My Superpower

My favorite thing about building an athletic life as a middle-aged woman is that every day there's some new lesson, some new thought. Every day there's some new way for my brain to feel good. When I started running three years ago I felt an edge of regret that I hadn't understood this when I was young.

Moving toward triathlon, new ideas hit so fast and so hard, there's no time for regret. I don't want to forget them – especially not the ones about fear.

People tell me, "I could never do triathlon. The open water swim is scary." People use words like "intimidating" and "nervous" about the swim. I get where they're coming from. I've been plenty nervous about water.

For me it would be the bike. I fell off my old Rockadile more times than I can count: stuck in the toe cages, unable to gear down on hills, hitting mud slicks, and most memorably, going right over a cement bike path railing onto a road to avoid colliding with a little boy wobbling toward me. In my mind, bicycling means falling.

So after I realized that the longest part of triathlon is a bike ride, I had a talk with myself. "Look," I said. "You won't be the youngest, the fastest, the fittest. But you know how to ignore your fear. You've been training how to do that your whole life. In fact, it's your superpower."

My first few bike rides this year had nothing to do with distance or cadence. They were about saying: I belong on this bike. This bike ride is mine. It's mine, and I'm standing up on its pedals. It's mine, and I'm taking it into traffic. Every second of this ride is mine. I'm taking it.

Do you want to ignore your fear? Claim the space where you feel fear, whether it's a three inch pedal or an open lake or a job interview or an empty house, as a place you belong, where you have things to get done.

It doesn't matter if the fear is still there. All that matters is that it stays out of my way while I go ahead and do what I came to do. And then I feel like Supergirl.

(Cross-posted from A Sunny Hello.)


Linda said...

I loved this, Ann! Thanks for sharing part of your journey and for passing your "fearless" spark to the rest of us so we can fire-up our own superpowers. You go Supergirl! :-)