This post has been so difficult to write. I’ve been thinking about what I would say for several days, and I can’t seem to come up with anything without making myself completely vulnerable.
First, I feel like I need to give some insight into the life of me, Tamarynn.
I’m a jock.
Athletics and outdoor activities are my thing – they always have been. It’s funny, because I would never in a million years have thought of myself as creative, so it’s sort of ironic that I have a “craft” blog. In fact, a lot of people who really know me are surprised at the content of my blog. They wonder why I don’t have some sort of “fitness” blog instead.
I think it has to do with the fact that fitness is too close to my heart. I can’t adequately capture in words what it means to me. It’s what I’m passionate about. It is a HUGE part of who I am. Sometimes I think it’s easier to share parts of yourself that aren’t as close to home, you know?
Nevertheless, I’ve written about it before and I’m going to attempt to write about it again today.
Because this past weekend I did the Triathamom triathlon.
I’ve done lots of triathlons before, including the Boise IronMan.
So what made this one different?
It was like starting all over again.
As many of you know, I had my 4th child in July. With each of my other children, I’ve been able to start working out after 6-weeks and it’s been fine. Challenging – but it worked out ok.
Once the 6-weeks were up, I was eager to get going. After all, it had been over a year since I had last ran, biked, or swam. I worked out during my pregnancy, but with my risk of pre-term labor, my workouts were very limited. I had a little over one month until the race. I knew that wasn’t enough time to train the way I would like to for a race, but Triathamom was a noncompetitive race so I figured this would be the perfect one for me to do before winter hit.
It seemed like the cards were stacked against me from the very first workout. Swimming felt great, slow – but great. The race was 300 meters, and I was able to swim 1 mile (1600 meters) fine.
Running was a completely different story. Running has always been my weakest and hardest event. I’m not a runner by any means, and I struggle to get myself motivated to actually do it. I jumped on the treadmill and couldn’t even run for 7 minutes without having to walk.
Are you joking? How is it that one year ago I could run a half marathon (13.1 miles) AFTER swimming 1.2 miles and biking 55 miles, yet now I can’t seem to run more than 7 minutes?!
Then I wanted to bike. The only time I could bike was Saturday. By the time my husband got home at night during the week, it was too dark to go out, so I tried to go Saturday morning. After feeding my baby, I had 30 minutes to bike before we had to go to my kids’ soccer games. If you know much about biking, 30 minutes isn’t very much time to bike. Especially if you haven’t biked in over a year.
Labor Day weekend came and we went out-of-town to my parents’ house. I brought my bike. I was able to fit in a 15-mile ride. It was so hard. Like everything else, I was slow. By the end of the ride, my legs were in spasms.
School started for my girls and for the first time in over 3 years, I could use a jogging stroller because I would only have 2 children. I was so excited to be able to run outside (I don’t enjoy treadmills). However, another obstacle was waiting for me. 1.5 miles into my run I got a flat tire. I sobbed. I stopped right there in the road and bawled my eyes out. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Let’s just say that was a long walk home with a lot of tears.
Since the jogging stroller didn’t work, I tried to run on the treadmill at the gym again. Want to know what happened? 4 minutes into my run I got paged to the playroom.
Now you might be wondering what about other days? Surely every day wasn’t this bad?
The answer is I teach group fitness classes 3 days a week, which means that’s 3 days a week I couldn’t train for the triathlon. Saturdays seemed to be filled with soccer games, Primary activities, birthday parties, etc.
The week of the race was here. To date I had swam 3 times, biked twice, and ran outside once and that was my flat tire incident. In 5 days I was going to have to run a 5K (3.1 miles) and the furthest I had run was 1.5 miles.
I decided to give one last shot at running. I went to the gym and ran for 3.5 miles!!!! Hooray!!! I was beyond ecstatic.
Then the week unfolded and I didn’t get another workout in. The night before I was beating myself up, wishing I hadn’t even signed up, dreading the morning.
I got to the race and set up my transition area.
The old race feelings started creeping in. I missed my brother. He’s the one I did the IronMan with in the picture above. We do almost every race together, so I felt like part of me was missing.
Then I ran into my friend Becca.
I was so happy to see a familiar face and we hung out together until the race started.
Both my girls had soccer games that morning, so I wanted to be one of the first to start so I could finish in time to make it to the games, so I said good-bye to Becca and went to the front of the line.
The race began. Suddenly, I felt so alive. My body took over and just went. Adrenaline was flowing through me and I felt great. I’ve always loved the swimming part of the race. Your body just glides through water and you feel light as a feather. No worries, no loads to hold you down. I can clear my head and just glide.
I got out of the water and jumped on the bike. I also thoroughly enjoy biking. The first 5 miles were a steady climb. I did my best to keep my cadence up and kept plugging along. My legs were burning, but I knew the remainder of the race was downhill and I could rest them then. Again, the adrenaline was surging and I channeled that into my ride. I felt strong.
Then came the run. Thank goodness we were able to use music. I had put together a playlist the night before and I blasted it in my ears. I tried to empty my mind and just let the rhythm of the music keep my body going. My one goal of the race was I didn’t want to walk on the run. I’ll admit that I came so close to walking. Then I remembered my mantra:
“I am stronger than one more mile.”
“I am stronger than my lungs being on fire.”
“I am stronger than this hill.”
“I am stronger than 5 more minutes of cardio.”
Saturday I was stronger.
I ran the entire run. I crossed that finish line and my husband was there with my 4 kids ringing cowbells and cheering me on.
My girls had their faces painted and had made me signs. The pride in their eyes as they gave me their signs made my heart melt.
My 2-year old son ran up to me with the biggest grin on his face saying “Mommy!”, then didn’t want to leave my side.
It’s moments like these that make all the hard moments of being a mom worth it.
I had forgotten how good it felt to finish a triathlon.
I had forgotten the feeling of accomplishment as I crossed that finish line.
I had forgotten what a stress reliever it is for me to get in a good workout. To channel all my aggressions, frustrations, worries, fears, etc. into my workout and feel the stress melt away. To feel in control of my life, if only for a brief moment.
This is part of what fitness means to me. Thank you for reminding me Triathamom.
Thank you for giving me that.
Thank you for helping me feel like I gained a piece of me back.
Remember, that the hardest step is the one out the door.
If you want to do Triathamom next year, visit their Facebook page for a chance to win a free entry!
I know I’ll be there!
Oh and if you want something a little more light-hearted today (and a tutorial), come say “hi” over at Skip to My Lou, where I’m guest posting as part of the Handmade Holiday Craft, Bake, & Sew Along.