Ok. I was hesitant to write this due to the fact that it's not "about me". This is meant to be an encouragement to all of you caregivers.
Two and a half years ago, when Jerry went to live in a facility, it was so devastating for both of us. There were months when I cried my eyes out. It was all I could do to walk around the block. The twelve years of caring for Jerry was so gradual that I didn't realize how it had zapped my strength. I was done. Toast!
Thanks to a dear friend, I was encouraged to exercise. I hate exercise. Face it....exercise hurts and I have an aversion to pain and discipline and ice packs. "Machine man", being a trainer who is an insaniac about exercise with a love for helping people, nagged me about how I needed to exercise in order to care for Jerry. SO.....in his little manipulating way, he coerced me into entering a sprint triathlon. He printed out an application and knew I'd take the bate. I mean...why not? I'm not getting any younger! So I began to get use to the idea and I couldn't help but remember how Jerry was such a cheerleader. I remembered him running along side of the pool cheering for my kids to keep on swimming. He'd always say..."You've got to have fire in the belly!" The only fire that's ever been in my belly is after eating too much Mexican food!
Today! Today I found myself driving to a nearby Marine base with my bike loaded on the back of my car. As I drove onto the base, I started to freak out! These were Marines! The course seemed much longer than I thought and the closer I got to it...the longer it was! This was NO sprint! These were real athletes! Mostly men! Athletes with fancy bikes, triathlon suits, two pair of shoes, caps and googles, even! Drat! What have I gotten myself into? As I stood in line to pick up my race packet, I found myself behind a multiple ironman competitor who graciously helped me with words of wisdom of how to remedy goggle raccoon eyes.....and slipped on his racy pair of biker sunglasses. He's been competing since he was a little kid. WHAT"S UP WITH THAT!
Hey! WHATEVER. I'm old! This is my first. And I'm trying! What the heck! So I backed my bike up into the rack, laid my helmet down on my orange towel, along with a gel pack, my shorts and my shoes with vaseline (just like on the "how to" u-tube video I watch last night.) then headed to the pool. There, I found myself lined up with hundreds of phenoms, garbed in all their sleek multi colored tri-suits, with padded butts, so they could just hop on their bikes after their swim. All around me I could hear them say, "I didn't train for this." "Me neither. I bought my bike at Walmart last week." "I'll get passed on the first lap." LIES! ALL LIES! Here I was, the "senior female" in the middle of them, in my $15 clearance periwinkle suit from TJMax....and my bare thighs glowing in their truest form! No cap. No goggles! (I look terrible in goggles.) SUCH A NERD!
Next up and no turning back now. I stepped across the time pad with my electronic ankle bracelet and into the water I went, swimming "effortlessly" (that was another u-tube video). I could see out of the corner of my chlorine "popeye" as I stroked over.... people watched to see if I was going to actually make it. Ah! Fooled them! With each lap and each turn on the bike, I found myself getting stronger and smiling. I envisioned Jerry cheering with every lap and at every turn on my bike. The run...well, I walked half of it...but at the finish line......there were the phenoms...cheering me in..."don't give up! don't give up!" ..Jerry was right in the middle of them. I finished! It was a triumph! Another one for the bucket list! Truly the best thing ever! Now, on to the next one. Where's my ice pack?
I think it's time to ditch the periwinkle suit and get a real one....what do ya think?