I have a nice little comfort zone, a Renee box, if you will. I know that if I stay within my comfort zone, things are going to be okay. Nothing bad will happen to me inside that box. Outside of the box lies the unknown. Two things could happen if I venture outside my nice, safe Renee box, failure or success. If I fail, I will retreat to the comfortable confines of the box to lick my wounds. I may think twice about trying something outside. Or maybe, just maybe I'll try again. Maybe.
But if I succeed, my comfort zone will expand. The edges of the box will be pushed out to make room for this newfound success. BlogHer taught me that I could make friends with strangers under strange circumstances. And now I feel more comfortable talking to people I don't know. Slowly but surely throughout my whole life, the Renee box has expanded. I've tried new things. I've met new people. I've had fun along the way.
Lately, the Renee box hasn't been that comfortable. I've been going through something, questioning the way I am and the way I do things. Maybe its the fact that 40 is rapidly approaching. Maybe its not. I don't know. But I've been making some changes, pushing myself a little harder to do things, to try things.
The triathalon was one of those changes, a big old rip open the walls of this box type of change. I've always wanted to do something like that, to push myself beyond my limits. To see if I could do something, complete something if I put my mind to it. But as always happens, when I lose that initial bit of enthusiasm, I get tired and cranky. I want to give up, to go back to the way things were. The old me would have quit, would have said well I tried the training and it was too hard.
But the new me, the one who wants to see what is beyond the edges of the box, didn't quit. In fact, I did the opposite. I pushed harder. I signed up for a 5K, a race where I would have to run with other people. I was excited about the race all week. I set an ambitious goal for myself to finish 3.2 miles in 30 minutes. I was ready, I was going to do this.
And then it rained. Well I should say that it poured, a thunder and lightning crashing all around, type of rain. This was before I even left the house. Bunny, snuggled on the couch under her favorite blanket, said to me "Momma you shouldn't run in the rain." I tended to agree with her.
It was dark and wet and yucky but I went. As I drove to the race, I thought for sure they'd cancel it. But they didn't. A few hundred people stood around in the rain waiting for it to start. And then it rained harder so they pushed the race back 20 minutes. I could have left, no one would have known. But I didn't. I stood in the bathroom with a bunch of strangers who apparently were completely nuts.
We waited and the sky opened up again. Thunder crashed and lightning ripped through the sky but I still didn't leave. I was already wet, I might as well stick it out. Finally the skies cleared. Well no they didn't actually clear, it just stopped thundering and lightning and the rain more of a normal rain. As I stood at the starting line, waiting for the horn, the woman next to me said this was nuts and we should just go home. I agreed with her, but I didn't go.
I stayed and I ran. I let go of the time goal, anything under 40 minutes would be a success in these conditions. I just ran. I ran because I needed to. I needed to push myself. I needed to know that I could finish something. I ran because I am getting stronger. I ran because I wanted to run.
I was not fast. In fact, before I got to the 1 mile mark, the leaders of the race passed me on their way to the finish line. But I was not slow. I just ran and I finished*. And I felt great, better than great. I felt amazing despite the fact that I was wet and cold. I finished something I set out to do. And I kicked ass.
*I finished in 35:15. 550th overall (out of 723), 20th in my age group (out of 37), and 209th (out of 316) for women.