Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Bionic Woman

Maybe it was because I was finished with school that I needed a new goal; or maybe because a friend challenged me to see the possible in what I thought was impossible; or maybe because my husband and I are now staring at each other in our empty nest thinking, “Who IS this person and how can we get reconnected?”  Perhaps it is because I’m reluctantly being confronted by the half century mark of life all up in my face that I decided to take on the physical challenge of a triathlon.

Let me be clear.  I have never been terribly athletic although I am coordinated enough and physically strong enough. But to be perfectly honest - I have always hated running and I abhor the 3 S’s – Sticky, Sweaty and Stinky!!!

So the day after my last class at school, I started back at the gym and a month later my husband (the high school marathoner, yeah, he’s that guy!) and I started to train for a triathlon.  It wasn’t easy for me. Like anything else, I had to build up my running endurance and strength but mostly I had to build up my mental strength.  Most of my training consisted of believing that I could run a 5K, bike 12 miles and swim 150m.  Well, that and a lot of ice!

In any case, on October 19, we did it!  I even finished 13th in my age division (don’t ask how many were in my age division!)! Ironically, the run turned out to be the easiest part and the short swim, the hardest (I swear, I thought I was going to drown!).

What I learned:
- I am better, stronger and faster than I thought I was (remember the Six Million Dollar Man/Bionic Woman?).
- To run a “race” (any race in life) one has to train - I had to get “bionic” in baby steps.
- I had to give myself a break.  I had to take days off of training to rest and repair;  I had to plan to give myself walking breaks within the run (previously I thought one HAD to run the entire 5K distance); and I had to give myself a break when I failed.  Failure is ALWAYS an option.
- I am never too old.

What “impossibility” can you challenge yourself with today?  I bet you’re better, stronger and faster than you think you are.  I bet you’re bionic too!

-Tessa L. Charles

“When you put yourself on the line in a race and expose yourself to the unknown, you learn things about yourself that are very exciting.” – Doris Brown Heritage, 5-time World Cross Country Champion

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