It’s still January, so I think it’s still safe for me write about New Year’s Resolutions, correct?
Well, let me tell you. I made a big one this year.
And it’s so cliche that it’s NAUSEATING. But it’s been made, and so far, 25 days in, it’s been kept.
This year, I am going to be competing in a triathlon.
Let’s just let that sink in.
If you don’t know me, I am not “IN SHAPE”. Well, I am IN A SHAPE, but not the one I need to be in to be considered ATHLETIC in any sense of the word. When I step on the Wii board, my little Wii characterr blows up and gets all SAD and then it tells me, HEY YOU ARE OBESE AND LOOK HOW SAD YOU MADE YOUR LITTLE NINTENDO DOPPLEGANGER.
It’s super encouraging.
Anyway, so I am going to run a triathlon. Well, swim, bike AND THEN run. A TRIATHLON.
Well, with a massive change in our eating habits (Whole30 anyone??), and a huge uptick in my ATHLETIC OUTPUT, we are on our way.
Why a triathlon? Well, a while ago I stumbled across a BLOGGING COMPETITION, and thought to myself, SELF, you should enter! So I did. But the “winner” of said competition would then be blogging about their training and completion of a terrible race called the TRIPLE BRUTAL, which is over in Wales. The “winner” (I am using that term lightly here) would then have to swim 7 miles, bike over 300, and run just under 80. Like… in a row….
Jesus saved me and made me lose that competition.
BUT. It put the idea in my head. If I was ready to do THAT (which… being honest here, I didn’t actually KNOW how long the race was when I signed up… that was a comedic discovery that happened about a week later when I casually mentioned it to my friends), then OF COURSE I could go ahead and do a normal traithlon…. cause the whole thing would be shorter than the run section of the TRIPLE BRUTAL. It sounds EASY now.
Anyway, so I set out to do it. I have my eye on one in July, which sounds pretty far away but I am sure is actually right around the corner.
It’s been an interesting experience training for this thing.
To help you understand where I started, I “used” to be a runner. I was training for a half marathon before Tiny Human came around, but I only got up to 9 miles before SURPRISE, you’re pregnant and will now commence vomiting for the next four months! Since his arrival, I have dabbled in running here and there, but have recently ballooned to my heaviest weight EVER because STRESS and FOOD. When I started running this go around, it took me weeks to be able to run one mile consecutively, and now I am waylaid with shin splints because of all the WEIGHT.
In terms of biking, I have not ridden a bike since high school. And in fact, that’s the bike I STILL OWN. And I am thirty-something (to be clear, I am not hiding my age because of an avoidance of the topic, but because if I had to figure it out I would have to do math and I am not awake enough for that).
And swimming… I grew up on a river, so I am not afraid of water, and can stay afloat, but in no way am prepared to swim 100 meters with an actual stroke, let alone the 400-500 that I will have to do on the race.
SO. We train.
I am at the gym several times a week, and have happily acclimated to not having creamer in my coffee.
But DANG, do I feel foolish. All the time. And I think that’s how it goes with Big Goals. When we set our goals above our comfort zone, they get scary and suddenly inconceivable. We get into our own heads and start talking ourselves out of it, lest we have to be talked out of it by someone OTHER than ourselves.
Yesterday I went to the gym. I was planning on doing bike and swim (I have taken TWO lessons on swimming so far… getting there!). I jumped on the bike first. In this particular gym, the bikes and the treadmills face towards the window, so the rest of the gym sits behind them. So I hop on the bike and very easily slip into my own world. Twenty minutes later, I am five miles in, and my butt, vagina and toes are completely UTTERLY numb. And yes, I just said vagina. I am not pulling punches here. I was in so much pain, but my goal was 6 miles. So I let the bike pretend-glide and stood up on the pedals, and because WINDOW and HEADPHONES, I quite forgot that I was in a GYM, full of PEOPLE, who are all BEHIND ME, and as I stood I gave myself a few good smacks in the butt and continued to wiggle it back and forth to attempt to get some blood to flow back in there. And then TA-DA, I remembered that I was in a public place and DUDE you come to the gym to look athletic, not to remind people that you are not quite athletic YET. I sat down so fast I nearly fell off the bike, and continued on my merry way to complete the last mile. Not surprising that that was my fastest mile.
On to SWIM! Before I even got dressed, I ducked my head out to make sure there was a lane open. I am in my head at this point and don’t want to appear as if I don’t know what I’m doing, which I don’t, and having a lane to myself seems like the best way to go. It looked as if there were a few open, so I quickly changed (QUICKLY AND AWKWARDLY, since I definitely didn’t want anyone to see that I didn’t have the perfect bod YET). I made it out there, jumped in the far lane, and off I went. SOOOOO SLOWLY. I was only about two laps in when another woman asked if she could join me. I looked around, and sure enough, all of the lanes were full. I said Sure! sounding more excited than I was. Be cool, Laura. Make sure she doesn’t know that you have no idea what you are doing.
“Just so you know, I am pretty new! So feel free to pass me! You know, cause I am just warming up! So you can just pass me!”
“How about you just stay on your side and I stay on my side?”
“Check! Awesome! Sounds great! I can do that! You know, I am training for a triathlon. That’s where you swim and bike and run.”
“Have fun with that.” Starts swimming.
“Ya! I… will! Ok! Have a nice swim!”
SHUT UP LAURA.
Ok… start swimming. Can we high five in the middle? Is that allowed? No small talk, that’s clear. Can I impress her with my impression of a water fountain? Do I look cool enough with my Target bathing suit and bright pink swim hat that I think might be on inside out and my googles that perhaps are youth-sized and not the correct ones for lap swimming? I look like the real thing, right??
Goal setting is easy.
Goal doing is really hard.
Because when you are goal DOING, you have to first admit that you are probably going to be terrible at whatever it is you are trying to do. That’s why we make goals. To out-do ourselves.
And what is more, you will probably look like you don’t belong in whatever it is you are doing. I look so very UNATHLETIC right now. And I struggle because, even though I am down about 15 pounds, I am still obese and still slow and still panting and just not pretty when I work out. Other people cannot see how far I have come, so that progress gets erased in my own head.
But I’m doing it.
And that’s the thing.
Until you decide that you are going to do your goal for YOURSELF, and not for the people who may or may not get it along your journey, it will never work. There will always be self-doubt. There will always be a reason to not do it because you haven’t done it yet. There will always be people who roll their eyes and hand you a cupcake instead.
But hold fast. Because how you do it and what it looks like in the end is YOUR business, not theirs. I can run on the treadmill, and my butt and sides and arms can jiggle all they want, because I know I have so much more energy to play with my kids now. I can be panting after 25 yards of swimming, and rejoice, because I JUST SWAM 25 YARDS. I can fall over after I get off the bike because I can’t feel the lower half of my body, and sing praise because I DID IT. Even if I look foolish. Even if I feel foolish. This foolishness is for ME.