All week long, summer lingered.
The weather was perfect.
It was in the 90s, the sun was strong, warm.
And even though school had started, everything about it felt like summer.
Our last week of training, it was so hot, but it felt just perfect.
And the day we went to pick up our packets, the weather turned,
It was cold and all of a sudden, it hit 50 degrees.
In three days, it went from 90 to 80 to 50.
And with the cold, came a cold November rain (even though it was early September).
But that's not where this story starts.
This story starts four months before our race,
when he came to me and asked if I was willing to run my bucket list race this year,
four months from now.
After another spring/summer of not feeling well and not being able to run as much as I usually do
and trying to figure out what is wrong with me and why I had to stop every difficult physical thing that I do,
I said yes.
The doctor told me there was nothing structurally wrong with me and so I slowly started yoga again.
The cross training would be better, easier and more gentle on my body.
And so, I needed to learn how to swim, and fast.
I started with calling places to find out if they offer swim lessons
"no, not for my kids, for me. Yes, for adults."
In class, I did not flourish.
It was rough.
Learning to put my face in the water
learning a stroke (just one, just one little stroke)
learning how to breathe
realizing no part of me floats
learning how to kick
learning how to turn my body but keep my head down.
And, I wasn't good.
My instructors knew it
the other people in my class knew it
the two kids who were 10 knew it.
I wasn't good.
But, I kept going.
And even though at the end of the 6 week session, my instructor thought I couldn't swim 200 yards let alone 1/2 a mile, I still went and practiced and worked.
For four months,
we ran and biked and swam.
We tried to do as much as we could together as a family,
there were nights we took it on just one at at time.
Towards the end of the training, we were hitting the road 5 times a week and 4 out of 5 of those times, it was for 1-2 hours.
He worked so hard.
I worked so hard.
It was the first time we did anything like this, together.
It was the first time he did anything like this, period.
And the kids really tried.
Anna kind of understood how crazy important this was and would ride her bike while I ran, would stay in the hitched trailer while we biked and biked for hours on Sunday.
Cole would be my buddy, on the bike, in the stroller.
It was just time consuming.
And the day of the race hung over my head like a ticking time bomb.
Every time someone mentioned it, the swim, tears would stream down my face.
Every time someone mentioned the lake, how was my swimming coming along, I would panic.
But finally, September hit and we headed out to Rochester.
The day before the race, of course the weather changed.
Of course the rain poured down.
Of course the lake looked like it was going to eat me alive.
As we rounded the lake to go pick up our packets, I pulled Cory aside.
"Look at that water.
Look how angry it is right now?
Do you think it's freezing?
It looks so so cold.
I really don't think I am going to make it."
The morning of, we got there so early, it was still very dark, carrying our bikes and helmets and stuff, just stuff.
And as soon as we arrived, they asked us to strip down so they could mark our body with our bib number.
As I was standing there, freezing cold, I started to get it.
They are marking me.
If something happens, this number leads them to my name,
And so, I asked.
Is this to identify me?
Since she could clearly see the fear, the absolute fear in my eyes and the shake of my voice,
all she could do was nod yes.
I put on my wet suit and I was shaking.
Shaking from the cold
And as they called my leg to go into the pen
I turned to him and honestly said goodbye.
Just in case, I needed him to know, I don't regret our life and I love you all.
Getting out of the water, and feeling so accomplished and alive,
heading over to the bikes,
the challenge of all the hills and that damn wind that wouldn't even let you enjoy the downhill
getting a flat for the first time ever in my life
walking miles and miles and miles carrying a bike and watching my time crumble
hugging the mechanic who helped me get back on the road
the smile on Cory's face, you could hear his smile when he talked
knowing he was crossing the finish
seeing my little faces as I was half way through the run
seeing all of them as I crossed
hugging him close and so so proud
he made it
he did it
I made it
we made it.
I thought of you Anna,
I thought of how much fun you have in the water
I thought of how brave you are for always jumping into any class
willing to learn
willing to try
and always having fun.
I thought of your summer swim lessons and the absolute joy you got.
I thought of your six year old strength.
It wasn't the time I wanted.
It wasn't the race I had thought of.
I didn't fail where I thought I would,
but still stumbled and had to shake it off and keep going.
and we will be tri'ng again!
Thank you This Mama Runs for inspiring us to take on this challenge and try our first triathlon. You are an inspiration to your children and the families out there that are all trying to make it work. #StrongIsTheNewPretty