My year of doing epic shit: Giving it a TRI

I swear I had no desire to do a triathlon. NONE! As a dear friend once said, she has a bucket list and a “nother” list that rhymes with bucket and starts with an F. This was firmly on that other list for me.

I was not one of those crazy girls. I didn’t want to “do all the things.”

Or did I?

I’ve been watching Scarlett, Rocky, Jen, Shea, Michelle and Angelia all do crazy epic triathlons and open water swims and bike rides that are so freaking long it makes “the queen” hurt just watching them. I envied them because it looked like nothing scared them. They just did it.

imageAnd my friend, Coach Keisha, is so inspirational with all her tri posts. She and some of the women tri coaches in town put on a big weekend-long event called Time2Tri. It was designed to be a group of women new to the sport giving a triathlon a try. Get it? Giving it a tri? Bwahahahaha Anyway, the Friday night reception was going to include lots of inspiring stories, food, mocktails and a fashion show. Lots of friends were going and it was a good excuse to have a girls night. But Keisha, that sneaky queen bee, asked me a few days earlier to PLEASE model one of the outfits that night. I agreed because it sounded like she needed the help, and I know what it’s like to need help from friends to pull off epic stuff. So I couldn’t back out of going at the last minute and frankly, this was the only way I would be pulled out of my adorable running skirts.

Wait a minute. Was that on purpose?

Did she know that I wasn’t convinced I could do this?

Well, I have been eyeing some of that cute Betty Designs gear.

And cycling has been really good cross-training this spring…

And I probably should finally give this swimming this a go.

Did John just say I could have cupcakes if I do all three sports?

Could I really do it? Could I really finish a triathlon???

I want to be a part of the crazy, fierce girls.

Oh no. Did I just decide to do a tri????

imageYep, I signed up. I actually signed up for a race a month after the race that the group will be doing because I knew I wasn’t where the rest of the girls were with their swimming and, well,

#EpicShitDoesn’tIncludeDeath

image

Celebrating learning how to ride a two-wheeler by riding 5 miles!

I figure I’ve been scared of the water for 43 years, a few extra weeks weren’t going to kill me. So with no real goal in mind, I set out to look for someone that could “for real” teach me to swim. What I learned is that my almost-8 year old, who is absolutely petrified of the water, now wants to “for real” learn to swim because mommy is learning to swim. Even crazier? She hasn’t taken off her training wheels ever, and in one weekend she decided she was done with them and started riding her “big girl bike.” My focus shifted from racing for me to showing a little set of eyes that she can accomplish anything if she sets aside the fear.This might be the most #epic thing of all…

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Like a cat thrown in the deep end of a pool…

  I.Can’t.Swim.

cat-in-the-pool-5I’m mortified to even admit it. How did I get this way? I’m not sure. I think I have always had a fear of the water. As a kid, I wanted to be at the pool parties with my friends, but I was too terrified of being in the water so I would either not go or I would wear regular clothes and make an excuse. I think I had swim lessons, but I don’t ever remember getting past the “blowing bubbles in the shallow end” stage.

girls at the beach

What a day at the beach looks like – sand only, thank you…

If I got caught up in a body of water that was deeper than me, I can assure you, I could not save myself – that’s how bad I can’t swim. I have full-on panic attacks in the water when I can’t touch the bottom.

But 2016 is my year of #doing epic shit; and epic shit must include facing 43 year old fears. Epic shit includes being a great mom that is a role model for a seven year old little girl that can’t swim, has complete panic attacks in a body of water deeper than waist high and can’t get water in her face when she gets her hair washed. I want so much to teach her that it is ok to be afraid, but that strong girls learn to face fears instead of running away.

So here I am, holding on for dear life in a pool that is deeper than I am tall. So many fierce women in my life have told me they couldn’t swim before they decided that they would learn and go tackle IronMan competitions. I suspect that their “can’t swim” definition isn’t quite like mine, but nonetheless, I have been talked in to trying a triathlon.

Observation #1: Holy smokes, swimming lessons are tough to find for adults! Most of what I find when I search in the great googly for swim lessons is for little kids. I can neither make a 2pm swim lesson on Thursdays nor do I want to be shown up by a bunch of four year olds. Those kids are mean! The little bullies would totally make fun of the “big kid that is holding on for dear life and crying in the corner” (aka, me, LOL). So, off I go to googly “swim lessons for triathletes.” Hmmm, they seem a bit more advanced for what I’m looking for. I’m still holding on to the edge, remember? By luck, I saw that DFW Tri Club puts on a three-class beginner program that is designed for real beginners. A quick email to the coach assured me that it was ok that I really couldn’t swim. So I signed up.

all the stuff

when the heck did I get all this stuff???

Observation #2: How did I amass so much stuff just to swim???  In a short time, I have been told I needed a snorkel (so I bought one), a pair of goggles (yep, got ‘em), a kickboard (can I use this thing in the race???), a pair of flipper things (ok, these are really cool), a weird figure-eight buoy thing for keeping my butt up (really? I’d prefer my head up, but ok), and a nose clip (which I found was perfect with that blasted snorkel).

Observation #3: Despite all this STUFF, I’m apparently going to have to get up and down that pool in the race without any of it. This is not good. I tried the little flipper things, and they are awesome! And the kickboard is better than little arm wings so I’d really like to keep it. The snorkel? Keep it. I hate this thing. It’s like breathing through a straw, which has been the cause of many of my panic attacks because it’s like having a bad asthma attack.

wetcatSo, twenty-five yards at a time, I hang on to the wall and stare at the end, willing myself to make it all the way. With my trusty little flipper-things, I can just about make it all the way down in my own weird little “cat in the deep-end” way. It’s not pretty. I haven’t been able to master the “sing to the fishies, listen to the fishies” method of breathing while moving. For goodness sakes, there are four things going on at once and I’m clearly not able to remember to do them all at the same time! When I move my arms, I forget to kick. When I kick, I forget to breathe, and when I breathe, I forget to pull my head out of the water. I’m a complete mess.

So, I’m looking for any tips and tricks you may have on how to tackle that which might kill me. If you overcame a complete fear of the water to learn to swim, I’m all ears, because “listening to the fishies” is what I’m all about these days.

me and linda

Linda and me, tackling fears of water… I didn’t drown that day…