Yes, yes I did. I did a triathlon. I could caveat this a thousand ways by saying that it was a really short triathlon and that I came in 159/169 participants, but really? Who cares? I did a triathlon. Have you done a triathlon? Exactly.

Couple of lessons learned:

  1. If you’re using someone else’s bike, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you know how to change the gears before you go to the triathlon race course. (Insert facepalm here.)
  2. Also, if you’re using someone else’s bike, it’s probably a good idea to make sure you can get the water bottle out of the cage while you’re riding. (I couldn’t.)
  3. Also related to the bike: that woman with the speakers zap strapped to her handlebars went a whole lot faster than I did. Note: if you’re not allowed to wear headphones (which would be really unsafe), the minispeaker system ain’t a bad idea.
  4. Bring twice as much water as you think you’re going to need. Sure, it’s only 83 minutes of activity (or 44, if you’re the winner!), but it’s windy and 24C and that’s pretty hot when it’s sunny. Frankly, I think I started dehydrated.

If you were on the race course yesterday, for sure you saw me introduce myself and beg for some cheers as I was biking past. The bike ride, while actually the most enjoyable part of the experience, really hurt me. I did a fair amount of coasting (something you can’t really do in spin class), which helped me save my meagre fluids. Still. The dehydration was not so pleasant.

The swim was good – once I was in the pool my panic kind of subsided. I met some really nice people in the lineup and did my thing in the pool and then, while I was outside putting on my shorts and tshirt and shoes, some random guy was taking pictures of me. I was like “dude, I’m getting dressed here!”. It was my dad. In my defence, WTF? My mum never would have taken bathing suit photos of me. I’m just saying. However, I got to walk from the pool to the bike (dudes, that’s a long walk) with him. He’s a bit gimpy, so that was a bit slower than it would otherwise have been, but it was a pretty awesome bonding moment.

As I got to the transition area, my cheer posse was in full effect. Squash partner Barb and my best peeps J&H and their kids were there cheering me on. They roped in some other people, so I got to that area and there was a serious hootin and hollering. I needed it. I got to my bike and Dr F was there, cheering me on. I needed it. I got my bike to the start line (I had a technical difficulty with my sunglasses, as one side of the lens kept popping out. Doh.), collided with an uberfast duathlete coming off his bike, got on mine a bit shakily, and headed into the wind.

You know what they don’t have in spin class? Wind.

You know what else they don’t have in spin class? People with solid bike wheels that sound a bit like helicopters coming up behind you at roughly the speed of a car.

You know what they never have in spin class? Me, cycling down a street letting all the people know my name and that I would appreciate some cheers. I have NO shame. None. I really needed the support of my transitory cheer posse (that would be the people I asked to cheer for me as I was cycling towards them – they all obliged).

I’m not gonna lie to you guys – I totally walked the run. I’m not alone in this one. It was mostly on some pretty thick, wet grass and let’s face it, although technically that’s more comfortable to run on, you need to lift up your feet a lot higher and I didn’t have it in me. Or, let me rephrase: I saved it for the finish. I did indeed run the finish. And when I came up to the chute the announcer called my name, I threw my hands in the air, my cheer posse exploded, and I crossed the finish line.

I did it. I did a triathlon. A triathlon I have not even showed up for the two previous times I registered. I did it.

I’m Canadian, and thus it is not that often that I discuss my religious beliefs, but today I want to thank God for giving me the strength to take back my life from misery and pain and helping me to turn it around to strength and joy. When someone asks me how you recover from mental illness, from major physical injury, I never tell them that you need to believe you can do it. I never tell them that you need to have faith.

I believed. I have faith. I did a triathlon. I did it!

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