I felt like I was dying. Not the “I-see-the-light-and-it’s-my-time” dying, but the “I’m-exhausted-overheated-pregnant-nauseas-running-uphill” dying.
I was on my first leg of a triathlon relay in the middle of a scorching Utah afternoon. I didn’t expect to feel so deflated so soon. I had 20 miles to run and 300 yards to swim. How am I faltering this early? How the hell will I cross the finish line?
Something in my mind clicked.
Stop letting your mind wander. Stop bitching. This is what you trained for.
I drew in a deep breath, straightened my posture and willed myself forward.
Two months before this, my husband said he wanted to join a group of friends for a 24-hour, 285-mile triathlon relay race. You are out of your damn mind, I thought. Straight up nuts. He used to do triathlons. He’s WON triathlons. I’ve never done more than a 5k.
I mulled it over for a few days. Was it so crazy? I knew I could physically do it. It was my mind I had to convince.
Screw it, I told him. Let’s do it. This will be the mental challenge of a lifetime.
I had been in a deep, bizarre headspace of self-doubt and complacency. I had goals but no specific idea how to achieve them. I had stalled out creatively and professionally. I couldn’t fully go after what I wanted because I kept hitting a mental block.
That “block” in my head — the suffocating, dark cloud hanging over my otherwise very happy life — was fear. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of rejection. Fear of going after what I truly wanted because I couldn’t control the outcome if I failed. Fear of doing everything right and still being held back. It’s happened before as a young girl, and I sure as hell didn’t want it to happen again.
Unnecessary fear is annoying. It’s debilitating. It’s consuming.
It’s like a blood-sucker that will drain your potential, your energy and the will to pursue your dreams. It has the ability to single-handedly destroy everything you want to accomplish.
I was tired of my own bullshit. My excuses were no longer enough. I had to run. And I promised myself I would run long after my mind told me to stop.
So I did. Mile, after mile, after mile. When I felt weak, I asked God for strength. When I felt steady, I told my unborn son “Let’s do this! We are strong!”
Half the battle wasn’t even running, swimming or biking. It was staying awake through the dead of night to continue the race. I’m sure you understand all the wild places the mind can go when you’re sleep deprived. It was time to stop that way of thinking, permanently.
The next morning we were still going full steam. My husband hadn’t slept a wink. The rest of us got an hour, tops. I had to fight the fatigue and take my mind to a place it had never been before.
A place of fearlessness. A place of badass-ness. A place where the past no longer existed.
26 hours after we started, we crossed the finished line. I couldn’t feel my legs and I could barely breath, but I crossed the line in every aspect of my life.
I would never be the same again.
We placed 7thout of 35 teams. It felt so damn good.
Between this race and my pregnancy, I feel empowered. I feel like I’m on fire.
That’s a beautiful place to be.