has been a difficult one. In ways I could not have imagined or anticipated.
I know I need to report on how Saturday’s race actually went, which I will definitely do. But in the last seven weeks this experience has become much bigger for me than race day. I’d like to do some further explaining about that before talking about the race.
When I started training for the triathlon I had the thought “Can I do this?” As I got into my training that question faded away. Hopefully you could sense that in my previous related posts. I realized I could do it. And I kept training, looking forward with optimism and confidence.
But seven weeks ago things changed. I found out I was pregnant.
We were slightly surprised but very excited. Though, of course, I wasn’t sure what my training would look like moving forward.
I know that many women have gone out and done some incredible things while pregnant. They’ve climbed mountains, ran marathons. Tara even told me she had a friend who did the Ironman while pregnant.
This experience has taught me that I am not one of those women.
I tried as best I could to get out there and move in the last weeks of my training, but I was just so tired and gross-feeling. When I would exercize with any moderate-to-high level of intensity I would hit a huge wall. My burning legs, my fast-beating heart, my panting lungs would all scream “We are DONE!”
This is all normal, I learned. And any woman who has been pregnant will tell you that the word “normal” is a very comforting thing to hear when you are with child.
Unfortunately, there were other things about this pregnancy that were not normal. I have hypothyroidism and that became an issue. We thought that was resolved when we went in for an ultrasound and saw our little one’s heart beating. We were six weeks along. He or she measured just fine and we were on track for a March birth.
Then the icky pregnant feeling started to fade and we learned that my hormone levels were not increasing “normally.” I spent a week living in a chaotic mixture of fear, hope, uncertainty, prayer, sadness, and confusion.
You can see where this is going. And, of course, the last thing I wanted to do was train. Understandably.
A week ago today we saw with our own eyes that our baby’s heart was not beating. This was five days before the triathlon.
I had spent over a month of pregnancy wondering “Can I really do this triathlon? Will the baby be okay? If I don’t do it am I just wimping out or is my reasoning legitimate? What would God have me do? This seems so much bigger than just doing a triathlon. Do I trust Him with this? What does trusting Him even look like in this situation?”
Even though the baby is now safe in the arms of Jesus (and really was, all along), I still wondered if I could finish the race or if I wanted to anymore. “I’m just so tired, Lord, in every way. The last thing I want is to be out there on that race course exhausted, alone, feeling like I want to give up.”
At the same time, there was something compelling and healing about the thought of accomplishing something with my body (if I could do it). This body that has carried three babies and delivered one at full term. The one that survived those years of disordered eating and ran a half marathon last October.
The one that’s gotten one too many sunburns and doesn’t get enough water every day. The one with the bum shoulder. The one that breastfed a child for 14 months and the one strong enough to carry that same child’s 28-pound body around every day.
I have to admit, this body I have is an amazing creation. And it’s sustained by a lovingly persistant Creator.
I couldn’t shake the thought that this was something from God all along. I have felt that before with other things and I have felt my resistance to fully embrace it.
I knew He had provided all I had needed up until this point, on many practical levels. And I knew I had proclaimed that, to myself and to others.
Come race day, I would learn even more about His provision.
I just had to get to the starting line.