Monday, June 7, 2010

100% Mermaid Athlete

or at least that's what the shirt says



swim, laugh,
ride, sweat,
run, celebrate, 
repeat.

I DID it!  WE DID it!....
we ALL finished our first triathlon
we all started this for different reasons
but we all finished it!

it's all still pretty surreal that I...
ME....
Kiera Colleen Chambers....
I....finished a triathlon!

a sprint triathlon...
400 meter swim (about 1/4 mile)
12 mile bike
2.5 mile run...

yep...I DID all that...

there were 8 of us...7 doing the tri and 1 doing the duo (run, bike, run)
NONE of us had ever done something like this before
7 of us...missing Amy..L-R
Diana, Becca, Natalie, me, Rayna, Rosie, & Michelle
all 7 of us triathletes are moms...
moms in different stages of mommy-hood
we had a mom with one child 9 months old...(still nursing!)
three moms with toddlers, 
a single mom with a teenager and a hearing impaired child,
a mom with five kids ranging from 5-14
     (she has one going into kindergarten and one into high school next year!...with a pair of twins in there also...)
and then me...with my two kids...

we all overcame the difficulties of "training" and being a mom...
we're all different ages 28-46
we're all different sizes (not going to share that info)
and we might have set out to do this to prove something to ourselves
but we also proved to our kids that we care about them
we care about our kids by taking care of their mother
we proved to them that mommies can be healthy
...healthy NO matter what size...
and we ALL finished...FINISHED!!!
my daughter, me, Diana...we FINISHED!
Diana, Me, Michelle, and Amy
welcome to the gun show! 
back row Becca, Natalie, Rosie, Rayna
front row Diana, Me, Michelle

and that we can have a blast doing it!

I even had to learn a really STUPID lesson that helped teach my daughter a really important lesson in life...

I have asthma...
I learned I had asthma when I started training for this tri back in January...
...needless to say I'm still new to this asthma thing...
and I tend to forget that I have asthma...
so I tend to forget to use my inhaler
...I did NOT want to forget my inhaler for my tri...
I brought 2 of them with me!
I set up my transition zone* with my inhaler right were I wouldn't miss seeing it...
pic of transition zone

(*transition zone...TZ...is the area that the triathletes set up all of their gear for each leg of the race and change in and out of their clothes for each leg...and ONLY the triathletes are allowed into the TZ)
...and then in the chaos of getting ready I couldn't find my swim cap...(all of the divisions are separate by color and your swim cap must match)...I went back to the car to look, still couldn't find it...then went to the booth and picked up a new one...no big deal...race back into the TZ to leave for the swim with my fellow triathletes...who have so kindly waited for me...then we all anxiously leave the TZ to head down to the swim start (400 meters from the TZ)...with me never going back to my area...me not seeing my inhaler that I put out so I COULDN'T forget it...
we all walk nervously to our start...
we greet our friends and family that have traveled from all over to support and cheer us on...

we start to make our way into the water...

I realize at that moment that I have forgot to use my inhaler...
and NO ONE can go get it for me...all my fellow athletes are also getting in the water and my friends and family aren't allowed into the TZ...
I made the decision to do the swim without my inhaler...
...
side note...
I was participating in the "Friends and Family" division a group that isn't divided into age categories so friends and family members of different ages can participate together...
the Friends and Family division (yellow swim caps) was starting at the same time as the 50+ age division (green swim caps)...
...
I told myself and WAY TOO many others...
"well, I'm starting with the 50+...so at least I won't be the last one out of the water!"
...
hmm
ever heard of pride cometh before the fall...
so there I was having to swim the 400 meters (the swim was already my weakest leg of the race)...without being able to breath...
...so I just laid on my back and did the back stroke...
...I was very upset at myself...
turning and watching the group grow farther and farther away from me...
watching the yellow swim caps get farther and farther away..
and then the green caps get farther away...and seeing the struggling yellow and green caps pass me by
I laid on my back huffing and puffing 
sounding like a dying seal...
with a cute life guard on a surf board telling me I could do it...
encouraging me along the way, telling me to relax and take deep breaths 
(easy for you cute, young guy with two healthy lungs...SITTING on a surf board!)...
listening to my family on the sidelines cheering me on...
I kept hearing my kids and my husband telling me I could do it...
...
I wanted to tell the life guard I was done...
pull me in...
and then I'd hear Beau yell, "way to go Kiera, you can do it!"...
I'd think of all my friends that I had trained with
...who were now on their bikes and would be looking for me on the bike path...
I just took my time...
and YES...I WAS the LAST one out of the water...
but I GOT out of the water I finished the swim...
my husband and kids were standing there encouraging me...
got a big kiss from my husband....
went to my area in the TZ and got my inhaler and took some nice deep breaths...
...got out of my wet suit onto my bike and finished.
...then finished my run...
but the whole time I was so mad at myself...
mad that I forgot my inhaler...
mad that triathletes 50 and older kicked my tail in the swim...
beating myself up that I was just stupid!

than later that night I was having a nice moment with my daughter...
she was asking me questions about the tri...
and then telling me how she was scared to be on the swim team this summer...
"Mom, what if I come in last?"
she just asked me...
ME..."what if I come in last?"
HMMMM
what if...what if I'm the last one out of the water even with a group of women 50 and older...
is the world going to end...

