This past Sunday, I participated in, and completed, my first ever Sprint Triathlon. What an experience! I promise not to bore you with the details, but there were these few moments, while I was swimming, that defined the rest of the race.
If you’ve never done a triathlon, like I hadn’t, the swimming can be a bit scary. While I’m a very competent and even somewhat confident swimmer, I am quite slow. When racing with a few hundred other athletes in the same water, body collisions happen. While I knew in my head to expect this, I’ve never felt it before. I felt as though I was battling for my space, and that this space, in essence, would be what allowed me to have my stroke, which would keep me afloat. When folks swam over me, I was scared. It wasn’t malicious, it’s hard to look up when you’re swimming and lakes aren’t clear. It is just part of a triathlon. It was, however, enough to bring me close to panic.
My goals for the race were simple: finish; upright and smiling; and stay in the present moment as much as I could. It was staying present, sinking in, that allowed me to stop panicking and get my breath back to complete the swim. I could feel my arms in the water, my legs flutter-kicking through, how graceful it all was.
“I can swim. I’m not going to drown. There are a dozen lifeguards here anyway. Enjoy this!” I started channeling one of my aunts, Nanci, my athletic inspiration and zen-attitude-guru-extraordinaire, “Slow down, enjoy this, it’ll be over before you know it.”
My schedule this week is daunting, meeting after meeting for five consecutive days. How I’ll get to my to-do list or inbox as well is beyond me. I feel overwhelmed and it’s only just begun. The panic is beginning to set in, and I have a few choices.
Right now, I’m reminding myself to “Sink In. This will be over before you know it. Stay in the moment.” I may not enjoy every moment, but I may as well live it.
As we collectively face whatever defines our “too.much.of.the.week,” that’s the simple message I have that I hope to practice as well as I can preach. Let’s take a deep breath. No, don’t read on. STOP. BREATHE.
What a difference, right? Come Friday afternoon, let’s finish “upright and smiling.”