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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mind Games

The countdown to the Boiler Sprint Tri had begun. With only 10 days remaining before the event, I'm beginning to get nervous. One minute I'm all jazzed up to participate in the event; the next minute that awful feeling of nausea clutches at my stomach. This is when I wonder why I put myself through the discomfort of agonizing over training, eating, and goal setting. Not to mention the money I've spent on equipment, which is kind of silly as I'll never be competitive. If I let myself think about it too long, I end up feeling epically stupid over the amount I've sunk into the bike, the clothes, and most recently, the coolest sunglasses ever! The rational side of me looks condescendingly at the stupid side of me and says, "Really? That could have paid for your middle child's braces." My childish response is, "Yeah? Well, he doesn't have braces yet, so there." This back and forth goes on for awhile, until some other life business distracts me, and I can thankfully escape my self torture.

Though I agonize over the money, the training, and everything else connected to participating in sprint tri's and cycling events, I truly do enjoy the benefits I've garnered from the regular training, the careful eating, and proving to myself I can finish what I start. In fact, ever since I began working towards my first sprint tri, ever since I began putting in the miles on the bike, I've taken that same determination into other parts of my life. My swimming last year at this time was weak. I would swim the minimum of 400 meters and call it done. Now I go for 1000 meters, determined to do a mile if no one is waiting for a lane and if time permits. During my swims now, I don't rest nearly like I did last year. The overall strength I feel a year beyond when I started is significantly greater. I think about this strength during my days at work, and knowing how much I've improved affects in a very positive way my attitude while in the classroom. I see a difference in me as a teacher, a good difference.

Another area that has changed for the better is my writing life. I give the credit for this to working out and participating in the different events. While I've always said I want to be a writer, I didn't take the steps to make being a writer a reality. Saying I want to be a writer is easy. Making it a part of my life every single day is difficult. Then one day the thought occurred to me that I make running, cycling, and swimming a part of my daily life; I demand of my family that this not be interrupted. Why couldn't I do the same with writing?  So I did. Enough talk. More action. I established a schedule for writing, informed the family that when the office door is closed and the DND sign is up, Mom is working. Leave Mom alone. Most often, they allow me my time, and because of my commitment and their cooperation, I can actually say now that I am a writer.

I think, too, that my kids have benefited from my immersing myself in training and participating in events.My middle child, the one who won't get braces now since I spent the money on a bike and extravagantly expensive sunglasses, has watched me through these past two years, and during this time I've seen a change in his attitude. He is a tall 14 year old--6 feet. He's beefy to boot. Football coaches love him. Basketball coaches love him. And now, with track season, the throwing coaches love him. He has talent, but he didn't believe in himself up until this year. This basketball season he showed determination like I've never seen. At track practice last week, he threw better than he did all last season. I can see a change, a positive change, and I have to wonder if it's because he's seen me work towards goals and meet those goals. Maybe he's thinking if an old lady like Mom can do a sprint tri and climb stairs, he most definitely can swish a basketball and throw a discus.

So, yeah, I've spent a lot of money, but the positives because of it count for something. At least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself for now.

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