My first triathlon has been one of the toughest and most fun experiences in my life. It taught me how not to quit, and how to stop measuring myself against others, and how to... just BE and ENJOY.
I think I talked in my last post about my counseling, and stuff like that. I'm making progress according to my counselor. I feel I am making progress. One of the issues that God has been working in my heart is that of comparing myself to others. I just couldn't figure out why it is that I did it. I'm learning to say NO, and breaking some idols. You know, like pleasing people. I'm learning about my behaviors, and where they come from. My parenting, my shame, and how all this has affected my relationship with my husband and my children. I'm not stuffing my feelings anymore, so that has been great for the most part.
The triathlon story actually began a long time ago, when I felt overwhelmed with life, and family, and myself. I always quit when I feel threatened. I always feel that I cannot do things like others do. I always compare myself to others. I push back and give up. Comparing myself to others has been a very awful game, because I end up being extremely proud putting others down to puff myself up OR I end up having a pity party because I'm the scum of the earth. Both behaviors are wrong. And it's like I know it... It's not healthy. So I've been stuck figuring out where it all comes from.
|I'll pretend one of those is me, but I don't think so|
So anyways... I was comparing myself to a friend, and how wonderful she was at swimming. I felt bad - that I was bad. I've never swum before, but still I felt terrible. I ended up joining a Master's Swim Class at the YMCA, and little by little, watching YouTube videos I taught myself to swim - wrongly of course. LOL! With little tweaks here and there from my coaches on deck, and the support of my friends at the pool, I began swimming faster - whatever fast is for me - and swimming became easier. I was getting better and fitter. And I began to love swimming. It started as a I HAVE TO PROVE MYSELF I CAN DO THIS THING, but it became a I LOVE THIS THING. This in itself is super weird because I have never done anything for the sake of JOY.
I used to run because I HAD to exercise, but not because I loved running. I have run half marathons and I always try to beat some times, but only for the sake of being my best, as if being better than gave me relief. That has been my life for quite a while. And I won't bore you to death, but I am sure where all this is coming from, and I'm going back to my childhood - almost always. DUH!
So I decided NOT to do a triathlon with this friend because I was afraid, and I had to stuff that feeling. I felt pushed into it, and I fought back - that's all I've ever done. Once I loved swimming, of course I wanted to swim in open water! It had to be so relaxing, right? Uh... NOPE! So one day, asking God whether or not to sign up for the triathlon, it was very confusing... I just knew I wanted to swim, but the same thing happened... Would I be able to swim in open water? What if I can't do this? What if I can't do that? Blah, blah...
|This is my face before I found out my babies where going to see my swim start|
And I told God, "You know what? It would be pretty helpful if only you could tell me YES, DO IT or NO, DO NOT DO IT. I guess it is my choice. But today I am going to swim for you and you only. Because I feel really great that I can swim. And I thank you for that. I'll do my best today at my class, and then I'll choose what to do"
And that day I swam my first mile.!!!
And I knew that God loved watching me doing things because I enjoyed them, not because I had to show Him or anybody anything. And then, long story short, I fixed my bike, because I cannot seem to enjoy riding that bike. And I spent almost all my savings preparing for this race. LOL! Then I hurt my wrist, and stopped my training for about a month. Then we went to Colorado on vacation, and I only rode the bike two more times after that. I really just wanted to swim and not die.
The open water swim practice was awful!!! I couldn't even swim 50 yd. I had to lie on my back, and I was so exhausted. I had to swim back to shore. Once there, all these feelings of inadequacy came back. I thought I was good at swimming, right? I could swim 2000 yd. at the pool, so what was happening? Panic was happening. And then I talked myself into swimming again. I was about to quit, but I heard my own voice condemning myself. And my motivation was basically money. LOL!
"You have made it this far. You have spent all this money. You have put all these hours into that swimming class. For what, to quit? You are afraid, this is not physical, this is in your freaking mind. This is so you... to quit. No, I cannot quit this time. I already paid for this race. God, I'm gonna do this. I don't want to drown."
|Oh, you're here!!|
And then I swam the course... At some point I just had to keep breathing, and repeating myself, "Just breathe, just breathe". THAT help me mentally for the race yesterday. I did lie on my back for some five seconds, and then I remembered there was another wave coming after me, so I kept on swimming. I passed some people, and I freaked out because I was not able to see the second buoy. I asked a kayak. People grabbed my ankles, like literally held on to my feet. I had no idea if that was them trying to tell me to move away. I think that is etiquette at the pool, but I was like, "You wanna pass me, pass me. I'm not moving away." I actually swam faster trying to break away from them holding on to my legs.
Other people held on to my arms, or pushed me because I was swimming very close to them. As much as I tried to follow my coaches' advice of not sighting too much, I had to do it because I could constantly feel bubbles of people I was about to pass. And I had to move sideways as to not swim over them or pay the price of being kicked in the face. Maybe for my next one I'll try to swim at the front of my wave, or in the middle, but not all the way to the back.
