Life Begins Outside of Your Comfort Zone
Have you ever heard this expression? Have you ever thought of putting it the test?
This summer I did exactly that. I jumped outside of my comfort zone and I am here to tell you I had a summer to remember.
In April of this year my father and a good friend died. Immediately following on May 1st, I had a fender bender. Sometimes the universe knocks you over the head before you pay attention. I was paying attention now.
I spent time in meditation and journaling trying to make sense of my losses. What were the lessons from this grief? I had spent the past 12 years grieving the death of my husband, working through the emotions of abuse as a child, feeling lost from caregiver burnout, supporting families living with ALS and most recently Hospice bereavement support.
I realized it was time to live life.
After my father’s death, I decided to register for a sprint triathlon; a 750 m swim, 20 km cycle and 5 km run. Even at 56 years old I decided that you are never too old to try something new! I’d been a runner for about 15 years, but I’d never been a biker and I hadn’t been in a pool in over 15 years. Talk about being outside my comfort zone.
For 16 weeks I learned bike skills, swimming and running technique and endurance. Two wonderful girlfriends decided to take the plunge with me. The most challenging part of my summer was fitting the training into an already busy life of working and friends/family. The training was a big time commitment. I would swim for an hour in the morning and then run or cycle after work. After about six weeks of training I started to become more flexible. I was excited to commit to my goal. I wanted to make sure I fit in all my scheduled workouts because I felt so empowered every time I completed one.
During the training I reawakened my love of swimming, jumping out of bed at 5 am to swim at the local pool for an hour. While I was in the pool doing laps the world would slip away and the therapy began, feeling one with the water. Cycling down country lanes, I found a new sense of freedom as I experienced the amazing feeling of the breeze on my face.
On August 23rd I did my first triathlon. I was not out to beat anyone or the time clock. My goal for the day was to have fun, experience and enjoy.
Starting my swim I felt excited. I concentrated on my stroke to stay relaxed. I finished my swim and ran up toward the transition zone. There were wetsuit strippers that helped me get out of the wetsuit…perfect, no wresting required!
As I transitioned to my bike for the 20 km cycling portion I felt calm and tried to stay focused on what I was doing in the moment. There were cyclists zooming with high tech bikes and streamlined helmets, far more serious than I. The crowds were cheering us on and the energy was uplifting. Some of my coaches were in the crowd and calling out “Awesome job Donna”, inspiring me to push a little harder.
As I rode into the transition area I dismounted my bike to start my run. My legs felt wobbly and I ran slowly until I got into the rhythm. The route was along the water, simply beautiful. Before I knew it I was coming around the corner to the finish line and sprinting with a woman beside me.
The best part of the finish was that my two sisters were there cheering me on. I had no idea they were going to be there – it was the perfect ending to a perfect day. You see my mom died suddenly just before the triathlon, four months after my dad, and throughout the run I said to myself that I was doing this in memory of my mom and dad.
I did it! I am a triathlete!
I am so proud of myself. I set an intention, took the action to register and set the goal to complete. This leap of faith and craziness of jumping outside my comfort zone has taught me so much about myself.
I learned that I am capable of amazing experiences if I allow myself to push beyond fear and take a chance. I had thoughts in my head about not training enough, not having enough energy to do all three events, not being fast enough. I knew that these thoughts were not true. I had done the work to be successful. In my eyes I had already won. I set my goal and I had so much fun. It was not about the finish line. It was about the journey to get there. I met amazing people who had their own reasons for joining the training and we supported each other.
I am LIVING LIFE! I am enjoying each moment and realizing that every moment is a gift.
I love the woman I am today and the hard work, determination and courage that brought me to this amazing place in my life. I am truly blessed!
Image Credit: creativemarket.com