Cold Water, Different Directions

Dear 80-ish-year-old Sharon,

So yesterday (but if you’re 80ish and reading this it’s a much longer time than yesterday) you got up at 6:00a.m. to race in a triathlon. You ate a bagel, drank your coffee, sucked back water and drove to downtown Toronto so you could swim, bike, run. Only the water was pretty freaking cold and when you jumped in you couldn’t breathe. But you still started swimming when that horn went off. Arms moving, face in the water but every time you tried to take a breath in, all you could manage was a quick gasp. That was quite something, wasn’t it?

You must have looked like quite the clusterf*ck because Young Hot Australian rescue dude on the paddleboard kept calling over to you, “Are you okay?” and then you’d give him the thumbs up. Only the third time he called over you shook your head no and gave him  the “I surrender” wave.

So Hot Australian Dude on the paddle board called over cute, young Hannah in the kayak and you hung on and debated for a few seconds whether or not to continue but your hyperventilating-can’t-catch-a-breath-lungs said, No Way Jose and you told her to call over the boat. Then you took the boat ride of shame back to the dock but not before being unceremoniously hauled in.

There is no graceful way to be pulled from the water into a boat.

On the incredibly short boat ride back you didn’t feel embarrassed, mostly just disappointed. Training-wise you had done everything but you can’t overcome your body shutting down in the cold. Or apparently you can because about 2000 other racers were able to do it. Just not you.

Then you had to take off your timing chip and pack up your equipment in the transition zone while everyone else was racing, so that was fun. And then there was the crying.

I’m not writing this to remind you of the shittiness of this triathlon experience. I’m writing this because life gets interesting when the unexpected comes your way and what seems like a road block is sometimes just a guide to send you off in a different direction.

You may have been pulled from the water but when you got home your kids had written you this amazing note.

triathlon noteThen you had a shower, took the boys out for lunch (burgers and fries FTW!) read a book, hung out and drank some wine.

And the next day you signed up for your very first duathlon.

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Toronto Triathlon Festival 2014

Tomorrow is the Toronto Triathlon Festival. I’ll swim, cycle, and run for the third time in my life and quite frankly, I’m feeling ill-prepared. But unlike last year’s clusterf*ck at the Ontario Women’s Triathlon I know I will muddle my way through it.

And then I have a plan. It’s still in my head and I haven’t said it out loud to anyone but my husband. I’m not even sure if it will come to fruition but I think it will because it’s been niggling at me ever since my husband, the truth-teller, told me the truth about something once again and now it has stuck with me, like a leech I can’t remove. But this idea depends on how tomorrow goes, not time-wise but how I feel after it’s over.

So tomorrow I race, in the 45-49 age group, no less.

But first, before anything, I need to see if my wetsuit still fits.

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