I guess I just thought it would come easy.
Everything comes pretty easily to me. IF and only IF I work. People think that’s obnoxious or conceited when I say it, but it’s true. I’m usually pretty good at everything, but only because I work hard at being good at everything. Most people could be, but they don’t want to do the work.
Case in point – dance. I was not a natural dancer. Because I was shy. To dance, you must perform. One day I saw a video of a girl I wanted to dance like. So I did. I learned all the technique and got…well, I got good. But I still wasn’t whole as a dancer. I went to a performance arts workshop in New York and learned that people there don’t let you be shy. They made me be who I was. So I became who I already was. Someone outgoing. A performer. So I just performed. I’d audition, get accepted, and keep performing.
My dance career was long-lived, and I was good at it. After years as a dancer and choreographer, I stopped. It no longer made me happy. I got bored, and I got fat. Well…fat for me. I was sad, but I just didn’t want to dance any more. I don’t know why. I was done.
When I moved to Houston I joined TNT and started running. I was not a good runner. Actually, I was a terrible runner. I had zero stamina and wondered how on earth I would finish this marathon I had said I was going to finish. I finished it anyway, in not so much a respectable time but a finish is a finish and I thought…this could be for me.
But here’s the thing. I’m not ok with being mediocre at things. I need to be good at them. I NEEDED to be a good runner. So I ran. When I decided running wasn’t enough, I started triathlon and added swimming and biking to the mix. What.the.hell. While I had always swam recreationally, including a conditioning course in college, I never glanced at a bike and had to convince the coach that no, he actually, truly, needed to teach me what the hell was going on with this thing called a bicycle and how the hell I was supposed to ride it.
This is a story about how I make myself be good at things, because it’s important to me to be good at things I love. I LOVE triathlon. I get tears in my eyes when I type that because no matter what I say, nothing will convey what the word means to me – the sport, the training, and most importantly, the friendships I have made and strengthened along the way. Other people think we’re boring, my triathlete friends and me. ”All you talk about is triathlon!”
Sorry, that’s what we do together. You didn’t pick me up at 5am to go for an 80 mile ride and 5 mile run. You didn’t guilt me into swimming every week with promises of beer and burritos afterward. You didn’t watch me have mini breakdowns on bike rides because, “I just can’t do this.” And you certainly weren’t there for rides and swims and runs or the beer and burritos when we talked about our lives. Our secrets. You weren’t there, so you don’t know, and I can’t explain it.
This post got away from me. I guess I just wanted everything to come pretty easily. If I work hard enough, won’t the results be easy enough? I guess that’s not true in some cases.
The funny part is, I started this post not having a clue where it was going. Because when I’m stressed, I’m like…well, what the fuck and I gonna do now? Guess I’ll just keep pushing past this. I know I can. My good friend Jessica said (on the second lap at Galveston Marathon, when I was hotter than I’ve ever experienced at a marathon – and I do not take heat well) – “It’s all mental now, and you’re mentally tough – you’re an Ironman!” I guess that much is true.
At least I know I have a few solid people THERE for me when it’s pretty hard. It’s hard now, guys.