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Triathlon: The Tractor of Life

Today, I am alive.

I ran 12 miles, before 8:15 am, and I am alive.

It’s weird, because I am not alive and grateful for being “alive and grateful.”  Which is stupid.  Things I do “know” in my heart:

  1. Every day is a gift.
  2. Every day that I can breathe, kiss my children, laugh, walk a step, smile and feel the sunlight on my face—I should be and feel and drink in, being ALIVE.
  3. Every day is a gift.  (Yes, I know that’s #1 too).

But shamefully, often I don’t feel that way.

Maybe I battle depression. Maybe I am tired. Maybe (definitely) I am piling too much on my plate.

Maybe, maybe.

But when I run 12 miles and walk to my car to head into work…  and the wind is blowing and I’m struggling with my heavy gym bag… I am thinking nothing but “happiness” and “joy”, and my soul screams, “I am alive.”

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“At the end of the day, let there be no excuses, no explanations, no regrets.” ― Steve Maraboli

What is it about a long run or a hard workout that makes us feel alive?

I have spent most of the day thinking about this.  (FYI – I am not a “deep” person. I have to think about these things for a long time, people, before they sometimes make sense.)

And I came to this conclusion.

Back when I embarked on the journey of “I have decided to become a triathlete,” long before Swim Bike Mom shenanigans was really in full force, before we were an “Army,” and long before we had t-shirts and race tattoos…  there was just me.  A sad, angry, Fat Stranger of a lost soul, fluttering to court and home and raising two kids under the age of two, and juggling so much fat and stuff… I didn’t know which way was up.

And I think about where I am now.

I am still a circus juggler.  In fact, I now juggle more than I did then.

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5:00 am: PRE-RUN… 8:00am: POST-RUN…. 8:30am: READY FOR WORK

But something else  has happened since August of 2010.  The journey started then, and it still continues… but during that journey, much of my life has remained the same.  I am still juggling the same things.

But I was the one who has changed.  And I only changed in one small way:

I found my strength.

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Back with new babies and a tough job …and no outlet … no goals  …no time for me — of course I was lost and sad and angry.

Life was still “good,” but I could not believe it was good–because I could not feel  the goodness.  I was weak.  I had no inner strength. Whatsoever.  I had no belief in myself.  I was just existing and surviving, not thriving or pushing myself to be better.

And now?

I have come far enough where I can trust my strength.  Where I can trust that I can swim and bike and run–and accomplish goals.  It wasn’t always that way–I had to work so hard, especially from the beginning, and grow into tiny pockets of confidence.

Still, I do not have a ton of confidence. I feel unworthy most of the time.  But I do have strength.  And I know that. I recognize how strong my mind is, and how it can make my body do crazy stunts.

And I am thankful for that.

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Sometimes, when I am stressed to the gills (like I was yesterday), I am unable to feel  the goodness of life.  Sometimes when I am hurting, whether physically or emotionally, I forget to be grateful.  The goodness is there, but I forget. (Bad, I know).  Which goes back to my whole issue of worthiness… another #issue of mine.

But the gift of triathlon–of sweating–is the lens  through which I am able to feel and see and live the blessings, to feel alive.

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And someone outside of the sport may say, “that is absurd” or “just be a good mother” or “stop running from your problems.”

But all of us “in” this sport, I have a feeling, can nod and understand and “get” exactly what I am saying.

We all TRI  for our own reasons.

After today’s run, I see that I need triathlon, often more than I realize.  That I need to run and hurt and be sweaty, so I can feel alive.  So I can appreciate the everyday joys that are right in front of my face.

Triathlon, for me, is a giant tractor… if I get on my tractor in the morning, and ride the path for a little bit, it clears out all the funk and mess — so I can see exactly what a beautiful life it is.

And sometimes, such a beautiful mess:

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The things I love about this picture from last night ^^^

…Well, it’s like a “Where’s Waldo” of the Swim Bike Family.  Luckily, these are actually clean clothes, and I just dumped them on the (unmade) bed.  But I love that the kids immediately grabbed visors and put them on.  I love that there is nothing but a pile of clean workout clothes and sports bras and visors, and karate belts and Grid on the floor in the background. That those good smellin’, freshly bathed kiddos are in jammies.

A triathlete momma’s dream:  a bed full of clean workout clothes and good smelling munchkins.

Life. Is. Good.

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love …” ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

How true.  Happy Thursday, friends.

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