Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Triathlon is a Team Sport!

** I dedicate this blog post to my dear friend Shirley**

Today I benefited from amazing kindness and generosity from a dear friend of mine. She has been for many years my triathlon race mate and everything beyond.

I went to a LA Tri Club group ocean swim session this morning. My dear friend was there, when I least expected her! She said that she had to get a new wetsuit because of a tear so she wanted to test it out. We started together, and we swam through the first 50 yards or so...until I started hyperventilating. At some point I thought I was going to have a heart attack as my chest tightened up, and it completely discouraged me from going forward. She realized that I was falling behind, so she came back to check up on me. She helped me regain my breathing, relax and waited until I could continue swimming again. Thanks to her, I was able to stop myself from doubting. She stopped every time i stopped, she kept encouraging me and making me feel at ease. I realized that I may have started way too fast, gave myself too little time to get used to the cold water (which revvs up my heart rate). I wanted to get out of the water and quit altogether, but i knew that was not an option, because in order to get out of the water i would have to keep swimming anyway.

Finally, on the first loop back to the shore, I didn't have to stop as I was able to breathe long and steady, and I kept my strokes more under control (i.e., not flying arms). My friend never stopped checking up on me. I was so grateful. I got so psyched up that we managed to do another loop out and back!

I realized, triathlons, despite having its very individual nature, can be a team sport when it comes to training. So far I have had the help of so many people cycling with me and swimming with me, keeping me motivated and strong. Without my friend today who stood by me the entire time, I would have never finished my ocean swim. And because of today's successful swim I will be able to keep going forward. Had I quit today, I would have lost the courage to go back to the ocean because of this single incident.

Sometimes we panic. Sometimes we feel helpless. In those times, we have our loved ones around us - don't be afraid to reach out, as they are kind and loving enough to help you through when you are struggling. I am so grateful for what happened today - it really put in perspective how my efforts are really not just my own - i have become who i am because of the people in my life who have been there for me. Even some of the readers have given me amazing advice and encouragement to keep going when I thought I had to stop because of my prolonged injuries. Thank you all. I cannot boast about what i can do - because it does not just come from me. Without the people around me, I would be nowhere right now.

I am thankful for the team (friends, training buddies and my blog readers) in my triathlon life! You are all a part of Minnie's team! Thank you!!!!

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