I asked her if she was embarrassed that I was the last one out of the water...
she was shocked...
she told me she was so proud of me because she could tell that I was having a really hard time out there, that she was scared that I might not finish...and that not only did I finish the swim but I went on and did the ride and the run...

She decided that she didn't have to be scared of finishing last, but that she would finish!

wow...
so I may have been a little too prideful...
but one of the most frustrating moments of my life may have turned out to be the best thing my daughter could have seen me do!

and even though I'm still a little disappointed that I forgot something so simple
I'm proud that I finished...
and I am so thankful for all the friends that trained with me, even though a tri may be an individual event it is 100% team...without those other moms I would have given up a few times during the training and I might have given up on the swim...
I am also so thankful that I have been blessed with such a great family...I know without a shadow of a doubt I couldn't have done this without my husband...

my family greeted me at the finish line...
Beau with a kiss and a hug telling me how proud he was.
Madison (9 yrs old), saying, 
"MOM, you did it, you did it...I'm so proud of you!"
and Wilson (4 3/4...wish you could hear him say his age...so cute)...
saying, "Mom, I'm thirsty, can I have your water?"

19 comments:

Linda said...

WHoo Hoo You can't imagine how proud I am of you, one of my non-athletic daughters! What an example for Madison! and, it seems, a lesser degree, to Wilson.

White Diana said...

Kiera! This was beautifully written! I love it! I'm sharing it on my fb page. It totally made me tear up and laugh and swell with pride!

TheSmithHotel said...

Way to Go!!!! Glad everyone finished it!

Amy C said...

Love it! Great post. Made me choke up a bit, because yes, we are totally awesome Moms, and we should be so proud of ourselves. :) ...and then I had a nice laugh at the end at what Wilson said. :D

Kelly Jackson said...

Ok, I'm glad I'm not the only one that teared up. Kiera, you are amazing. I am so proud of you and the rest of your TEAM. What a lesson you have showed your daughter (and Wilson). You are truely blessed to have such wonderful support behind you cheering you on. This reminds me of how God cheers us on when we are competing in daily Triathalons. And he's always at the finish line waiting to hug us and tell us what a great job we did.

Tabitha said...

Way to go Kiera! That is so awesome! I have always wanted to do a tri but have been afraid to try, but you have inspired me!

Amie said...

inspiring! simply inspiring! congratulations!

Tricia Lee said...

Wow, this is awesome. Way to go ladies!!!! I have asthma too and realize what a challenge it can be sometimes. Great Job!!!!

Michelle O"Connell said...

Kiera, you have written this so beautifully! I loved being a part of this experience with you and feel we are doing such a fantastic job of being wonderful roll models for our children and friends. You are an amazing mother and person. I look forward to doing the tri again next year with you friend.

Karen said...

Wow! What a story. I am encouraged to go out there and kick a tris butt!

I can totally see Luke asking for my water too! Gotta love our young boys :-)

Tessa V. said...

So you CAN backstroke during the swim portion?!

Kiera said...

Yes you can do the back stroke during the swim, you can do any stroke you choose...I would have had to be pulled out if I could not have done the back stroke!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kira, I am a Mermaid and your story was truly inspirational. I too teared up. Your story is one that needs to be told. So many women think they have to be perfect and yet, all we really have to do is go out there and just do it! You are a wonderful role model for your children. Way to go Mermaid!!! - Mermaid Gina

Anonymous said...

So inspirational...! I really want to feel that sense of accomplishment...

Cat said...

Have to say, that did make me tear up a little too! Mostly the part where your daughter said she was worried about you. Super sweet! I also blogged about my Mermaid Duathlon experience :) http://justlikerecess.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

That is an amazing story. It has given me inspiration to start training for a triathlon. I am a mom of two children ages 7-11. And I have been contemplating starting to train for triathlons and 5k runs. I just finished completing my weight watchers goal. The Mermaid Triathlon sounds like a great goal for next year. San Francisco is about 4 hours drive for me, but from your blog it sounds like the mermaid is a great entry level fun triathlon. I thank you for sharing your experience with me.

Isa K

LC said...

Way to go. You have much to be proud of! This was a fun, touching, informative post. Read this today trying to decide if I want to do the upcoming tri in Sept. I only have this year before I will wear the green swim cap (what?!?) and it seems like just the other day my 2 kids were your kids' ages, cheering me on in my first tri. And I thought life would slow down at this stage and it would be a no-brainer to do tris! Ha. So here's a new empty-nester thanking you for your encouraging blog : )

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a wonderful post...I'm a mermaid too, and your blog is absolutely inspirational!

Anonymous said...

I'm getting ready to do my first tri in June. It's just around the corner and stories like yours inspire me. I'm a little worried about being the last one out of the water or having to walk the run. However, reading your experience reminds me that it's not about the destination but also the journey. Thank you, Smiles