August 26, 2008

By Kristy
Minneapolis, Minnesota

An analogy of a Triathlon to Life Changes…Moving to Sweden, Getting Married, Loving Life –

kristy runningI did another race Saturday and it gave me some time to reflect on life and where it is for me right now. The race was smaller – 1 mile swim, 21 miles bike, 5 miles run…Times: 32 min, 1:01, 42 min. Overall a successful race – placed 17/57 in AG, 380/795 total and cut off time from last years race in all 3 events…enough about that!

As I was swimming, I find that to be one of the most inward reflecting times because it’s you, the water, (in this case – the seaweed), and the sound of my own motion of breath, I began to reflect on where I’m at in life, and all that is about to happen.

Work created a position for me so I can go to Sweden…the real reason I’m going is to play bandy with AIK in Stockholm; a dream of mine for the past 4 years. AIK is the best team in Sweden, and I’ve been invited to play with them this season! I asked work if I could continue to be employed and maintain pay while over there – it’s going to be expensive. So, they are! I also found out the project might go back there next year at about this same time…I’ve already volunteered to be the one to go back over.

So now – Each stroke I paddle makes me think of each different thing that we have to do! We need to figure out what to do with the current place – we’d like to rent it out (stroke), we need to find a place there (stroke), we need to figure out what to take with us and what to leave behind (stroke….you get the idea), we will have to figure out a lot of different ways to get around since we won’t have a car, I’ll have to adjust to skating 1.5 hours daily, plus whatever other work outs will be going on, Thom will want to figure out what he’s going to transition his career into. I’m going to be wearing a new hat at work, and learning a new role. I’m going to want to try to learn a new language…bottom line..a lot is going to happen. Another change – we’re getting married! We are thinking of doing a beach wedding in Miami, FL, followed by a cruise. I’ve always wanted to go to Belize, so I think this will be our chance. I have a lot to do to get ready for that. First things first – get our engagement photos taken (stroke) I’m going to change my hair (again). I’ve been growing it out for a few months so I could donate it. It is finally long enough to donate (or just about – in a couple of weeks, it will be!) and I’ll be going to a super short hair style (like that of AJ on ANTM, Cycle 7)

So much going on…and like the water that is going by me as I paddled through to the finish line, it’s all going to go by so fast. I change out of the wetsuit – that item that has been my comfort, protection, and aid through this first stage and I have to get into a new means of movement…a new way to roll – my bike will be like that of us transitioning to public transportation instead of the access to a car 24/7. I will need a new way to protect myself – new environments pose new challenges – as I put on my cycling helmet, I’m going to need to be aware of new surroundings. I’m going to take on a new outlook – things are different in Sweden than they are in the US, it’s going to be different – like looking through my goggles on a horizontal plane, versus putting on my sunglasses in an upright position. I’m going to use my body in different ways – as I go from bare feet into my cycling shoes, I’m going to go from my comforts on home ice (an hour or two a week) to skating 6 days a week. I take in a gu for nutrition and that reminds me of the different things we will be eating and the way my body will need more fuel than it has in past winters with so much activity.

I’m going to have a new environment to learn – as I move from the lake to the road – Stockholm is a different city than Minneapolis. I have more time to reflect as I ride my bike through the streets of the race….everything moves by me so quickly. I realize that my time in Sweden will probably come and go before we realize it is happening. yet at the same time, I’m sure that there will be times that are so painfully slow – like when I realized I was only at mile 10, and had 11 to go and I was pushing myself too hard on the bike – I’m sure there will be a time when we have some home sickness and wish we were back with our friends and family. We’ll have so much to look at – new people to meet – like that cyclist I just passed and we shared pleasant conversations about the weather, the ride, and enjoying every pedal stroke of it.

We’ll get to another phase where we’ll be on the down side of the time left to share there…as I roll into the transition area again, I am changing my helmet for a hat, my cycling shoes for running shoes, my motion less fluid and more chopped. My buddy Paul and his wife Jodie shout out to me – a familiar face in a crowd of strangers – I like that! I start out on the course to run the next 5 miles and meet more new people and push myself to another level of physical exertion. I reflect less on life at this point and push myself to see how fast and how far I can go. I do take a few moments to watch all of the fans I see pass by me in a blur, and I realize, the 1 fan in my life is Thom – the man I will spend the rest of my life with. As I run by his sister, she shouts “One Hot A$$ Bride to Be!” I giggle – I have a wedding to plan, I have a whole new exciting life to look forward to when we get back from Sweden.

I keep putting one foot in front of the other until I see the finish line ahead of me. A bit of bittersweet emotion takes over me. I’m glad to be done with the race – only because my body is telling me that it needs more fuel and I’m hot from the summer sun. I’m saddened to be done with the experience. Just like I’m sure Sweden will be for us – it will be exhausting, trying to cram so much into a short amount of time, but the end will come, and it will be time to push myself hard again – like I did as I crossed the finish line today – my head held high, my goal in site, my passion fueled. Life – reflected upon and compared to a race…The goal of both is the journey!

A few quotes that crossed my mind in all of this:
If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours. —Henry David Thoreau

If God invented marathons to keep people from doing anything more stupid, the triathlon must have taken Him completely by surprise.

So, as I embark these changes, it’s important for me to remember, life isn’t a track meet, it’s a marathon…and here I am doing triathlons!