The day after I finished my first Ironman in Coeur d’Alene, I told my husband that I was going to do four more. A few days ago, I signed up for Ironman Cozumel which will be my fourth. I’m so glad I’ve transcended my obsession with keeping my word because I just can’t see that five will be my lifetime total. At this point in my life, I am fully embracing being a long course triathlete. For so many years, despite my love for the sport, I held back my enthusiasm and allowed myself to be conflicted. Seeing all my friends having families and constantly being reminded that I would make a great mother held me back. The fact is, I’ve never felt the urge to be a mother to any child with less than four legs and that’s my honest truth. Just like the day I said, “I will never, ever do a triathlon ever”, I am not saying that this won’t change. I leave myself open to all possibilities. The most important thing to me, is to fully embrace my life right now, as I live it. This sport has taught me so much over the years and my connection with it grows deeper every year. It has offered me invaluable experiences which have, no doubt, fast tracked me on my path to realizing myself. Through its ability to force surrender on its participants, it has taught me to begin again, no matter what. It is never to late too start over, there is always time.
In yoga, I always remind my students that the yoga poses are just the vehicle to practice yoga. The postures are not the yoga. The true yoga is the class that is going on in your head. Our thoughts are never going to stop but we can regain control of our mind through the practice of focus. I encourage my students to disregard how many times they find themselves in thought. It is the moments when you realize that you are not present that should be celebrated because those are the moments of awakening. It’s seeing the endless opportunities to begin again and acting on those that shift our lives in a positive way. Consciously moving away from the stories and drama that are being created in our minds about a pose or experience and choosing the breath again. Yoga has also helped me enormously with embracing and remaining calm in the face of sensation. And similar to Ironman, yoga has also showed me the art of surrender so that I may begin again, no matter what. It has showed me that it is never too late to start over, there is always time.
In Lake Placid earlier this year, I thought my day was over two hours into the race. As I huddled under that tent with other shivering athletes, wearing a trash bag and surgical gloves, I couldn’t imagine finishing the race. Crossing the finish line would mean getting back on my bike, riding 92 miles and running a marathon. None of which would be possible in the state I was in but with the reminder of patience from an aid station volunteer, I waited. Then I stopped shaking, I got back on my bike. It stopped raining, the sun came out. I felt insanely strong. I crossed the line with a huge PR on the day and my fastest marathon ever.
There are endless opportunities in the course of one day to begin again and nothing shows me that more than long course triathlon. Although I am a believer in No Pain, No Gain it’s with a completely different understanding now. The pain that I’m talking about is the letting go kind of pain. The allowing and acceptance of any given moment no matter the intensity. The relinquishment of wanting a situation or outcome to be different. To remain steadfast in living the most authentic version of me and right now, that means Ironman triathlon and lots of yoga, all the time (the true class).
See you in 2015 #IMCozumel!