Stephanie Pletka

Inspiring Moms To Live Their Greatest Life

Swim, Bike, Run: Finding Myself Again


SWIM, BIKE, RUN! I hadn’t raced in a triathlon since I was in my mid-20’s. That was 20 years ago. My SWIM BIKE RUN had become, COOK, CLEAN and Wipe little butts. A few things have changed over the years: my weight, my fitness level and like most, I’ve had kids, lots of them.

My attention, for years, has been placed on them. This year, I decided to reverse the trend and focus on me, while maintaining all the “plate juggling” that comes with raising a family.

I didn’t want to sign up for this event. I gave all the excuses in the world. But ultimately, my husband “double dog dared me” and if you’re Southern, well . . . You don’t take that lightly.

The first step, join a gym. Check! My ultimate goal was to complete 14 laps, down and back. That didn’t seem difficult until I began swimming. 4 laps into it, I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath.

My heart felt like it was about to burst and my body didn’t seem to be gliding through the water, as it once did. I saw a lifeguard in the corner of my eye, standing over me, waving her arms. Alarmed, I stopped to see what was going on. Was someone hurt? Was I in the wrong lane?

She said: Are you ok? You seem to have difficulty swimming. If you need assistance, there are floaties in the closet.

What? I said: Are You talking to me? What could I have possibility looked like to have had a lifeguard rush down from her Stand to offer me FLOATIES- how embarrassing. I never took my goggles off until I hit the locker room, to keep from being identified on my next trip, if there was EVER a NEXT trip.

The morning of the race, everyone had State of the Art equipment, fast, light-weight bikes: Cannondale, GIANTS. You’re judged by the type of bike you ride. It sort of separates the “Men from the Boys.” My husband had one of those bikes. You can pick it up with your pinky – Sleek, fast. Not me, I had a mountain bike: fat tires, takes 2 people to lift it. In an effort to ease the humiliation, my young sons were trying to find examples of other racers with mountain bikes. “Look Mom, see there’s another mountain bike.” Uh, yes son, he’s 13. Ok, just forget it.

Reflecting on my 20’s, it was a different experience back then. No kids, no schedules; freedom was at my fingertips. We could eat Nachos with a glass of wine, after a long work week and not gain an ounce. Nowadays, it’s baked chicken and steamed broccoli just to maintain. I remember my “Swim Cap” color; It was yellow, a megaphone to the world that I was STILL young.

This time, when the Race Official wrote my age with a permanent marker, on the back of my leg, it said: 41.

I wanted to explain, that I actually felt younger than this. Can you write that underneath 41?

I was no longer a yellow cap, but a purple one; I was now 2 swim cap colors behind, with a chasm of 50 pink-headed caps, separating me from my beloved Youth.

To makes matters worse, we were Almost the last group to enter the water. The only people behind us were the blue caps. These were the ones to FEAR!

They were the 12-18 YEAR OLDS! As if I had a ton of self-esteem, being placed virtually last in a line, behind 1000 racers, now we’ve got the “quick as lightning” group behind us; teens with endless energy, who will pass you on the swim, upping the probability that you may, in fact, be the last person to make it to the finish line. My goal: to see as few “blue caps” as possible. My Prayer: Please http://bible.comGod, let me finish before the banner was taken down!

As if training for the SWIM, BIKE, RUN wasn’t enough, there were the Transitions. They added 2-3 minutes, (ok 6, because I couldn’t find my bike), then another 3 to put on my shoes, switch from helmet to cap, put on lip gloss. Hey, you feel good, if you look good!

In the scheme of life, it’s important to note: you’re really only competing against yourself, not the yellow caps, screaming “YOUTH.” You’ll never be younger than you are today. Oprah said: Remind yourself – this VERY moment is the ONLY one you know you have FOR SURE.

Embrace the power, the wisdom, the knowledge and influence you’ve gained in the years you’ve lived.

Wave your Purple Swim Cap proudly. Like the markings on your leg, all things mature, and with development comes freedom and adventure! While the main event is SWIM, BIKE, RUN, learning to successfully navigate Life’s Transitions is a major part of the process. There are many ups and downs, changes we don’t expect. Just like coal to a Diamond, the adversities and pressures of life – allow us the experiences to grow and walk through the Door of Greatness.

Life is What You Make It! Cheers to Purple Power, Lip Gloss and 40-plus ladies signing up for their next Race.

Here’s to Living the Best Version of You!

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>