A good friend recently wrote an article about fitness for the new year, and she titled it I Go to the Gym. I liked the notion so much, that I’ve stolen her core concept to talk about the first triathlon I’ve signed up to compete in.
The core concept is that once we name a goal, and share it with other people, we bolster our ability to reach our goal. Not new news, but worth revisiting. Sometimes we just announce it to ourselves in the mirror, so we’ll have the fortitude to go to the gym today. And sometimes we tell other people. “Hey, guess what I’m doing this year? I signed up to do a triathlon. Crazy, huh?!”
Whichever it is, the more we say it out loud, the more we believe in our ability to accomplish it. So I researched online about triathlons before New Year’s Day. I told my husband, my kids, and a couple of friends I was training for a triathlon. I had a workout plan, a race picked out. I was ready.
Then I got distracted, busy, didn’t quite keep up with the schedule. So I sat myself down for a good talking to. Really, I had already told a few people. Was I going to turn into a little liar? Why hadn’t I signed up? Was I afraid of the commitment?
I was afraid. Afraid of taking on something new. Particularly afraid of getting back on my bike, as I had a bad fall a few years ago and haven’t biked much since. But there was a deeper fear. You see, my son is about to deploy to Afghanistan for a second time, and that makes me scared.
So where to put all this fear? It’s normal to be afraid of war. There would be something wrong with me if I weren’t. But my son has trained for this dangerous job, and the best way to honor him is to get past my own fears. So I’m getting busy working on a new goal.
Hard? Yes. Challenging? You bet. Will there be tears along the way? Of course—some because I’ve pushed my body too hard, and some out of worry about him.
But I love that I can shout out to the world, “I am a triathlete!” It doesn’t matter if I’m slow, or not a great swimmer. What matters is that I’m aware of my fears and I’m channeling them somewhere productive. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.
I’m proud to report that I finally did sign up for the race two days ago. And since it’s a hundred buck investment, you can be sure I’m going to show up for it.
So how are you channeling your fears? Not every one is as big as this one, but I can vouch for the importance of moving your body to move past the fear. It focuses my heart in a new direction and keeps my mind sharp. And what better way to face fear than that?