Monday, November 29, 2010

Double the Inspiration

Those of you who know me personally are well aware of my feelings on an active lifestyle. I am part of that transitional generation, the last of the kids who played outside and the first of the kids who sat in front of a video game console. My parents were in the anti-gaming league so I grew up riding my bike, playing sports and getting in to what ever trouble I could find until the street lights came on. I carried that mentality in to my adulthood and nothing frustrates me more than a child sitting on a couch in the middle of they day tapping away on a controller. We get one life to live and so much of it is being wasted in a virtual reality instead of the actual reality we have around us. In an effort to encourage my own children to adopt this philosophy, not only will we not be having any kind of video game system in our own home, I will also have to be the example that gets set. A lot of these kids today are inactive because their parents are inactive; why should they get up and move when mom and dad sit on their butt and watch 40 hours of TV a week? We've done the mud runs, the 5k's the charity walks and our goal is to a full marathon some time next year. In my work up to that event I competed in my first Triathlon yesterday (a sprint tri - 1/2 mile swim, 14 mile bike, 4.5 mile run). It was a bit ambitious, but I want the girls to grow up seeing me doing stuff like this and realizing that this what life is about. I've got to say it was the hardest physical experience I've had thus far in life and it was bordering on one of the most emotionally challenging as well. As grueling as it is to force yourself to continue on, it's an extremely lonely couple of hours. Your swimming in frigid water, some how alone in a violent mass of writhing swimmers clamoring on top of one another hoping to shave a few seconds off their time by drowning those around them. You drag yourself onto the beach, legs wobbly and everyone around you screaming and scrambling towards their bikes. Then you sit on an uncomfortable pole, legs pumping as hard as they can to carry you up one last hill after which you collapse off your bike and desperately will your legs to carry you on their own for the run portion. It was on the bike that I really hit my hard spot, though. I was completing the first lap of the 2 lap course and climbing the final hill. My inner voice was damning the part of my mind that got us into this mess and I caught a glimpse of the red double stroller. The girls were still sleeping when I started the race (6am registration, 8am launch) so they had just gotten there when I came upon them. To see the three of them standing there - Gina screaming my name, girls smiling as they realized it was me passing by - I lost my composure. It's one thing to climb a hill on a bike, it's an entirely different experience to do it with your eyes swelling with tears. For the first time that morning I didn't feel utterly alone. The second lap was much easier, part of it because I wanted to see my girls again. My thinking in all of this is that I'm doing this stuff for them, to set a positive example in their lives, but I realize that it's them that get me through these things. Trekking an hour from our house at 9in the morning to stand on a freezing cold highway and watch me zoom by for a split second. Just long enough to scream my name and toss me a wave, just long enough to give me hope, to give me courage, to give me strength. While I'm trying to inspire my girls, it's really them that inspire me.

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