ve been training twice a day, 5 days a week for the last how many weeks, and theres no way in hell I was going to quit in the final hour. I was prepared to push my damn bike over the entire 10km and carry it over the line if needed. When those dogs barked at me, I was tempted to shout at them…JUST HURRY UP AND BITE ME ALREADY DAMMIT SO I CAN KEEP GOING!
3. My kids were cheering for me. They knew I was struggling and they were worried for me. I want them to know that in life its ok to go slow, to be scared, to struggle, to be tired, and to finish last. If for no other reason than youve decided that you will complete something.
4. Coach Daniel came out into the water to swim with me and talk me thru the horrible breathing. Hes been a great encouragement during training and of course I couldnt give up my #vastiSwim efforts when he was out there telling me “You can do this. Just a bit further.”
5. There was a young boy running on the course. Every time we passed each other he had the biggest smile on his face and he would yell out my name, GO LANI! And give me a hi-five. His excitement and energy was such a boost. Thank you Aso.
6. My bike buddy Vi was the marker official standing at the bike lap turn point at the end of Mulinu’u point, cheering me on. In the mornings its Vi who rides alongside me and has mentored me thru learning how to navigate cycling on the road. The rest of the group are doing their speedwork training superfast as they train for the Pacific Games. Vi is 60+ yrs old and a fit toned biking machine. He could easily bike with the others, but he’s generously committed to watching out for me because Im new to this. He points out all the potholes, calls out when cars approach and rides ahead to light the path when theres no streetlights because my #badEyes are extra bad at 5am!
All that added up to me finally crossing the finish line. Last (as usual and not a disappointment to me because #ofCourse). But later than I wanted to, which frustrates me and has me wanting to do another triathlon next week because I’m sure I can do it better aaaargh!
What did I learn from my first En-Tri? – It doesnt matter how prepared you are, how hard you’ve worked, you can never control the outcome. You are never truly the master of your journey. Life is unpredictable. It will surprise you with flat tires, panic attacks, and dogs who get a kick out of harassing you. All you can count on, is you. Your resolve. How you will face whatever surprise that leaps out at you along the way. All you can do, is just keep going. And if you dont quit, you will eventually make it.