When someone finds out you do triathlons, usually the first question is why?  If I’m going to be honest, (and I am) my answer was for completely selfish reasons.  My hubby started doing them a year ago.  It took a lot of his extra time and head-space.  He loved it.  It’s almost all he wanted to talk about.  I didn’t understand it at all.  And it started to make me a little angry and bitter. Now, I must say, after a few conversations {okay, arguments} about it, he made sure to get his training in early in the morning so as not to cut into our family time. But I felt like we were on two completely different pages.  Here I was dragging myself around, doing everything for everyone at home, with no time for even a shower for my little ol’ self, and he was feeling on top of the world, lookin’ great, with all this extra energy.  I mean really?!  I love him to death, but how is that fair?!

Something you need to know about me is I have a very dominant competitive gene.  I like to win.  Almost to a fault.  Actually…to a fault.  I would rather die than have someone beat me.  I’ve always been involved in sports growing up – soccer, track and volleyball, but preferred the independent ones like waterskiing and downhill skiing.  Whatever I chose to do, I did my best at.  I like to push myself.  I like a challenge.  I’m stubborn enough to do something once I put my mind to it, and do it well.

Now, if anyone should be getting out of the house for a little extra time for themselves, I’m pretty sure it should be me.  So out of spite, {hey, I’m just being honest – now ya know I’m not perfect, ha 😉 } I told Steve I think I want to sign up for a triathlon. To my surprise, he thought it was a great idea!  And for all the reasons I did – time away, to better myself / my body, and to challenge myself in a way I hadn’t in years. You know, after you have children, it’s kind of easy to lose yourself a bit.  Priorities change.  I mean, my oldest son didn’t even know I could run…and I use to be a pretty stinkin’ good sprinter.  So, long story short, I signed up, read a few books, made a few E-bay purchases, and borrowed a bike from my neighbor.  It was a nice road bike, but a awfully dirty one.  Once my friends at Wheely Good cleaned it up for me, I was off and training my heart out.  I was going to do my best.  But I knew I couldn’t win… or could I???

It’s the day before the big TRI.  I’ve done all I could.  I have completed my training.  I have learned a lot about myself along the way.  And I’ve learned a lot about the sport of Triathlon.  It’s a mental game.  There’s a lot to stress over, and obsess about, but I’m deciding to rest in the fact that God brought me to where He wants me.  I am here.  And I am ready.   That said, my stomach is in knots.  I don’t feel hungry at all.  I just choke down the proper nutrients because I know my body needs it.  I spend the day resting my legs, watching the kiddos play in the pool.  It’s hot and muggy.  Temps hovering around 90 with 70+ percent humidity.  YUCK.  I’m trying not to dwell on it.  The Lord knows I don’t need anything else to stress about…and He also knows I hate hot humid weather.  So, I put it out of my mind and patiently wait ’til Steve gets off of work, and we (all six of us) head on up to packet pick-up.  I was thankful he’d done this before and could kind of guide me in the process.  But still, I can’t remember the last time I was this nervous.  This is crazy…

As soon as we arrived, I felt my anxiety rise a little.  I thought it would calm my nerves, but no, it just made it all the more real.  We walked down to the beach and scoped out the distance between each bouy.  We headed over to the transition area and found where I’d hang my bike and set up my gear, in less than 24hrs.  We let the kids play and hit up some of the vendors so they could feel a part of it somehow.  And before we headed home, we drove the run coarse.  Wow.  Nervousness, excitement, anxiety, jitters, butterflies – all of them were flooding my body.  Now all that was left to do was to pack up, and get a good nights’ rest.

My parents arrived after dinner that night.  The plan was for them to come to the race, and my in-laws were to arrive before the sun rose the next morning, to stay with the kiddos.  We gave our hugs and smooches, tucked all the kiddos in bed and started packing the necessities.  We went over and over the list, making sure not to forget a thing.

That night was torture.  I could not fall asleep.  I just laid there thinking of all the steps, praying, asking God to help me survive the race, to be able to do what I trained so hard to do, and to help me sleep.  But, inevitably, my mind would wander down all the “what – IF” roads.  “I don’t want my children to grow up without a mother because I couldn’t reign in my pride.”  “Seriously, I don’t have to do this.”  I just laid in bed for hours with my blood pressure rising because I wasn’t getting the sleep I needed to be able to perform my best the next morning.  We had to be up by 4am and I don’t think I actually fell asleep until after 2:30.  Needless to say 4am came very quickly.  (Turns out, that’s normal.  I guess it happens to a lot of first-timers).

If you’re wondering what God has to do with any of this, I did too.  If you haven’t already, you have to read my post entitled, Run for God.  It’ll help explain the emotional workout I received right as this all started.  You wouldn’t think they’re tied together, but for me they are inseparable.  I wouldn’t want to do this without Him.  He’s my favorite training partner.  And the best coach I’ve ever had.  I got rid of my running apps, stopped using my spedometer and bike computer…and just did what my body could do.  I let go of the idea of winning.  I asked God to help me get comfortable being uncomfortable, because this is hard.  But I wanted to do it.  I knew I could.  I knew He wanted to me to because He had a few things to teach me.  It wasn’t easy.  Humbling yourself is never easy.  It was a lot of early mornings, which added up to extra long days, when you’re running after four little ones who always need you.  It was more meal planning, and creating healthy snacks to refuel a hungry body.  It was giving up certain events and invitations with friends because I had to fit in that ride that didn’t happen due to rain.  It was a major balancing act, but we figured it out.  And I’m so glad we did.

I gotta say, the drive up there, in the pitch black and the stillness of the early morning, and the nerves running through my body, has got to be one of the most