The ghost of comparing myself to others was ever present with me. Not on the swim, though. When I was swimming, I was like in another world. And then, I would snap out of it and think, "Oh, wow... This is the day I was waiting for. This is the actual race".
Once I got out, I felt so happy. I literally thought, "This is over for me. I did it. I swam."
My HECK, YEAH face
That face and those fists describe my heart - I was overjoyed
for not dying AND meeting my own time expectations.
I wanted to be fast, to be better than - of course - but I fought that feeling. I've been reflecting on this issue for the last month, and I have come up with some good reasons I do compare myself to others. Growing up I was always praised for good behavior, or good grades, or good whatever. Few times, if ever, I heard my parents telling me they loved me for me. I remember clearly being told they loved me because they had to love me, because I was their child. And what stuck with me was that they HAD to.
I am coming a long ways from codependency. This journey is long. But I do believe now that I am worthy. That I am loved. That God adores me. And then the triathlon... Some weeks before, I felt bad for not having a watch, you know? I felt sad. As if being like others, fitting in, belonging was everything. And it is important, do not get me wrong. But I am trying to figure out what it is exactly that drives this emotion, this behavior of mine. This is how my mind works. I had to know what drives the behavior, otherwise how do you attack the root? Does that make sense? I began saying NO, and standing up for myself when I discovered I was afraid of people.
My YAY face
|"Alright... so where do we go now?"|
So with comparison... Yesterday, every single person had a GARMIN, or whatever gadget. And I had my Timex that would only give me total time. And I made the conscious decision of buying that one, because I knew I couldn't afford it, and that looking at my pace would only drive me crazier.
I just feel that when I compare myself to others - and this is something I have yet to talk to my counselor - is like telling God that what He is doing in me, and through me and for me is bullshit, you know? Like telling Him, "You know, your help is nice, but I still want NOT what you have for me, but what you have for others. Because I like what you do in them, not in me."
It feels like another way of idolizing. When I close my eyes, the way this feels... it is like I am holding something (let's say it's a baby). In my vision, holding this thing or this baby is the most precious thing I could ever do. It is my responsibility to take care of it. But then I see other things, other babies or other stuff, and what I do in my vision is that I put down the one baby I am holding. Once it is down, I am trying to chase after these other things, but then I feel very sad because I end up realizing that the one I put down was the one meant for me. And I feel really sad for chasing after something that was of no value because the one that really mattered was the one I was holding, and I wasted all my energy and all of my life trying to chase after others.
I am trying to understand this thing that I see when I close my eyes... Nothing makes sense except that the thing that is in my arms is myself. I am losing me. I see life going through, and I chase after these things and I miss me. I miss my life. I miss my story. And I am sick of that. So now, I am trying to learn to stop that behavior.
|Coming back from the bike :)|
So once on the bike, I did my best. I was going fast, enjoying, and every time the monster showed up, I remembered about my vision, and I literally said, "It doesn't mater, this is your story. It is wrong to steal other people's stories. This is the story God wrote for me. Enjoy your story."
Then I followed a lady who had a cool bike computer, and I stuck with her for quite a while. I asked her what mile we were on, and our speed. She said we were on mile 7 @ 17-18 mph. And that was like another heck-yeah moment for me. When I was training, I could never go faster than 15 mph. It was so boring to get on the bike. I think it was the road, and that I had to consider cars and stuff... But on the race, the course was flat and there was police, so there was no fear of getting killed by a car.
So that lady's computer gave me another boost in morale, you know? I thought I had to kill myself to be able to do 55 minutes on the bike, but I finished in 45 minutes. That computer thingy was spot on!
By the time I began running, I realized that I was WAY over my own mental barrier. And I wanted to crush my own goal, right? I had never done the three things together, so I set my own goal of 2 hours. So I began feeling that feeling of keep moving, go faster, beat yourself, compete... And then I looked at the lake. It was beautiful. Nobody was swimming, and the buoys were gone.
I swam that. And my own perfectionism was like, "Well, it's not that far, you know? It's not a big deal". But it was a big deal. It was for me. And then, like in a crazy movie when you have two personalities I looked at the lake again. No, it is far! I swam that! I swam that! I freaking swam that!
It went much like this, LOL!
LEAVE NOW AND NEVER COME BACK!
And then I was so happy, that basically it was just a party for me after mile one. I took my sweet time drinking water, putting ice on my head every mile, walking every now and then - just really enjoying my time on the run. I was like, "Man, even if I walk, I can still make it under two hours..."
And it was amazing... I never knew what people meant when they said something was fun. Specially when exercise was involved. I had never had fun. But this time I had so much fun. So much fun. I think I might do a tri again. Just for fun. I think it was a good counseling session, too. LOL!
I finished in 1:41:49.3
Could I have killed myself and do better? Probably. Maybe another time :)
I finished in 1:41:49.3
Could I have killed myself and do better? Probably. Maybe another time :)