I have been a triathlete since 1998. I started doing Sprint and Olympic distance triathlons for many years before diving into the endurance distance of half and full Ironman races. A full Ironman consists of 2.4mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 miles (marathon) of running…on the same day! Yes, it is daunting, a full-time job, and hard to imagine, even after doing numerous races. It is one of the scariest, challenging (both mentally and physically) things I have ever done. Why would one do this crazy event? For me, it was living outside my comfort zone, challenging my body and mind to something that I thought impossible. It was about training with others who had common ambitions and who would pick each other up during the most challenging days of training. It was getting up at 4 am every day to train, go to work and stand on my feet all day as a nurse, and then come home to my husband and try to act ‘energetic’ so we could interact with family and friends. It was a strange sacrifice, yet such a selfish practice because you have to stay focused on the goal, and this goal affects all those around you. It is one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life and has given me a sense of dedication, commitment, and focus that carries into all areas of my life. But…I have changed a bit in the past 2 years. I went back to school to become a health coach and start my own business (Catch Wellness LLC) and really love it. I have added the practice of Yoga into my life and have learned to practice Ahimsa. I have learned to be present and to carry my practice into my daily life. I have a new strength that gives me a sense of balance or at least a sense of what balance is. I keep striving for balance and yoga gives me the breath to keep trying.
So, 2015 brought me to a crossroads, a question of my authenticity. Can I do both? Can I balance this life of all these things I love? What do I love to do? What brings me to my true self? This has been on my mind for the past 2 years, and is something I still ask myself.
I decided to sign up for Victoria BC half Ironman (1.2m swim, 56m bike, 13.1m run). I decided to practice yoga 3 times per week. I decided to attend the 7- day retreat in Chacala Mexico because it is the most amazing thing I have ever done for myself, ever. I continued to start up a business from ground zero while still practicing 3 days a week as a RN at the hospital. I practiced being a good wife, a good friend and a good daughter, sister and auntie. Family and friends mean everything to me so this is a practice as well to maintain these relationships.
But, what really matters is our health! Health is our greatest asset and without it, nothing else really matters does it? I mean, who cares about all the above, if you are told you might only have 2 years left on this Earth? What would you do? I see this everyday, working with sick children. I see this in family and friends around me. I am blessed and don’t take this for granted. Life can be turned upside down in a matter of minutes.
So, as I pondered my dilemma of should I continue to race or not, is this business a good idea, should I worry about taking too many risks, or not enough, I realized this is not about me. This is not about setting a PR or making decisions right now. This is about all those around me who are faced with the challenge of living. Faced with the challenges of pain and agony each and every day just to breathe or to get through that hour of treatment. This is about survival. This about breath, like no other.
So my race in Victoria on June 14th, became a race for a cause, for the greater good, for someone who is fighting for life and doing it with grace, courage, and love. She is a friend whom I have only known for about a year, but I feel like I have known for years. Her spirit gives me peace to know that all of these life challenges that we think are big decisions, hurdles that seem impossible, are really just moments in time on the grander scale of life; a precious life.
So, just breathe! Don’t sweat the small stuff. Believe. Trust yourself. Love. And above all, be kind.
Namaste. Dig deep. Ahimsa. Never, ever, ever give up.