What Was I Thinking? (Part 1)
Have you ever been in a conversation like this?
Supposed Friend: “Hey, I’m doing this thing and I really think you should do it, too.”
You: “Oh, do you really think I could do it?”
Supposed Friend: “Absolutely! I’ve done it loads of times and it’s so much fun. I know you can do it and you’ll love it.”
You: “Well, I’ve never done anything like this before. Are you sure I’m ready? I mean, look at you…and look at me…”
Supposed Friend: “Have some faith, if I can do you, you can do it.”
You: “Well, okay. I guess I could give it a try.”
Supposed Friend: “Yes! That’s the spirit!”
And that’s how I came to enter my first and last triathlon.
There are a few facts I need to divulge before I tell you the story.
- I am not a natural athlete. That was an understatement. I have a body and a constitution built for stationary activities. If reading or blogging were sports, I could wear a jersey, engage in pre-reading/writing rituals based on superstitions (wearing lucky glasses or hitting my head with my laptop 3 times), and subject myself to random blood tests to rule out performance-enhancing substances. Walking Scrappy, breaking out into song and dance (a la cast of Glee), and going to Yoga and Pilates classes don’t make me an athlete. They make me a middle-aged woman totally unconcerned with public ridicule and someone trying not to physically disintegrate.
- I did the triathlon 12 years ago, which makes me a younger fool at the time of the race. I was also a healthier fool. The Chronic Fatigue hadn’t hit me yet and I was jogging an average of 4 miles about 5 times a week. But I was bigger-boned back then, weighing about 25 pounds more than I do now because A) I had more bones during my 40s or B) when I got sick and went on my immune-boosting, delicious-food-elimination diet, I lost some bones or my bones shrunk. So while I had the advantage of not being dizzy and fatigued, I was hauling more of me around.
- The triathlon was a mini version of a grueling real triathlon that are all the rage these days. People actually line up to pay for the privilege to swim about 1 mile, bike about 25 miles, and run a mere 10 miles. That’s all in one day. The local YMCA sponsored the triathlon that I entered; they called it the “Y-Tri,” an apt name when it came to me. There was a nominal entry fee that I’m sure went to a good cause–probably purchasing new resuscitation equipment for amateur sporting events–so I paid for the privilege of swimming a quarter of a mile (in a pool), biking 10 miles, and running 3 miles. In the same day.
What was I thinking? Why did I think I could start, let alone finish, a triathlon, no matter how mini?
- It was the dawn of a new millennium, the Age of Aquarius. “Traditionally, Aquarius is associated with electricity, computers, flight, democracy, freedom, humanitarianism, idealists, modernization, astrology, nervous disorders, rebellion, nonconformity, philanthropy, truth, perseverance, humanity, and irresolution (hesitancy or weakness).” (Wikipedia) Perfect! I was just part of the general moodiness that was sweeping humankind.
- I was in my mid-40s and feeling old. My husband ignored me. My son didn’t need me. I was lonely and felt invisible. Maybe accomplishing a physical feat I never wanted to accomplish would get someone in my life to notice me. Perhaps I would notice me, which would be a good start.
- Supposed Friend was very convincing. She knew me and which buttons to push to transform me from Hesitant Lorna into Hopeful Lorna. She never got acquainted with Hoopty-Lame-Pants Lorna until the race…
Stay tuned to find out about my one and only attempt at triatheleticism.