Well, the Trek Women's Triathlon race of July 2009 was absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed the whole thing.
Others have asked me, my trainer, Paul, has asked me, "What was the worst part of the race?"
Had to think on that. Really. There was no worst part. There have been several races since and there has yet to be a worst part. There are some moments that I may think, "This is getting a little difficult. C'mon girl. Go. GO!" Those moments are immediately followed by, "I can't believe I GET to do this! It's a challenge and I'm meeting it. I was a fat girl. God is good. God is faithful. I trained for this. I can do it! He is restoring the years the locust has eaten. I'm going to accept all He has for me and praise Him!"
Few have, however, asked about after.
I was ill-prepared for what happened to me after the race. It can be a difficult thing to explain so please bear with me.
After the smiles and tears of a VERY successful finish, I found myself quite sad! The transition area was emptying. Charis had just gotten a new phone and was busy texting away with well wishers from all over. The folks I tried to call didn't answer or had to go right away. She had a friend there and a sister and her family and I started feeling very alone.
This was very frustrating to me because I knew I'd be "on my own" with this. On a heart level I was prepared for it to be just God and I. He's who I did it for. And I KNEW He was with me, but the enemy was relentless. I tried to enjoy our celebration lunch out-complete with turtle sundae! Still, I was overwhelmed with thoughts before we left to head home. How would I make it through the rest of my races on my own? There was no special someone for me to share this with. God had to be enough. He knew what this was to me. He alone really understood how deep the journey went for me. How precious the victory was. How impossible-made-possible by faith and obedience.
I got over that wave of sadness. Then, on the ride home, Charis' husband Matt, called with our results.
Five weeks before the race I was finishing 5k in under 30 minutes. Then I had the leg injury and I went easy on the leg during the race. My 5k run took 32 minutes. And, even though I finished the swim 8 minutes faster than I thought I would and finished the bike faster too, Charis' overall time was much closer to the ideal time I want to do a race in. She was screaming and flailing all over in the car, so happy with her results. My heart didn't seem to listen to the very logical fact that I didn't have a road bike and that I pretty much went as fast as you can go on a hybrid on my bike. It didn't hear that I had done fantastic on the run after not having run for 5 weeks! I was so disappointed. Then mad at myself for being disappointed!
How could I be so ungrateful? I had done what I set out to do with God's help and finished the race. I was a triathlete!
I still don't have it all figured out! I'm not done growing in this experience. Even now, almost a year later, I have an aversion to being compared in some way to others. During a race I just zone in and do my own thing for the most part. But in a training or a practice where time is being kept and I'm aware of how I do compared to others - I FREAK OUT!! It's weird. It's like my brain demands that I refuse to compete.
As an example, during master's swim I would become so frustrated that I was so much slower than everyone else (this is not an exaggeration, I am always the slowest!) I couldn't relax enough to learn! I'd also stop bother trying to do well because I figured I'd never measure up anyway, I was so far behind, why bother? I quit going for 3 months! Now I get in and do my own thing. I have to tell myself that it's my race and no one else matters in my race.
This I do know: God's walking with me in this! That moment after the race, and several since, led me into a deeper examining of things I don't like about myself. I'm exploring His grace and the self-discipline I apply to my spiritual walk. He loves me and continues to show me that He does!
For the past many months I have beaten up and berated myself for my inability to just not care about how I do! How can I be so petty? Why do I care so much?! During one race, as I dropped back from pushing myself, I recognized that I feared my best wouldn't be good enough. How often had I sabatoged my life by not trying my best because I feared it wouldn't be good enough? That I would be compared and found wanting...On three separate occasions I contemplated quitting altogether so that I wouldn't have to deal with the conflict within myself. Each time God rescued me from that place! The best of who I am is how God can minister the fullness of abundant living to me! Of course the enemy wants to do anything and everything to keep me from that place!!
The two very specific things God's shown me so far:
The first, I am an incredible, unique individual. He created me to be exactly who I am. My mind, body and spirit and connections between them are unlike anyone else on earth. I said unlike, as in different, not better, just different! (Thank you, Becky Patton!) The strengths and weaknesses I have in body and in spirit can not be compared to anothers. I have to look to the Lord to address, manage, cultivate and cure them. I can not follow the formula of another persons life or ideas to "achieve" in any area of life. I have the privilege of Scripture study and wise counsel in my life, but ultimately God and I, my faithwalk in fellowship with Him, is what continuously proclaims victory in my life.
This dovetails to the second thing He's shown me, I will win, in my own life, every moment, every challenge, every trial, every race that I run with God. No one can come against the victorious living I do in my Saviour. If this is something He has for me to do-I intend to do it, by His strength and in His grace. Even if I'm the last one accross that line!