Ah yes, where did we last leave our hero? Funny, but after the two races, it just didn't seem so remarkable anymore that I run. In fact, I guess I am now a runner, though it feels odd to say it. I run 3 to 4 times a week. I'm getting ready for a 10K in Seattle. When I signed up for it, I barely blinked at the distance, knowing that I'd be able to complete it. Funny when I consider how terrified I was only a couple weeks ago at the 5K. I've had to start looking for new challenges - but more about that in a minute.
The 10K. I lived in Seattle for 15 years. The highest points in my life so far were in Seattle (striking out on my own in a strange city with only $1000 and a suitcase full of paint, 3000 miles from home and, much later, giving birth to the most amazing boy in my life). It was also in Seattle where my marriage ended, I became a single parent and where I was living when my mother died. Though I lived less than half my life there, those years from the mid 20's to 40 are much of what I think shaped who I have become. When I left, it was because I just knew it was time.
As I planned this summer's visit back to friends and family, the first thing I looked for was a race. I was hoping for a 5k but all I could find that fit with my schedule was the 10. I knew I wanted to go back and make a run. How perfect that it be the next step in my increasing challenges to myself.
The course of the race will take me through the very first neighborhood I lived in when I moved there, past the houseboat I shared with my ex-husband before we were married and skirts the lake I kayaked in the day I learned of my mother's death. When I cross the finish line (in under an hour I'm hoping) I will be stronger than I ever have been. All of these things, all of these places and so many other stories make up the muscles and the breath that will carry me over the course.
And about the other challenges
I have to admit that I have never really been one to be too content with things the way they are. I'm always looking for the next hill. A friend once wrote of me "To love Sarah is to love motion". So I guess it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to myself that with the 10K only a couple weeks away and so clearly now something I can do, that I have started to move down my list of "Things That Scare the Crap Out of Me".
It was really only a matter of time before I would have to come back to my dear friend's suggestion of a triathlon. I knew I would the first time I so quickly said "Oh no, that's really your thing. I can't do that." That always sets my gremlins in motion. I imagine one of them to be a small black woman going cobra on me every time I say "I can't" : "Oh no she didn't!".
So this Saturday found me in the pool trying not to panic as I re-remembered how to breathe OUT when my face is in the water and IN when it's in the air. This turns out to be an extremely important distinction to make.
I have no fear about the run portion of a sprint triathlon, I've already done it. I can make it through a bike ride, though I have some serious work to do on my endurance, but the thought of the swim, especially without the comfort of the thick black lane lines and a bottom I can reach with my toes, is the stuff of some great reoccurring nightmares. And so of course, into the water I go.
It can't be any stupider than the time I went skydiving, can it? I'll keep you posted.