Tuesday, May 22, 2012

First Race

I've had any number of people ask me about our first race in Sevilla, and I've promised some more details, so here they are for anyone who would like to know.

Both Andrew and I returned from the US two years ago absolutly drained after watching his mom slip to the next life. I returned 10 days before Andrew, and my friend April realized it was not good for me to be alone. So one day, she dragged me out of my house and said, let's go sign up at the new gym.

We had a wonderful time exploring the gym, going to the pool and jacuzzi and steam room and so I signed Andrew and I both up without telling him. I didn't tell him for weeks how much we were paying, becuase I knew how important it was for us to go. Two or three times a week, we'd find ourselves there and it really helped us through those first blurry months back in Spain.

As we started to go, we realized that one of our friends from church, Julian was a trainer there. His wife Liz and I attended a bible study together and got to know each other better, and bit by bit, we became better friends. Juli talked Andrew into swimming with the team, and later, I started to join them.

Then last May, we went to a triathlon to take pictures of Liz and Juli, and enjoyed the day cheering them and the team on. We went again last July to take pictures in the Sierra Nevada, and walking up from the swiming part, I realized how fat and how outta shape I still was.

So while Andrew decided to do a race in Motril, I decided to keep working and keep getting skinner. I had a car accident in October and it set me back, as I could barely swim or run until January.

Little by little, we began to train more in earnest. In January, I heard there was a race in Sevilla, a super sprint, and decided I had four months, I was going to do it. Andrew got talked into doing the same.

We trained, we suffered, we had setbacks, but continued. Andrew was sick for a great deal of this spring, so he decided to stick with the super sprint as opposed to the sprint, which was twice as long of a race.

We got bikes, Andrew just one week before the race. I wasn't worried, he's a pro.

Day of the race, we drove to Sevilla. I had dreamt the whole week about the race, trained diligently, and heard about everyone else's mistakes and decided, even if I crawled over the line, I would finish. I was not nervous, just ready to go.

We checked in, and got our arms marked up with numbers. We changed into our "monos" or outfits with our team, MBIKES. Without the team, encouraging us, I don't know if Andrew and I would have ever done such a thing~!

We watched our teammates as they particapated in olympic and sprint races. Olympic is 1.6 km swimming, 40 km cycling, and 10 running. Sprint is 750m swimming, 20,m cycling and 5 running. Ours, a super sprint, was 350m swimming, 10km cycling, and 2.5 running. I was confident about the first two, and reluctant for the running. But I knew it was possible.

We jumped into the water, the river Guadquivir in Sevilla. Bleh, it was gross. A plant swished by my leg, just as I had dreamt it would. Heebie jeebies done and conquered.

We stood wating, I got nervous, and then we were off!!!!! Jogging to the waters edge, SPLASH! and waiting for the whistle to blow. 300 plus, mostly men. I found a spot closer to the back, which I later regretted. Andrew and I both realized that we were such good swimmers, we should have pushed to the front, and left everyone else behind. Since almost all were "newbies" most came from running or cycling as a background, and not swimming, and so they couldn't swim! I ended up passing all sorts of men as I slowly swam around them, and Andrew ended up fishing a team mate out of the water as men around her didn't notice her.

I had several moments of feeling suffocated and not quite panic, but getting there. I finally realized I could go the long way around everyone, and found a bit of my rhythm, although I went further than I needed to. I crawled out of the water, and walked to my bike, put my shoes and socks and helmet on and by this time I REALIZED THIS WAS IT! and I swished outta the boxes grinning like a chesire cat. The crowd laughed and cheered when they saw how much I LOVED IT!

10 km went by fast, 30 minutes in all. I drafted for the first time, and that helped. I was worried about a flat tire, as so many had had one that day due to the poor road. No flat. Happier than a clam as I passed men! Arrived back to the boxes to stash bike, bike shoes, and helmet, and slap on the running shoes and hat.

Running felt so slow after the fast bike, and I slowed to a walk at least a half a dozen times. I don't run well, but when I saw my times, I actually ran the fastest I ever have! Some people shouted encouragement to me as they passed, and one woman actually ran with me for part of the time. As I came close the finish line, my team was waited and cheered and yelled and..yah, that was the best part.

After I walked to the finish area, I got some fruit and drink and my shirt, and they all came to find me. Of course I was the last teammate, but so many had waited to congratulate and cheer me on. Our biggest, best athlete at 6 foot 6 inches, who races like a demigod, came and hugged and kissed me on both cheeks and said CONGRATS! and so did everyone else. Besides greeting my awesome husband who had just done the same race in 7 minutes less than me, THAT WAS THE BEST!

There are so many parallels to life than can be drawn, but the one that impacted me the most was the finish line. Not only did I finish, but my team stayed to make sure I did. These men and women are the true athletes, I'm just trying to be like them, but they know the importance of being a team, and so they stayed to cheer me and the rest on. Not much that I"ve experienced in the world can compare to that feeling of love and support of knowing you aren't alone.

And so, that wraps up my report. My question to myself all week since the race has been, where am I encouraging others who may finish behind me in different aspects of life? Where have I decided to stay by the goal and cheer people on? Sometimes, those of us who believe in the next life, only think about what it will be like to cross the line into the next life. Good, great. But we live here now. My Bible says that we should....love God, as we love ourselves, and then love our neighbors as we love ourselves.

So, how did I love someone else today like God loves them? Did I cheer them onward, did I run the race a little with them? Did I cheer when I saw them happy? Or, did I try to push them down while they tried to swim? Did i trip them as they ran over rocky roads?

May we run this race loving and cheering everyone else that runs with us.

1 comment:

Joanna said...

I love this! You reminded me of so many reasons why I love races, but the main one being a picture of our Christian walk. I know I already told you but congrats again!