While I am gone chaperoning 150 sixth graders in the wilds of the coastal redwoods, please enjoy this pre-Momservations blog from 2008.

This month I gave the Golden State Triathlon another try after swearing it off forever after the experience below. But like a good sweet potato fry dipped in Ranch dressing, I just couldn’t say no. Thankfully, this time it was a much better experience and I was pleased with my finish. But even better, I figure I got two weeks of Halloween candy credit built up before I have to really start exercising again…

Tri-ing to inspire my kids as a triathlete. Or be able to eat Oreos whenever I want. Hopefully, both.

In an ongoing effort to be able to eat chili cheese fries and all the Ranch dressing I could blissfully drown myself in (the kind made from scratch – there is not substitute), I train for and participate in sprint distance triathlons.

It is a great exercise motivator because if you know you’re going to need to be able to complete a half mile open water swim, a fifteen mile bike and a three mile run all in one sitting, you kind of want to be prepared for it so you don’t die.

See, the thing is, with the run if you’re tired you can walk. With the bike if you’re tired you can coast. With the swim if you’re tired – you drown.

Seems a high price to pay for Ranch dressing – even if it is the super special kind made with real buttermilk.

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I’ve never been a quitter. I won’t stop reading a bad book, I’ll keep watching a lame movie and I will sport-eat anything left on a table at dinner despite the caloric damage I know I’m doing.

So when I signed myself up for the Golden State Triathlon held this last weekend – despite nearly record low morning temperatures for the day (42 degrees), 20-40 mph freezing winds, and an AmericanRiver topping out at a balmy 62 degrees, I sucked it up and went for it.

I’m either flippin’ crazy or I really need another hobby.

But here’s what kept me motivated: my husband getting up early on his day off, collecting the kids, getting them cozied up and snack supplied and all of them going out to Discovery Park with me to support and cheer on their crazy mother.

So when I had to slip into that full-body wet suit and convince myself I could still feel my hands, feet and face and seriously considered peeing in my wetsuit to warm me up – I just looked over at my family and drew courage from their belief in me.

When the frigid current of the river made swimming in the gym pool when the heater was broken seem like the white sand beaches of the Bahamas – I let the cheers of my family from the bridge above me ease my doubts.

When the arctic blasts of wind hit my wet body and I was unable to feel my feet or hands on the bike, and I was nearly blown off the course by huge gusts while wrestling with trying to open a Power Bar even Houdini couldn’t escape from – I drew strength from the proud faces of my family as they cheered each of my laps.

During the run when I could still not feel my frozen feet and had a calf muscle ready to throw in the towel since my brain wasn’t smart enough to stop, I  knew that I could not quit now because I had my family at the finish line eagerly awaiting my triumphant arrival.

And make it I did, with the elements against me but my biggest fans applauding my accomplishment.

I think the biggest victory in the experience was my kids seeing their mother practice what she preaches:

  • Even when things seem overwhelming and insurmountable that giving up is easy, but choosing to finish is worth the reward that accomplishment brings.
  • Dare to try new things.
  • Don’t give up in the face of adversity – use it to build character.
  • Use your support system.
  • Always challenge yourself – you’ll be better for it.

And if one day, my children use me as a source of inspiration in achieving their own goals and surmounting their own obstacles, it will have been the best race of my life.

But mainly it’s great to know my kids think their mom is a bad-a**. I think I can use this for leverage during the teenage years.

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