It's so easy to settle into a pattern of doing what we know we're good at, pushing ourselves to what at first seems like a limit, but really... is it? Not often. Training to bike 100 miles is not pushing through a boundary for me. That's not meant to sound smug, but I've done it before. Yes, I'm older now, but I still know I can ride that distance with a bit of training & have confidence in that. It's trending toward the outer reaches of my comfort zone from the aspect that it's not *easy*. But I'd still consider it entirely within the zone.
So what's out?
Those things that cause me a rush of anxiety. That I think, "No, not me. I'm not capable of that because
It's all about the journey. And what you learn along the way. About yourself and how you tackle challenges. About what makes you nervous, anxious, want to run and hide. About facing.your.fears.
So I'm learning to swim, finally, after 42 years of not knowing how to do the freestyle in preparation for the Danksin. (that I'm not a runner either is a bit of a problem, but I'm confident I can walk it if I'm *that* tired) So one could say I'm anxious about learning to swim the freestyle. And I think there is absolutely truth in that statement. But the bigger fear is that of failure. And I think that's what often holds people back from attempting feats such as this. There's the time component - I have only a few weeks to learn to swim before I have to do a darn 1/2 mile, so yeah... there's that. But by and large it's a fear of failure, of not being coordinated enough to learn, or not being fit enough to complete it, of others realizing I'm not as strong, fit, athletic as they think, to be seen as a fraud. Those are the real fears. It's amazing how sometimes we hold ourselves accountable to some high level of competence that no one else does. If I sidestroke the entire swim portion, no one else is really going to care. Except me. But in the end, THAT makes all the difference. If I can even freestyle a small portion of the swim, that'll be a gigantic accomplishment and I'll be proud of myself. If I freestyle none of it, yet still finish doing some other stroke... well.. that's a failure in my book. I think I'm better than that. And challenging myself to prove it is sure as $hit making me feel vulnerable and raw. Am I capable? Dunno... but I'm making the effort to find out. The fear of not being able to do a portion using the freestyle stroke is not something I want to hold me back in learning to try it, and so I try to get my booty in the water and splash around, taking in gallons of water every single time, yet still going back for more. Am I out of my comfort zone? Hells yeah. And it's amazing how even the smallest improvements of form and smallest increased ease in my drills makes me feel proud. Time will tell if this work will support me when I'm stressed in the open water, surrounded by tons of other women attempting to find their way through the first tri phase.
But I'm out of my comfort zone. I'm learning about myself. And those around me, too. I have some fabulous friends in my life and one helluva boyfriend cheering me on. They're carrying my confidence right now, and I'll let them. But on race day, I'll gather it into a little package and take it with me into the uncharted territory that is triathlon. My goal will be to smile at the end, knowing at the very least, I entered an event I've thought of doing for years, but scoffed at thinking I wasn't capable of participating in. There's magic going on in the process of learning. That I do know. I hope to walk away June 3rd feeling the true magic of having set a goal that was so far out of my comfort zone I'd never seriously considered it. And use it, whether it's hard or not, fun or not, as a catalyst to continue to strive to face whatever fears might present themselves. Making oneself vulnerable in any way is hard, but the beauty that can be found in doing so....completely worth it.