Photos were recently posted from the Off the Rails triathlon from a few weeks ago. I saw this one and I quickly spent the $3 to get it from AM Photographs (appreciate that price!!)
This photo is a welcome departure from the usual bike and run photos and a different perspective of racing. It's the calm before the storm, the quiet contemplation, the days and months and years of training collected up in one duffle bag, a bike, and a body.
As I walked, my mind was clicking methodically through each of the things I'd need to do - packet pickup, timing chip, body marking, numbers on helmet, bike, and race belt. Transition setup - fill my water bottle, give the bike a quick check, clip shoes in, and set up helmet, glasses, race belt, running shoes and socks. Get goggles, swim cap, and Gatorade to drink and wait to swim.
My hand on the saddle, I guided Roo to transition, as I had done for races many times prior! My confidence is buoyed as I roll along with my "partner," thinking of the thousands of miles we have logged together. Roo looks so skinny!
Within my bag are are the accessories of racing, but I know the most important one is between my ears. I tried to keep my mind filled with thoughts of happiness, gratitude, and strength. I would not forget that one year ago I was volunteering at this race, still recovering from artery surgery, and unsure of my racing future.
In this photo I see a capable body. It is also aging, scarred, and plenty flawed by popular standards of beauty. But sport teaches that true beauty lies in strength and spirit.
This moment is a tiny slice of a journey that began for me in May of 2008 when I first set out to find a fitter and happier me. I never dreamed of the adventures I'd have along the way. It all started with a single step toward change. Without that, what photo might I be looking at today, what would I see, and most importantly, how would I feel?