|Nicole on the bike in her first triathlon|
All I wanted was to "borrow" the pool for the 4 months. Deb opened it last year and I missed swimming. Yes, swimming is my favorite part. No, I don't use my legs, just my arms. People tell me that's a great strategy because it saves your legs for the bike and the run. Fantastic cover! The truth is I am just not coordinated enough. I often completely forget to kick.
In 'borrowing' the pool, I found myself on a team. Angela needed a swimmer. I like swimming. It made sense to me. I was perfectly content with just being a swimmer until the energy of race day took hold of me. My exact words to Deb were, "Forget Lupus, I'm doing the whole thing next year!" Never mind the fact that I could barely walk because my lupus decided to flare on race day.
Yes, I have lupus ... and heart disease ... and hypertension ... and blood clotting disorders ... and I've had open heart surgery twice ... oh, and I'm a stroke survivor (all at the ripe old age of 30). I have even looked into ways to tell if someone is having a stroke so the people I associate and train with don't panic and put me in a padded room. But my thought process in being sucked into the triBE was simple: I hate medication, exercise decreases the need for certain medications, the triBE gives me a encouragement to stay focused on my exercise, so I'll do a tri. Um, sure?
I don't live a sedentary lifestyle by any means, but I hate to run. Hate. To. Run. I blame all the aforementioned disorders for my hatred of running - lupus makes the joints and connective tissue in your body inflamed and heart disease has resulted in a less efficient lung-heart collaboration (translation: I lose my breath and get tired more quickly). But I bought a bicycle, I joined a gym with a pool, and I started teaching myself how to run.
And the funny part is that it got easier. When I look back at it, I think all along I wanted to be a part of the triBE despite the fact that I tell people Deb strong-armed me. In the last few years, I've finally taught myself to say "no" to people's requests of me. It was hard, and I felt like was letting people down. But I was killing myself. As it turns out, I didn't say "yes" to the triBE; I found a group of extraordinary women who encourage me to say "yes" to me. We just happen to have a name and we happen to do triathlons together.
Training is the only thing I do exclusively for myself; and I am a better person because of it and because of my triBE that supports me. I still wouldn't classify myself as a runner, but I hate it less; and though my time for the run this year was absolute crap, I finished knowing that next year it will be better.