Thanksgiving

Baby picture

Baby Lauren aka She Can Try, with mum

It was Thanksgiving in America over the weekend (I guess, because Instagram was filled with pictures of Turkeys and pumpkin pies and people with smiling faces)

So I am naming this post Thanksgiving because I have something special to be thankful for, and I don’t mind jumping on an American holiday with a fantastic name.  In fact, I think we should consider renaming Christmas Eve (not Christmas Day, don’t panic) to Hopegiving.  Or New Years Eve to Startafreshgiving.

When I started this triathlon journey only a couple of months ago, I knew that finishing a triathlon was an impossibility for me.  I knew I would have to change physically and mentally to withstand the requirements of a proper triathlon, which I will be doing in October next year (please note that I keep thinking it is November next year and I have been saying that aloud to lots of people, but that is just some bizarre internal wishful thinking and I apologise for misleading you – the Noosa Traithlon is definitely in October 2016)

To say ‘triathlon is impossible’ was true for me – I could not swim, I did not own a bike, and I could not run.  I thought I was starting from scratch, but I have slowly come to realise that I did have some advantages behind me that would help me towards making it all ‘un-impossible’.  Like my weight-lifting, which I wrote about yesterday.  And my champion eating skills, which I will write about tomorrow.  And my family, which I am thankful for today.

Firstly, of course, there is the crazy Grandpa who already seems to be under the impression that I am an Elite Triathlete who should be flying to Hawaii for the world championships next year.  He is my most vocal supporter behind Matilda the Dog and his gifts of a new helmet and new cycling shorts will make a huge difference to my training and, in turn, my performance on race days.

There is Shane, who bought me my bike and says things that turn out to be useful even if they are hidden by a gruff voice and frown that make them seem (at first, anyway) to be quite the opposite.

There is my sister, who yelled at me through typeface to start this self-indulgent blog in the first place.  It has been more helpful than she would probably realise, to know that I have somewhere to share my progress and release my silly thoughts.  It’s like a diary, but one that keeps me accountable.

And of course, there is my mum.  How has my mum helped me with triathlon though?

I’ve already written that my mum was a serious runner when we were little.  She was a better runner than I will ever be; absolutely none of her talent made its way down to me in the gene pool unfortunately.  After I finally figured out how to run without pain a few weeks ago (after I had been complaining about it on and off for over 7 years) mum called me on the phone and said she was a bit embarrassed she hadn’t thought to give me those tips herself.  Because she was well aware of all of the tricks I am now using to keep knee pain at bay.

So it’s not the inheritance of her athletic ability that will help me with triathlon, nor her wise words of wisdom and pearls of knowledge about running.  No.

It is simply the incredible example she set for me.

She is just my mum, not superwoman; she fed, clothed and loved me.  Naturally, I loved and admired her back.  And… I watched her, when she put her running shoes on.  I heard her stopwatch beep when she pressed the start button.  I listened to her conversations with Dad about what time she had run that day’s 10km in.  I saw her buying running shorts when we went to the shops.  I waited at Nanny’s while she dedicated some time to her daily run.  I was a little girl soaking every bit of it in.

Some memories stick out to me more than others, like when she was training for a ‘cross-country’ – aka trail run – and the only place to practice whilst wearing her spiked shoes was the local park, so she ran round and round the park in the same circle dozens and dozens of times (to reach 20km) every day for weeks on end until there was literally a small ditch around the perimeter of the field, where her feet had worn away the dirt.

I was a witness to that crazy dedication, and it seemed wonderful to me.  I was so proud.  I have always looked up to my mum so much.

So because of my mum, I grew up believing that being sporty and healthy is totally cool. That putting time aside for fitness is valuable.  Thanks to mum, I think it is normal to get disgustingly sweaty and smelly for fun.  And I think going to a running race on a Sunday is a pleasant thing to do.

Mum demonstrated to me hundreds of times that being out of breath didn’t mean the breath was gone forever.  She showed me that the pain only lasts a little while, but the pride lasts a long while.  She was the embodiment of consistency and commitment to training, so I knew exactly what I was aiming for when I began to try and emulate the same thing with my triathlon training.

I don’t know if she meant to show me all those things, or whether she knew what she was doing for her children.  Intended or not, I grew up learning that fitness is a good thing, and that training is a way of life whether you are an athlete or a short little lady with two children.  My mum showed me that sport, fitness and health actually translates to strength, pride and happiness.

Day in, day out, for years my mum proved that life has no limits, and things are only impossible until you do them.  Today I have no doubt that this knowledge will be the biggest strength I take into my triathlons, and I am thankful for it.

I don’t have children and I may never have them, so I don’t really know how I’d fit everything in, or what sport I would choose if I were a mum looking to inspire her children into a healthy lifestyle.  But I’d like to think I’d try something.  Because I couldn’t tell you how many medals my mum won in her running races, but I remember her always trying.  That is the example she set me.  It’s not her winning or success that has changed my life, it is her effort and dedication; the healthy life she shared with me.  So thank you mum… I hope I will make you proud.

13 thoughts on “Thanksgiving

  1. Brought tears to my eyes and pride to my heart. I have wonderful daughters, grand daughters and great grand daughters, sons and grand sons.

  2. I’m writing through tears, of course. I always tried to set a good example for you both in everything I said and did. I made lots of mistakes, humans do. I have so many very happy memories of running and they all include you; waiting at the finish line, running the lap of the track with me at the end of a marathon, eating the cakes after cross country runs through ice and snow, holding up my medals. It was all such a long time ago but now it seems like yesterday, reading your blog. I’m intensely proud of you, not least because I know exactly how hard this is and I recognise so much of it. But I’ve always been proud of you and I knew from day one this wouldn’t be impossible for you. Not you. Now, the tables are turned and it’s my turn to admire your dedication, your strength and resilience. And I can’t wait to be the one cheering you on, waiting at the finish line and holding up your medal. Xxx

    • I think they are my own words… I originally wrote it slightly differently and then settled on this instead, but I would assume someone else said it before me. I am glad you like it though, because after I wrote it I sat and thought of a few other things my mum has done that I had previously thought was ‘impossible’. Mums are amazing! Ez will say the same thing when he is older 🙂

  3. Even though we only met briefly when you came to the uk to see Willow Rob and the girls I can honestly say it was a pleasure to have met you. You are an amazing lady and I know your sister is very proud of you as I can imagine your mum is…Lovely words written by an amazing lady x Go Lauren !!

    • Wow thank you Suzanne, how crazy to think you have read this! It is very humbling to have your support and I really appreciate your kindness. It was lovely to meet you and your family, it seems like a long time ago now but they are memories I treasure. Thank you x

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