And then sometimes I really do what people tell me to do without question and without them knowing. Thank you Janie for the thoughtful encouragement and spot on advice. Thank you Jo Lynn for finding and sharing that moment captured with me in your sweet message. Thank you Chris for being there at the perfect moment and freezing it not just for me but for everyone who’s ever shared a moment of advice with me. And thank you to the Dos Guys because you voluntarily choose to not sleep for days to coordinate an opportunity for me and my fellow cancer fighters to swim, bike and run alongside some phenomenal athletes as we try to do what we can to fight cancer for someone we love.
I get a text at 6:27 a.m. on a Sunday morning from a breast cancer survivor filled with encouragement and advice. And I think to myself, “Shouldn’t this be the other way around? How awesome is she???” So I take her advice to heart and do it. And while this moment captured may seem like a comical rendition of a Sad Keanu Meme, it is the moment I cherish before every event I do. Meditation, prayer, my conversation with Momma… Thank you JoLynn for sending this to me :)
We all have our different reasons for doing what we do. Always remember your WHY, respect it and respect why others are doing theirs.
I knew at that moment what I needed to do and I did it as best I could. This was not my race. It never was. And I’m so glad that I did what I did that day. And I’m so grateful for the obstacles that day presented me because now I know more than ever before of what I can do, what I need to do, how I can become a better person and why I need to. Weird how just a silly swim in red tide can burn your throat, make you cough and fill your head with decisions of a lifetime.
I will not be doing the Longhorn Ironman I had trained so hard to do in 4 weeks. God has a weird sense of humor and I’ll admit I wasn’t a fan but after this event and the rest of the signs came in, I understand now. I will be doing my Ironman in April 2016 in Galveston, Texas.
Exactly five years later and exactly four years later…. yep, exactly. And now you know.
Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s my sign.
And for those of you who follow me but don’t really care about my WHY or cancer and just want the low down on the triathlon this weekend… Here goes:
I purposely made myself the last swimmer out. I knew this wasn’t my race so I wasn’t going to go balls out in an event that had Red Tide. My throat was burning. I was coughing uncontrollably. My eyes were on fire and tearing up and my nostrils were acting as if they were auditioning for the Exorcist. From the get-go I kept a slow steady stroke with little to no kick so that my hips stayed in place. I never once lost my cool. I kept my heart rate down, calmed and steady. *That training that Coach Lori had me on was on full blast!
As I looked over my right shoulder when spotting every other breath, I saw a swimmer struggling so I stopped. “Myssie, I swallowed some water and I think I need to throw up!” She was frantic. What else was I to do… “So throw up. Who’s gonna know? Throw up and then take your time on the swim. You can make it up on the bike. Come on. Let’s go.”
She looked at me like I was a purple polka-dotted alien from Mars. So I slowly continued forward and looked over my shoulder for her every second breath. There she was. We collided several times because we stuck together so closely after that. I looked up again and saw the kayak.
“Did you throw up?” I asked.
“No” she said.
“Go hang on the kayak and do it,” again she looked at me like I was insane. But seriously. No really, seriously.
And we paddled on. There was another swimmer setting off into the direction of Port Isabel. I yelled out for her but her swim cap was over her ears and she was doing a phenomenal job of skimming her head with the level of the water. I yelled out to her three times before she heard me and made her way back. “I’m not a good at spotting in the water” she giggled.
And then we collected the last of the few who took the scenic route. The kayaks rounded us up to make sure we wouldn’t veer further off course but there I was… slow, steady, spotting, watching the others calmly, keeping everyone nearby as if the kayaks couldn’t do it better. As we passed the buoys and made our way into the channel, I realized that I must have lost one. I stopped and turned around. There he was. Hanging off a kayak. He’s ok if a kayaker has his back so I keep on going since there isn’t much more I can do – as if I can do anything really. As I got out of the water, I looked back for him again.
“He’s going to make it.” I said to myself and smiled.
“Is that a friend of yours?” Coach Carrie from San Antonio asked me as I made my way up the ramp.
“Yes, he’s TEAM” – and to this family, that’s really all I had to say.
I didn’t rush through transition. I made sure I got it all right.. and I did except for one part… the part I ALWAYS miss. Pushing the right Garmin button while on auto sport. You’d think I’d never done a triathlon before nor worn a Garmin! I still can’t get that darn thing right.
I admit, I struggled with the bike mount – but that was expected. After I wobbled on, it was pure bliss…My Mimi was perfect and I knew she couldn’t wait to show her stuff on the road. Poor baby has been handcuffed to a trainer for an eternity!!! I stood up on her to gain momentum and boom she took off!!! And then a block later I coughed… and coughed… and coughed… and loogied… and coughed. So here’s the thing, if you can’t breathe deeply while on your bike or on a run, your body becomes inefficient. There’s a rhythm to my training which is probably why I do so well with my music playlists. They keep me on beat. So when I get interrupted with coughing, that rhythm goes off beat and so do I. This is something that I really need to work on myself with for improvement.
Just when I’m down in the dumps about my lack of speed and breath control, a cyclist yells out “On your left” and I scoot over to let him pass when just a few seconds later, he slows down and levels out with me.
“Don’t let them catch you!” I told him.
“I’m not drafting if I’m beside you.” He smarted. “You do this for your mom, right?”
“Yes,” I said.
“I’ll be thinking about her and you now.” click click… and he zoomed off.
Wow. Just wow.
And I’m not going to talk about the run. I said some cuss words in my head that you probably don’t need to know about. But I loved that Cat took my hand and smiled and in that small little gesture of kindness, she said all that I needed.
This is the third year for me to do SPI Tri. Each year I do more and better than the year before.
And isn’t that how life should be? Triathlon is a combination of different sports slapped together to challenge how well you can balance all of them. It’s not about mastering one sport or one challenge. Because life isn’t really like that. You can be really really good at one thing… but the other things in life fall behind. My life is like a triathlon. I’m not really really good at any one thing but I do my best at every challenge that is thrown at me and I’m ok. In fact, my finisher medals in many times represent my struggles in real life to me. So far, I think I’ve done a pretty good job at conquering my challenges.
I love what the sport of triathlon has taught me. You can choose to have balance and make it to the finish line. Or you can achieve the supreme position by placing all your energy on one thing and doing it well and sacrificing a supreme position in other parts. Some people may accuse you of being obsessed if you choose the latter. Some people may accuse you of being lazy if you choose the other. And what took me forever to learn was what some people say doesn’t really matter at all. Just tri. Which ever you choose to do, do it for you.
Click here to see all the photos from SPI Tri