CAN’T – that’s a pretty powerful word, isn’t it? It has enough power to demolish a dream, a goal or all your hard work. Someone can yell to you: “YOU CAN’T DO IT!”
Someone can sarcastically whisper it under their breath: “You’re delusional! You can’t really do that even if you tried!”
But what is most destructive is when you say it to yourself in your head: “I can’t do this.”
Whether you can or you can’t, you’re right.
These first few weeks of triathlon training with our new Team in Training Triathlon team has been such an eye opener to me. My teammates truly are super heroes.
See, we all have marathon training. We’ve all run together and are used to adopting each other’s pace and running side by side if we see a team mate struggling with those voices that tell each of us “I can’t”. We’re all used to those silly fans and cheerleaders with hilarious posters waving us on to the finish line that promise Ryan Gossling is just a few meters ahead without a shirt on.
But triathlon… triathlon is different. It is hard to swim side by side and cheer each other on, hold a conversation or keep the pace of the song playing… because there is NO music in the water and you can’t talk in the water between strokes to your friends nearby!!! And then after the swim, the chances of finding someone to be beside you on the bike is not only unlikely but downright illegal in triathlon rules nor can you draft from their tire. By the time you get to the run… you’re so exhausted from the two prior sports that you are immediately in the “bite me” zone once you begin the run portion of Tri. Triathlon is a very individualized sport.. something that we, as a team, have not been very accustomed to.
So on Tuesday morning, on my Birthday, I went for my usual 5am Wake Up Ride. A few of my TNT team mates, Brenda and Christina, joined me there. However, I jumped up to the next level from Beginner to Intermediate and did the 25 mile loop instead of the 16 mile short loop with them. At the end of the ride, I got my coffee (we always get coffee after our rides at Starbucks) and to my surprise saw my fellow team mates come in after doing the same distance!!! I’m not sure if you’re getting this… I’ve been with the 5AM group for about nine months now… I just jumped up. They’ve been here two weeks… and jumped up!!!!
See, what I’m getting at is that in their minds… they didn’t let “I can’t” enter their heads at all. They saw that I wanted to jump up in distance, so they went out and did it, too. They did the “airport loop” which is about 25 miles with two tough hills.
And then the next day was swimming. Now, we have some excellent swimmers on our team. And they’re quite intimidating… but downright super helpful!!! I took myself back to this time last year when I asked my son to go help coach me and teach me to swim. I was so afraid of the water and embarrassed that I in all my years of living, I didn’t know how to swim. But I never let “I can’t” get the better of me. Nor did my son.
My son taught me how to swim.
And that’s when I saw her face… the same one I wore that day with my son. Janie had fear pouring out of her eyes. And she jumped into that pool anyway. She struggled just as I did that evening with my son on my first lesson. And she swam with all her heart anyway. She would pop up and hold on to the lane rope to catch her breath scared to death. And then she went on to finish her lap anyway. She didn’t let “I can’t” mess with her plans.
No wonder she’s my mentor.
There’s no “I Can’t” in CANCER. But CAN sure is!!!