This past weekend I competed in my first triathlon in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Never did I think I would say that. It was a sprint length triathlon, which equated to a 500m swim, a 12.5 mile bike and a 3.1 mile run. I’ve spent the past few months training for it, and this past Saturday was the big day. I had never done anything like this. The longest race I had previously competed in was a five-mile run. As I stood on the beach waiting for the horn to sound, I was anxious and excited. The horn blew, and I ran into the ocean and dove in to start my swim. All the sudden something strange happened.
I have no idea why because this is not how I usually handle things. When things get tough and stressful, panic is not my normal reaction. But as I started my swim, amidst all the chaos of 140 people swimming around me, I panicked. After I made the turn at the first buoy, fifty meters into the swim, my mind was telling me to call over a paddle board and have them take me back to shore. My mind was telling me to quit.
In that moment I had a choice to make. Even though I had spent time training, had invested money into equipment, and had gone all the way to Hilton Head to compete, my mind said give up. As I struggled to keep my head above water, I decided there was no way I could do that. No matter how long it took me I was finishing.
When I got out of the water, from what people have told me, I looked terrible and they thought I might not make it. I got myself to the transition area, put my bike gear on, and hopped on my bike. As I set out on my bike I decided to start singing worship songs. The race did not allow you to use a mp3 player, so it was literally just me singing. I just needed to re-center my focus.
I knocked out the 12.5 miles on my bike and head back to the transition area more determined than ever to finish strong. Before I knew it, I was approaching the finish line and I saw something more shocking than me panicking at the start. I crossed the finish line eight minutes under my target goal. I had gone from wanting to give up fifty meters into the race to crushing the goal I had set for myself. I was ecstatic.
Sometimes you will set out to do something and fear will creep in and tell you to quit. In those moments I urge you to re-center your focus on God. It may not make any sense and it will be tough, but if you do the results will be amazing. In the end you will find yourself crushing your goals when you first thought there was no way you could even get to the finish line.
until next time…