“Run with me,” said a voice behind me as I limped along the third leg of my very first triathlon.
A woman around my age hit my shoulder encouragingly and I jogged alongside her as we made our way around the lake. My left IT band, which has a history for giving me problems, was insanely tight and my knee just couldn’t stand a lot of pressure. But still I pressed on alongside her as we reached mile mark one.
I had to slow down and walk several times during the start of the run portion. But about halfway through, I found my groove and ignored the searing pain in my left knee. I was determined to race across that finish line.
“Don’t you dare quit,” I said to myself as I rounded that last turn, my knee ready to give out at what felt like any moment. Two young kids stood up from the bench they were sharing with, who I assume , were their parents and stuck their tiny hands out towards me as I approached the end of the course.
“Good job!” said one, smacking my hand as I passed by
“You got this!” said their dad, as I high-fived the other kid.
Strangers clapped, cheered and rang cowbells as my name was announced over the loud speaker while I ran across the finish line. As the finisher’s medal was hung around my neck, I had to contain my emotions. I wasn’t fast, but I finished. I freakin’ finished.
It was an emotional moment for me, because there was a time when I believed finishing something like a triathlon was impossible for me. I did this race for the the nearly 300 pound girl I used to be. The girl who looked on and watched other people participate in these kinds of events. The girl who didn’t believe in herself for so many years. The girl who watched other people live their life while she convinced herself she was content on the sidelines.
It was humbling and motivating. And proved to me that anything is possible.