I promised myself I would not participate in triathlons this year in order to remain focused on training for my first full marathon. So when the Ramblin’ Rose Women’s Triathlon announced it was adding Nashville to its event schedule, I decided to keep my self-promise and not enter. I assumed the distances would be similar to other sprints I’ve done: 400 meter swim, 14 to 16-mile bike, 5K run: more than I want to train for at this time. Had I bothered to do about 60 seconds of online research I would have discovered the event was much more manageable: 250 meter swim, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run. Had I known, I would have broken my promise and participated. Instead, I showed up as a spectator and cheered for several friends of mine.
One person I cheered for is an acquaintance. She’s in her early 60s. She and her husband worked hard and built a good life for themselves. They were at the point where they were ready to retire and enjoy the fruits of their labor. He died suddenly, leaving her to figure out how to “do life” on her own. She’s trying new things and stepping out of her comfort zone. Today she became a triathlete. I was so proud of her as she crossed the finish line.
I saw other first timers…women I didn’t know… and it was fun to see the looks on their faces when they realized they, too had become triathletes. Some posed for pictures; several cried. It was quite moving.
My friends did great and I later learned they “placed” in their age divisions. Bravo!
While I enjoyed being a member of the cheering section, I realize I’d rather be a participant. When I was carrying 94 additional pounds, I spent more time on the sidelines than I care to remember. I lacked the confidence…and the good health…to get out there and try things, especially athletic activities.
I’ll be doing more cheering this year as I pass on traditional sprint-distance triathlons. I am committed to supporting my friends when my schedule allows. I’ll yell and ring cowbells….
while I wait for my turn at my event.