Since the first day of camp, I was waiting for that aha moment, my epiphany. It was like Christmas eve. You know something good is coming and you just can’t wait. I was bursting with anticipation, watching the clock, just waiting for it to happen. I had so hoped it would be at that first day at the lake and the rest of camp would play out like some movie montage. The clouds would part and this ray of light would shine down on me as the triathlon angels sang. The light would pick me up off the ground and fill me with an energy that could only be compared to what you see in the comic books. I would be lowered slowly to ground and open my eyes, very dramatically like in the movies, and I would know right then and there that this sport was for me and fear would no longer consume my swims. I would, in that moment, be full of confidence and move forward with purpose, sign up for my next race and crush it.
Sadly, that moment never came. I assumed that if it didn’t, then I would walk away with the understanding that I tried everything I could and this sport just isn’t for me. I mean, it’s really three sports anyway, all of which I struggled with at some point. Maybe it just wasn’t in the cosmos and I would finally come away with knowing that deep in my heart of hearts, whatever that means. That didn’t happen either. So now what?
I took some time after that final day to think on it. I went through a range of emotions and I began asking myself some questions. Did I enjoy camp? Yes. Would I do it again? Maybe. Do I regret it? Heck no! Ok, so it was definitely a good thing. What did I enjoy about it? My answer surprised me more than I expected… the people. I met some really amazing, kind and encouraging people. I know, me the non people person. What else? I learned a lot. I learned that not all people suck. I reaffirmed my knowledge that doing things out of my comfort zone and taking risks always pays off in some way or another. I learned that my perception of my coach was accurate. He sucks in the most awesome way. He cares, and he’s a wizard. He somehow knows when to give me a push, and knows when to let me off the hook because I need it. I learned that my swim form is actually pretty good. I learned that some of these people that I watched out there looking like professionals, started just as scared as I did. I learned that I am way harder on myself than I need to be. I learned that I can make it up crazy hills if I just chill out and put in the work. I learned that I phone in my workouts a little too often. I’m not being hard on myself, just a fact check and something I need to work on. I learned that I can go downhill at just over 25mph and not die! I learned to lock your car doors even if you think there is nothing of value inside. I learned that Jet Blue, who used to be good, now sucks.
I never got that aha moment that I so desperately wanted. The clouds didn’t part, no angels sang and I still have no idea if I really want to keep doing triathlon. Sometimes we don’t get what we want, but what we get exactly what we need. What I needed was the reminder that this is supposed to be fun, not something I criticize and beat myself up over. I realized, thanks to a lot of impactful things said by my coach, that what I need to work on most is being kind to myself. I need to stop the negative talk, be far less critical and put more energy into believing in myself and enjoying it. No breakthrough swim, no epiphany, no magic pill I can purchase or is going to give me that. It all comes down to putting in the work and knowing I am worth the effort.