Wenger: It’s not always about winning
In the name of fun, when I haven’t been swimming in years or running in months, I was convinced to do the Peach Classic Sprint Triathlon in Penticton last weekend.
As I stood in transition Sunday morning holding my wetsuit and dreading the workout I get from squeezing myself into it, I realized it could be worse when the officials measured the lake temperature and declared it a non-wetsuit swim.
I truly considered transferring my energy to spectating.
One of the reasons I agreed this event would be fun was because the wetsuit keeps me from sinking.
I have a history of panicking in open water.
In the end, the word fun kept me in the game.
I watched a lot of new triathletes and their worried expressions.
I watched a Kamloops triathlete prepare to start the Olympic distance with a broken hand wrapped in a tensor bandage and duct tape.
Who am I to complain?
I waded into the water determined to have some fun.
At the first buoy I had a chat with myself: “Whatever you’re doing right now doesn’t resemble swimming. It’s more like floundering. Get it together.”
So, I got my head fully into the water, worked on keeping my elbows high, tried to keep my patient hands (advice from my Total Immersion swimming teacher) and did my best to relax.
I was slow, but I came out alive and really that was my only goal for the swim.
As always, I celebrated the process of donning a helmet and bike shoes, unracking my bike and climbing on at the mount line.
The positive side of being a slow swimmer is the number of people I get to pass on the bike.
That was truly fun.
Then, the goal on the run was not to have them all wave to me as they passed me.
But, not having run in a few months and not wanting to jeopardize my upcoming Rocky Mountain 1200 K ride, I chatted with a lady walking her dog, walked through the water stations, smiled at anyone who took the time to make eye contact, encouraged anyone who looked like they were suffering and just shuffled along, enjoying the view from the Kettle Valley Railway overlooking Okanagan Lake — and enjoying the fact I no longer had my face in the water.
At the finish line, I got to cheer for everyone I know from Kamloops.
Everyone I knew who was freaking out at the beginning when they couldn’t swim with a wetsuit crossed the finish line with big smiles.
I am inspired.
I saw a lot of people enjoying sport — people of all sizes, shapes, abilities, speeds and ages.
The challenge and the reward of finishing make it fun.
Now, as I face the last seven days before I stand on the start line of a 1,200-kilometre bike, with the plan to ride it in three-and-a-half days, I will be keeping that positive energy in my heart.
I know I will be drawing on it often.
Shawn Wenger is a BCRPA-registered personal trainer and weight-training and group-fitness instructor. She runs Fitness For Mortals. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for information.