Deterred by a Speedo

Mark is turning 40 this year and to celebrate it, he wants to complete an Ironman 70.3 triathlon – a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and a 13.1-mile run. Being the supportive wife that I am, I offered to watch him do it. But he had other plans. He asked if I’d train with him to do one. Uh…

After reviewing my vows, I realized that I had promised to support him in “sickness” and even though he didn’t agree that this was an illness. So I agreed to think about doing a triathlon but…one on a much smaller scale.

Our local YMCA has a triathlon team that meets throughout the week, offering swimming and running clinics and bike rides – all for beginners to elite. One by one my family joined the team…Anastasia, Mark, Noah. I watched their practices from afar and cheered the kids on at few local children’s triathlons. From the sideline, I began catching the tri-bug.

Two weeks ago I bit the bullet and signed up. However, the minute I did a sense of dread hovered over my head. What had changed?

The first week went by and I conveniently allowed other responsibilities to trump tri clinics. I thought about attending a training swim but my nerves paralyzed my desire to try (pun intended) – for silly reasons too. The last thing I wanted to do was walk along the pool side, in a speedo, only to jump in a pool with a group of confident people whose bodies looked like mini-Greek gods – no exaggerating either!

Last Friday, one of the coaches called me out, asking when I was going to start practicing. I explained my busy schedule to her but her eyes told me she wasn’t buying it, she had heard it before. In order to accomplish the tri, I’d need to commit and prioritize. I’d have to put in effort and make it happen.

Her sternness was what I needed to break through my fear. On Monday I went to my first swim class. I didn’t drown – even though I did have a close call – and I realized that modern-day speedos work a bit like Spanx. A little lift and tuck! Just wish it was full-bodied.

I had a blast and have been giddy ever since. I may not be good (or look as attractive in the speedo) but I realized that I could do it and attempting something new feels better than making up excuses on why not.

Afterwards I was wondering why I was so nervous. It hit me that I was worried that I’d look foolish, that I wouldn’t be able to keep up on the swim and worse, that I’d jiggle more than others in my speedo (silly but true). If the coach hadn’t called me out, I’d probably still be sitting here wanting to go to the class but too nervous to try.

Often in life we allow the fear of how we look in front of others to sideline us from accomplishing goals that God has placed in our hearts. We were created for an abundant, exciting and challenging life that energizes us. Not one full of nerves that drains us.

There are times we are to cheer others on from the sideline, but we also have been given our own race to run. When we don’t run it, we miss out on the energy and satisfaction it gives us.

Suit up my friends and go start your race!

What goals do you have?

Is there something stopping you from taking the first step?

Am I the only one out there who fears the speedo dash?! 😉

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