My training sessions are starting to taper off this week… I went for a short swim this morning, at the gym, in the nice warm pool. I tried to imagine the water being colder than it was. Since I haven’t been able to get any open water swim practice in (I’m hoping to take a dip in the lake on Saturday with the kids), I found myself digging back into memories as a kid, when all I did was swim in ponds and lakes, catching tadpoles and spring peepers in empty butter containers while wearing a pink polka dotted bikini. Back then, of course, I didn’t worry about wind currents and water temperature… all I was concerned with was feeling the mushy bottom between my toes, being tickled by the way the fish would nibble on my legs, and having fun.
Today I took my bike in to the shop and had Allen, my local bike wizard, give her a good lookin’ over… he cleaned and fiddled with the chains, oiled the brakes, pumped up the tires, tightened up the seat in the optimum position for the race… he armed me with a spare tube and tools and another water bottle… and he taught me how to change a tire. And then he sent me out the door with an encouraging, “Have fun, kid.”
Yes, if I get a flat, I will now know what to do (that’s if I remember everything).
But perhaps the most valuable thing he did was remind me to have fun. To not let my nerves (which are plentiful at the moment) get the best of me… and go at it with an eye for adventure. This is not something I’ve necessarily forgotten… but lately, it’s been pushed aside by what if this happens, and what if that happens.
Fear can be a nasty booger if you let it. I’m going to say that again… IF YOU LET IT. It seems to me that fear is going to be there no matter what… but I, for one, don’t want to be defined or led by it. I can’t control the weather or the lake’s water temperature or the wave I’m in or even if I happen to run over a nail in the first mile of the bike leg. And in the meantime, there are so many more important things to think about…
Like oh-my-god-I’m-really-doing-this… like a warm breeze on my face while I’m pedaling and running through gorgeous territory… like the companionship of complete strangers… like the moxie erupting within me with each mile that I encounter, and how that will spread into other parts of my life… like envisioning what it will be like to cross the finish line… like the sandy bottom of Lake Lanier between my toes.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the decision that something else is more important.”