Finding My Inner Ironman to Tell My Story
The crunch of sand, smooshes between my toes. Music in the background turns faint. Snap, go my goggles as I slide them into place. Fluorescent buoys mark a mist covered lake. My eyes scan a swim course that looks far longer than I can handle. My breath grows shallow. The rhythm of my heartbeat, pounds aloud.
In that moment, of every major triathlon first – my first race, my first longer race, beginning of my second season, and for many more firsts until I find my triathlon skin, my mind races and it’s always the same. “I don’t want to do this anymore. Why do I do this to myself – the training and all the hard work. It’s pointless and I don’t know why I’ve put so much into this.. ” I sink into myself.
My group is announced and I find my way to the front of the pack. Smiles from friends and strangers quiet my mind. The chill of the water startles my sleepy body and I’m alive, joyful.
Somewhere amid the swim something magical happens. I’m elated and my mind chatter is in awe. “This. This is amazing. I can do this and I can do anything.”
For four years, among starts and stops, but always present, for four years, I’ve worked on my first manuscript. Alone in my room, it feels like a good idea. My gut says, I must. My heart says keep going.
My mind? Oh my mind. My mind is all over the map, depending on the moment. This week, as the Ironman of writer’s conference approaches and with it, the impending reality that I now must talk about this story has become evident, my mind is not happy. “I don’t want to do this anymore. Why do I do this to myself – all the writing and all the hard work. It’s pointless and I don’t know why I’ve put so much into this.. ” I sink into myself.
No goggles to hide behind, or familiar faces on the plane, or in the crowd, and yet I know, I carry all the support I need in my heart.
I don’t know what it will feel like to publicly rip off the Band Aid and to share my story. What I know is that there is no turning back.
I’m also present to what it means (and feels like) to be so emotionally invested that putting myself out there is scary as shit. And I now know, I don’t want to play in life any other way. After all, if I’m not fully invested and at least slightly petrified, than I’m playing it safe, and life is far too short for sitting on the sidelines and playing small.
Triathlon has taught me, who I am in the face of fear and what my inner monologue will say. Today, I say, “I’m going anyway and it’s going to be great. I cannot wait to get to the second buoy.”
What one thing would you do, if not only you knew you wouldn’t fail, but that you knew you would be great? I say do it. The only way you will know what it feels like ‘to do anything,’ is to give it a try.