Having grown up in a dysfunctional family, I learned early on to ignore my fears. Meaning I had so much fear that lived in my body that had I paid attention to it too much I would have become non-functioning. Instead, I became hypervigilant and super accommodating. I knew I was an inconvenience to my parents, so I worked hard to not cause disruptions.
Therapy early and often makes a difference
Thankfully, I found therapy as a young adult. In fact, I was thinking about it the other day, I’ve been going to almost weekly therapy for 30 years. I attribute all these years of therapy to being a generally happy, functional adult who has had good success in my life and who has meaningful relationships with a wide variety of friends. I’ve worked hard to know my needs and be able to hear my mind, body, emotions and spirit.
Fear is a surprise
It’s still a BIG surprise when I notice fear in my body. A week ago, one of my triathlon friends texted a group of us about a sprint distance triathlon that is happening on June 19th, 2021 in a nearby suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, where I live. Julie said she was planning to sign up and did any of us want to join her.
No way to an in-person “real” race
My first reaction was, “No way. I’m not ready. I can’t do that on June 19th. That’s too soon.” I didn’t even reply to the texts. Instead I went to sleep as I was doing a 6 mile run in the high humidity the next morning. Oh yeah, I can run 3.1 miles (the run distance in a sprint distance triathlon) with ease these days. After all, I ran a half marathon on April 24th, 2021.
When I woke up the next day, in my morning meditation, I allowed the idea of the triathlon to come into my awareness. As I breathed deeply, I noticed the grip of the fear. I turned and faced the fear and I asked why it was gripping me. The fear reminded me that I would have to figure out many things to be ready in time and that there was no way I could ever do that. It said I was slow and needed lots of time.
As I sat and breathed deeply, I realized the fear was important to acknowledge. AND, I didn’t have to be ruled by the fear.
As I kept breathing, I heard a quieter, courageous whisper, “Do it. You’re strong. You can swim 1000 yards easily, you do that twice a week every week. You can easily bike 15 miles. And running, you for sure can run 3.1 miles, you’ve been doing that many times a week for weeks and weeks.”
The courageous whisper continued, “Remember, you’ve had diabetes for 40 years and you’ve been a triathlete for 14 years. You know how to write a race plan and you can spend a little bit of time preparing to manage all the diabetes aspects of this race. Sign up Mari, really, you CAN do it.”
Run and chat with brave athlete friends
I went out for that 6 mile run with my friends Jenny and Brooke. Along the way our paths crossed with Monica and Woo. At the end of the run, Nadine was at our ending meeting place and Nadine reminded me, “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” They all reminded me that I’ve been swimming, biking and running all winter long.
I AM STRONG and FIT ENOUGH to do this race!!
Sign up despite the fear
When I got back from the 6 mile run, I logged onto the race website and paid my $75 entry fee. This will be the first live, in-person race that I’ve done since August 2019 when I did the YWCA Women’s Triathlon. Oh, I did do the Polar Dash 5K on January 4, 2020, that was my last in-person race since COVID-19.
Celebrate my 40th Diaversary by doing this triathlon and a 40 mile Tour de Cure
It’s official. I’m doing the Lake Minnetonka Triathlon on June 19th, 2021. June 19th is exactly one week before my 40th Diaversary, 40 years of living with type 1 diabetes. Doing something that scares me and pushes me to trust my body, my mind, my emotions and my spirit is a perfect way to commemorate 40 years of successfully managing the HUGE challenge of diabetes.
I’ve got three weeks to figure out all my gear, pre-bike the bike route, write my race plan, and generally prepare. Having done lots of sprint distance triathlons over the past 14 years reminds me that is enough time to be ready.
When I complete the race, I will let you know how it goes!
If you’d like to contribute to my Tour de Cure Twin Cities 40 mile bike ride, I need a few more sponsors to get to the Champion level! I’d greatly appreciate your support! Here’s the link.
What have you done lately that scares you? Do tell! I love hearing from you! Leave a comment!
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