I do it, and I do it big. Here's to not forgetting about it.

Posts tagged ‘Triathlete’

Permission Granted

Every Triathlete Ever: OMG, it’s so hard; this is so much work. I’m miserable right now. You should totally do this. It’s great.

Um, what?

I can’t be the only person who has noticed this. When E.T.E. is asked why I should, like, totally do this (this being sign up for X or Y race), typically the response involves his or her addiction to racing. “I just love it, Joan.” Of course, having chosen to do it more than once, I’ve experienced the thoughtfulness of E.T.E. as I panic and question my decision. However, not one of them warned me of what would happen after my first half-ironman.

The afterglow.

Don’t misunderstand. Any fool could reason that life after a big event would feel calmer. I knew my training load would be lighter, despite having two races left in my season. Time in the pool and on the road feels easier now that I’ve experienced what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it. What I was NOT expecting was to be a more forgiving person in the classroom.

I realize that things probably should feel different for me this year, in that I’m no longer quite a rookie at work. I am noticing drastic changes for the better. The way I talk to my students is different. I am much more calm in general, and it takes a lot more for me to become upset by anything that happens at work, really. I had thought that I was already judicious with choosing my battles, but now I am seeing that some situations aren’t even battles. When a student is flipping out about playing a. stupid. note, I handle it much more sensitively.

I must admit that I feel more than a little foolish about this change. I am an experienced musician and have no shortage of empathy for my students as they deal with performance anxiety. Why, then, have I been such a (relative) bitch to them in years previous? I believe the reason is twofold:

1. I have had the opportunity to see their growth despite my imperfection.

One of the many reasons I love being a specialist is that I am privileged to work with my students for several years. There are times I have looked through and executed my lesson plans and thought to myself – shit. Did I teach anyone anything? Now I am able to see students who used to look at me like I have two heads use musical terms with ease and play confidently. Children who once were completely unenthused about playing by themselves eagerly raise their hand to show me what they can do. While I don’t take all the credit, I think it’s fair for me to take some when what they do is pretty solid. They quote things that I have said that make it seem like they have paid attention to me throughout the years despite all the errors I’ve made along the way.

2. I have had the opportunity to see my growth despite my imperfection.

From the department of the bleeding obvious – I’ve always been imperfect. I’ve always made progress nonetheless. However, I have been a musician for so long that the process has often taken place without my being aware of it. The difference between the person who starts something at 4 and the one who starts something at 27 is stark. Only a complete dumbass My head would have to be buried under the sand for me not to be aware of the risks I’ve taken in the last 22 months; I’ve signed more “if you die it’s your own damn fault” waivers than I can count.

It took me 7:35:58 to finish 70.3 miles. Were there things that could have gone better? Of course. Did I do my absolute best? Totes. Are most people faster than I am? Am I black? I know I have a lot of room to grow, not because I’m black and therefore inherently meant to participate in endurance sports but because I know my best can get better. I’m giving myself permission to enjoy where I am right now, despite all of my flaws.

How gracious of me to allow myself to be human, whether I’m in the classroom, on the race course, or anywhere else. I’m welcome.

IMG_0339.JPG

Do Triathletes Hate Jesus?

20140608-115144-42704173.jpg

“Good to see you here, guest!”

These words from the person sitting behind me in church today stung my guilty conscience. I smiled and shook her hand as I thought to myself, “Lady, I’ve been a member of this church longer than you’ve – anyway, ma’am, it’s been a long time.” Indeed, I’ve been a member of my church since I was baptized there 15 years ago and attending before that. I have great respect for my pastor and am always fed spiritually whenever I choose to go. Unlike that stupid “I really regret that workout, said no one ever,” meme, my currently injured, always battling perfectionism butt never regrets going to church.

However, as my sister-in-Christ inadvertently pointed out today, church attendance has not been a priority of mine lately.

When I started racing, participating in running races and training rarely came up against my church attendance. Race on Saturday, thank God for making me so awesome on Sunday. No problem. Then came triathlon. As I started looking for races to do, I noticed quickly that while most running races fall on Saturdays, most triathlons fall on Sundays. What’s up with that? Okay, let’s say I race 5 out of 52 Sundays in a year – 47/52 ain’t bad, right?

Then comes the training.

Open water swims. Sunday morning. Long rides. Sunday morning. Long runs. Sunday morning. I can only do so much physically on Saturday. Everyone seems to love training on Sunday and because I am new I am uncomfortable swimming and biking by myself. This time, it is really my desire to regularly attend church and not my distrust of others that makes me wish I were further along on my TriBaby journey. No one that shares my hobby seems to have this conflict. I’ve even secretly wished that I practiced faith in a denomination that had more service times. How twisted is that?

Not quite as twisted as having a new reason to miss church.

Some of the things I struggle with as a triathlete I struggled with first as a Christian. Those who know me closely know that I really value my relationships. Once you’re in, you’re in. If you’re not in – the word apathy comes to mind. Notice how I spoke of my respect for my pastor and not of my relationships with anyone in church. 17 years in and He is still working on my desire to fellowship with other believers. In fact, I would say that I feel much closer to God while racing and training than in church. I have no choice but to turn to Him as “I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.” (1 Cor 9:27a) I’m no (complete) dummy.

I pray that I find resolution to this scheduling conflict, but more importantly, I pray that my heart is softened toward others. My soul needs way more work than my body. Real talk.

Tag Cloud