Thursday, 3 February 2005

The Pink Shorts

Evening guys.... a friend sent this through my support group today and it touched me and I thought that maybe others would want to read it.


I've been out of town all weekend at a triathlon with one of my marathon-training partners. It was SO exciting and even though I was a bystander and not an active participant, I had a blast just watching everything that was going on.

My friend has participated in over 25 triathlons. Triathlons are comprised of three events: swimming, cycling, and running. At this particular tri, the distances were a < mile open lake swim, 12.5 miles on the bike, and a 5K (3.1 mile) run, all done consecutively. Transitioning from one sport to the other is a real art and was the most fun to watch. I am in awe of these people. They are so far above me athletically that I just stand there with my mouth open and gawk!
After my friend had finished her events (she took 17th in her age division, which is great!) we went to get her bike, which she had to take apart. We were adjacent to the end of the running course that winded the last < mile up a hill and then into the park, where the finish line was. At this time, almost all of the 900 athletes had finished and were eating, drinking and relishing in their success at the after race party in the park. Bands were playing, dogs were catching Frisbees, the beer tent was packed and the awards ceremony was just about to get underway.
Then, we all saw her.

Alone on the running course, trudging up the hill, was a woman in pink shorts. Number 895 to be exact. She was 30 years old. I know this because they mark your age and number on you calf with a black marker to identify you for the race. She looked in pain. She was gasping for breath. But she was moving and had a very determined look on her face. She had about < mile to go to finish.

Apparently, lots of people saw her, because the announcer who was just about to start the awards ceremony asked everyone to give her a big round of applause, which we all did. As she crossed the finish line she lifted her arms in victory, like Sylvester Stallone did in Rocky. The crowd went wild!

This woman did not "look" like an athlete. In fact, she was very overweight. In the sea of lean, shredded, muscular, hard bodies that surrounded her this woman stood out like a sore thumb. But here she was, joining the ranks of THEM: the triathletes. I wanted to go up and kiss her!
As the awards ceremony got underway, trophies were given out to the winners and recognition given to those who had especially good course times. The male who had the best all around time was from New Zealand and he gave a short speech after receiving his award. Then, the female who had the best all around time was introduced. She's a professional athlete and just took 2nd at nationals, so she is hot stuff in the track world. She got up to the microphone and thanked everyone, then stated she wanted to especially acknowledge someone who had really inspired her. Of course, everyone thought she was going to introduce her coach or someone in her family.
She looked straight ahead and said, "I'd like the woman in the pink shorts over there to stand up because I want her to know that to me, SHE is the real winner here today." She was pointing to the woman who had just finished!

The woman in the pink shorts stood up and everyone applauded wildly. Then, the professional athlete motioned for her to come up to the microphone. Pink Shorts was hesitant, but made her way through the swarm of people and soon was up at the front of the crowd of almost 1000.
The professional athlete hugged her. More cheers. Then, the pro athlete gave the microphone to Pink Shorts.

She took the microphone and in a choking voice, this is what she said:
"Thank you, everyone. You know, months ago I didn't think I could do this. But I want to thank my two friends, Chris and Lisa, who kept telling me,`You can do it. You can do it. Keep going.' Today, when I didn't think I could do it anymore I kept telling myself, `You can do it. You can do it. Keep going." And I did it."
Then, she burst into tears.
Along with all the rest of us.

You could have heard a pin drop between the gasps and sobs. Here was a large woman, doing her first triathlon, not looking the least bit like she should be there, bringing all of these elite athletes to their knees. IT WAS AWESOME!!! This woman was teaching all these super-competitive people a great lesson. This is what it's all about. It was the entire weekend wrapped up in one sentence: "Today, when I didn't think I could do it anymore I kept telling myself YOU CAN DO IT. YOU CAN DO IT. Keep going."

And that is my message for the week. Keep going. Even when you think you cannot do it. Even when it's too hard. Even when you feel like hitting that snooze button to miss your workout, or grabbing that last cupcake, or not drinking your water, or having that pat of butter on your potato, or not doing that last rep, or blowing off your walk because it's drizzling, or having that piece of pizza crust or skipping your aerobics tape.

Keep going. You can do it.

So don't tell me that you didn't have a little tear in your eyes?

Check you soon.
Chubby Mum

PS I will write about my day a little later... so check back he he

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