I watched Laura swim, bike and run a sprint triathalon yesterday. On the way out there (way too early in the morning) I recalled my own triathalon last year, the “tri” of cancer treatment. I’d used the triathalon metaphor for the three parts of treatment that I had to endure: surgery, chemo and radiation, recognizing that I was in it for the long haul.
Laura had a baby only three months ago and didn’t start training until she’d given her body time to recover from birth etc. She actually had been training for a triathalon in July but found that one was full when she went to sign up. She found this one and decided on Wednesday to do it. She was undertrained so her only goal was to finish it; it wasn’t about speed.
I, too, was undertrained for my tri(al.) Having no plan to run the cancer triathalon, I had little time to prepare. I had to just jump in and do it (like Nike) and keep my focus on the finish line, not the process.
Laura’s sprint (half) triathalon was a women only event, and breast cancer is a women-mostly event. Women of every imaginable shape, size and age enter–and finish. I’m always amazed as I sit on the sidelines to watch the variety of women who will do this. Women large and small will pour themselves into spandex (or wetsuits) and swim, bike and run in front of hundreds of cheering friends, family and strangers. And they will run, jog and walk to the finish line, red, sweaty and some clearly in pain. Still, they are smiling when they do so and there’s something winsome about the whole affair. Every time I watch these women I think “If they can do it, so could I.” (And my next thought is always, “But why would I want to?”)
Besides being there to cheer for Laura, I was also there to help Taylor with the two boys. I held Oaks and entertained Kellen at the park, trading off with Taylor as needed. We had parked ourselves 200 yards or so from the finish line (in the shade) so when Laura went by, Taylor ran with her for the last bit (dropping out before she entered the “chute” to the finish line.) I gathered up the boys and pushed the big stroller over to the finish area. I told Kellen that Mama had already crossed the finish line and he responded with great faith and simplicity, “Did she win?”
Yes, Kellen, she won.
I am amazed by my daughter’s strength and determination. A half-mile swim, 14-mile bike, and 5 K run, one after the other. Any one of those things seems impossible to me, all three together–yikes! Three months post-partum and any training at all with an active boy and a baby. (She’s been going to a 5:00 a.m. Masters Swim Class twice a week lately.) All this with a little sleep deprivation thrown in. And she’s not done either: She plans to do the Chicago Triathalon in August.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures from yesterday.
After the Swim:
Celebrating the Finish: