Monday, December 30, 2013

I sit alone in a hotel room, just a little over 24 hours left to 2013. I'm in Chicago, and have celebrated Christmas with my family, as well as helped in what I'm calling, the Great Move.

This year has been incredible. I saw three good friends get married, in three distinctly beautiful weddings. I went to two conferences to present my original ideas on Second Language Acquistion, and I was accepted into a PhD program at the University of Granada.

I threw parties, I saw my husband race 2 different olympic distance races and complete them well. I ran my own races, including my first sprint race. I finished.

But the one memory that sticks out in mind, besides the surprise birthday party, the weddings, the joys and the lows, was one of my lower moments this year. The Race I didn't Finish.

It was supposed to be my first sprint triathlon. Surrounded by my team, as I began to swam out, I panicked. My asthma compounded by my nerves created The Perfect Panic Attack. I tried to talk myself out of it. I quoted Bible Verses to stay my soul. It didn't work. I gave up. I raised my arm halfway throug the swim, and the boat came and fished me out of the water.

Andrew was still racing, and so he didn't see it happen. But two men from our team did. Salvador (appropiately named) is a doc, and was worried. He asked if I was ok phsyically. I was.

Julian, our trainer, was also worried. As he walked back with me to the main staging area, he knew I was ashamed and embarrassed. He knew how hard I had trained, how I had run a 5k for the 2nd time in my life 2 weeks before the race to prep for this on.

 After asking if I was ok, he gently talked with me. He has been in the world of triathlon for over 10 years. He said," This happened to me during my first triathlon". Same thing. As he stood there telling me this, I almost cried, and then he said, "And now, I've done two Ironman races."

As of today, he's actually done three.

He used to be fat, smoke, and wheeze from his house to the Metro in Buenos Aires. He is not the same man today.

Just a few days ago, Juli and his wife Liz, and his parents came to our house, and the six of us ate Chinese food and prayed. For love, for hope, for new vision. It was good.

Today, as I sit in my bed, a little sick and really tired, I remember the Failed Race, and I remember what happened afterwards. After that race, I ran 3 more 5k runs, and a 8k run (mostly uphill). I swam three open water races, 2 in the open sea, one in a port. And finally, I finished my first Sprint triathlon. I was last, but I finished.

More importantly than the sports aspect of my life, I have certain things I've failed in or others have failed me in. It is easy to feel embarrased, ashamed, and want to avoid situations. I hope I've learned this year that I don't have to live in that Failed Race syndrome, but I can "throw off the shackles that easily beset us, and the run the race set before us, looking to the author and finisher of our faith."

My new's years hope, run the race, looking to Jesus. New Year, new hope.

Happy New Year.