My oldest competed in her second triathlon last weekend. It was wonderful being a spectator to such a sport! A sport I love competing in and now get to share with her.
I'm not clueless to the fact that she has taken an interest in this sport because of me. I don't force her to compete and she has taken an interest in the sport without any proding from me. However, I also understand that she does so because it is something she knows I love and as such she wants to share in that with me. Its something her younger sisters can not yet participate in due to their age, so she gets some alone time with me. (Gosh these races start early! 6am was check-in!)
I must confess though, I stood there with pride as she pushed herself to new limits. The swim and bike were farther than she had ever gone consecutively before! And the run, came after she had already completed both the swim and the bike. I knew she was tired. I could see it as she began her second lap on the bike. I knew she'd walk most of the run when I saw her transition. What I didn't know, is if she'd complete the whole thing. Would she give in to the fatique her muscles were feeling?
I cheered her on of course. Before the start of the race, we went over the course, transitions, starts, etc. I told her to do her best and that I was proud of her. I encouraged her through out the race. Impressed first by her swim. She's been working so hard this past year at swim team and I could see it all come together. She transitioned like a pro. She knew right where to go and just what she needed to do. On the bike, a new one just purchased that week as she had outgrown her last one, she was all smiles. Even as she finished her second lap, tired from the effort she was putting out, she was all smiles. As she started the run, she went all out as kids do. I told her to pace herself. She started to walk and I saw her shoulders drop. She was tired. I was proud of her! She kept going. I cheered her on, telling her I was proud of her. She ran some. She walked some. As she neared the finish line, true to her mom, she sprinted it out, a grin so wide you could have seen it from the space station. I was as proud of her as I have ever been.
You see it wasn't where she placed, what her time or splits were. It was that she tried. She gave it her best race. She showed us what kind of a child she was and hopefully, what kind of young woman she'll become. And that was the effort I was most proud of! And then, this incredible 7 year old, surprised me still. She walked back up to the pool to cheer on the younger competitors in the mini-kids race. She was tired, but she stood there and cheered them on to their finish. She stood at the finish line and welcomed in friends, classmates and team members. And I, once again, was a proud momma!
I'm often asked why I compete. Why do I train so hard, so long, so often. Its for moments like this. You see, my children, my girls, are watching. They're learning more lessons from my example, than my words. And I hope they're learning the same lessons my oldest exhibited last weekend.
- To give each race, each effort, your best.
- To cheer on and support those around you.
- To smile through the fatique and finish strong, head held high.
- To enjoy the process, celebrate with those you love and let those who've helped you know what they've meant to you.
- That you can be healthy and happy!
- That exercise can be fun!
- To face your fears and the unknown, because you'll grow a lot in the process.
- To tackle a challenge and not back away from one.
- That you can be a woman, a wife, a mother, a entreprenuer and still pursue your dreams.
- That through sports and competition, you can learn so much about yourself and how to navigate this world both for the good and the bad.
- That self-confidence is a good thing.
- To not be ashamed of the body you have as it can do amazing things.
My next race is tomorrow. Together, we'll both race in July. All the while I'll know they'll be watching and learning. Learning how to be a competitor, a member of society and a woman.