This has been an emotionally challenging year so far. Transforming my endless optimism on life into moments of endless questions. Questioning what was next, how and if we could pull this off. How we would redesign our Home Team without my mom? I even questioned the presence of my faith after losing my mom to cancer when she should have had another 20 years.
Every few hours though, I can hear her sweet soft voice as she whispers, ‘it’s gonna be alright’ and it is just enough to help me carry on.
Which is how I have arrived here at the completion of my 8th year of training for a triathlon.
In case you don’t know, triathlons are races in which you first swim, then bike and then in case you are not tired enough, you change clothes one more time and run. I think you are supposed to sprint to the finish at that point, but the truth is that by the time I hit the pavement, even if my brain is sure that I am in full stride, I will not be sprinting the 3.1 miles to the finish line. But I will get there.
I race because I can. Because I learned from my parents long ago that crossing a finish line of any sort is a simple reminder that no matter how difficult things are, no matter how many road blocks come our way, no matter how our head tries to sabotage our efforts…we finish and feel fully alive.
The other day a random cyclist came up from behind me and said he could tell I was a ‘real’ cyclist, due to my perfectly sculpted calves.
‘Don’t believe everything you see,’ I wanted to say.
It’s funny actually. Funny because I was always the scared one in the family. Afraid of the dark, the water, heights, things that went too fast…you name it. I was afraid. Yet for some reason, triathlon training was the one thing I stuck with even though every single training day was hard. Relearning to swim at age 42, balance myself on a bike with my feet clipped in and mostly, learning to accept being hot. Very. Hot. My home team knows that is the hardest one for me. Give me any obstacle; I will jump it, climb it or get a line and pull myself over it. But don’t give me heat. I may lie down and cry.
That was then. This. Is now.
Tomorrow’s finish line, perfectly aligned with the 5th month anniversary of my mom passing away, I will throw my hands into the air. I will not feel defeated by the threats of hundred degree heat, the pain in my legs, nor the constant ache in my heart. Instead, I will know I have created a life of intention; one by design, not by accident; one that will have my home team waiting for me at the finish, helping me celebrate my connection with my mom…and our urge to cross the line.
I race. Because I can. And that will perfectly celebrate the 50th year of life she has given me .