Two weeks ago, I participated in a triathlon.
It was not something that I have always wanted to do, especially at 48 years old. It just happened.
Let me explain.
I have a friend who went for a check up and her blood work came back with all sorts of warning signals. Thyroid, cholesterol, borderline diabetes...you know, the sort of things you don't want to hear when you have recently turned 40. This friend is one of a group of friends who meet regularly for prayer, encouragement, and just plain friendship.
At the announcement of our friend's health concerns, another in the group spoke up, saying,
"We should do that triathlon in April! That will encourage ALL of us to get healthy!"
Well, there are 8 of us in that group of friends.
Five of them had the wisdom to say, "That's not for me, you guys go ahead!"
I was not one of those five! So, I got online and registered along with two of my cohorts! That was in November 2009! The triathlon was scheduled for April 25.
Fast forward to the second week in April. I open my email and have a note from one of these two friends. It starts with this salutation, "Hi Hon!" Uh-oh.
Yep, pollen count is at a record high and this fellow athlete has been told by her allergist that she is forbidden to do the triathlon! I panic! I text the remaining buddy, trying desperately to back out! She will not encourage this decision of mine. In fact, she calmly states that she is not stressed, she is going to participate and do the best she can do. I calm down after about 15 minutes of ranting and raving about how unprepared I am. And then I agree to go ahead with it.
I continue my training. My swimming still lacks much! I persevere. I borrow a different bike. The chain breaks. I have it repaired. It is the day prior to the event. I call my one remaining partner...no answer. I pick up my packet and realize that it has the wrong name, that I won't even really be running. I call my buddy again. No answer. Finally, I get a text message, "Been nauseated (leaving out details here) and not sure I can do it in the morning. Going to ER."
I have no earthly idea what I am doing. I don't even know what to take with me other than the obvious...goggles, shoes, bike, helmet, and water. I go to bed and set my alarm for 5:00 a.m. Transition opens at 5:45. My husband is out of town. I have asked that nobody go to watch - I am too nervous to think about having someone there. Finally, I tell my son and his girlfriend, "Okay, it would be nice to know you are there."
The morning comes. Text from ill friend says the doctor told her "No Way!"
One cup of coffee; I am afraid more would cause me to need breaks too frequently.
Load the bike.
Check in. My bib number and MY AGE are written in magic marker on my legs, my arms. And yes, I am still "Will Deaver", not myself.
And I am alone. At a triathlon.
Exactly where God wanted me to be.
You see, He had a big lesson for me, and it was wrapped up with a triathlon. (Don't you think he could have selected something easier? A movie? Even a golf game? But no...a triathlon!)
All of my life, I have wanted to do things and didn't do them because I was afraid. I was afraid I would fail, or afraid someone would think I was silly or weird. Or, I did things I didn't want to do because someone else wanted me to do it. I was afraid they wouldn't like me if I declined. Or they wouldn't respect me if I said no. And whatever I did, I always wanted to have someone with me. A family member. A friend. Several friends. Never alone. ALONE....too scary. (some of you would know that this is co-dependency - which I have been overcoming for years)
And there I was. 6:00 a.m, standing in line to jump in a pool. A pool that I had never even seen before with a group of people (over 600 of them) who I had never met before. After swimming 275 yards, I was going to get on a bike, WET, and ride almost 13 miles on streets that I was unfamiliar with, amongst people I did not know. And then...crazy as it sounds, I dismounted and parked my bike and ran 5 kilometers. Well, I did walk part of it because I found out is is VERY difficult to run after riding for that many miles, but I did it! And I was alone. I did it because I wanted to! I did it for nobody but myself.
And I not only survived, but I enjoyed it. More and more, I am finding that I like being in my own company. And I like who I am. I am even learning that I can accomplish things - by myself and it is okay.
So, even though I missed my two friends who I thought were going to be with me on this journey, God had other plans for me.
And they are good.
I DID IT!
And yes, I am thinking of doing another one. Alone? That's fine...but if anyone wants to join me, there is one in October that looks good! :)