September 01, 2006

It's Never Too Late To Smile

I gotta give a big hearty shout-out to the TriGirl triathlon crew. Every single one of the members that I've heard from seems to ooze happiness like it's going out of style. It's infectious. If the people I've talked are representative of the entire group, I'd have to believe it's one heck of an enthusiastic community of women. They seem to embrace the triathlon lifestyle with all sorts of the vigor and flapdoodlery that got us into the sport in the first place. (well, maybe not so much on the flapdoodlery, but I couldn't resist using that word.)(Yeah, flapdoodle is a word.)

I'm not sure if there are any professional triathletes or Kona qualifiers in the bunch, but in a way, I hope not. There's a feeling with the middle-of-the-pack crowd that you just don't get with the fasties. It's an overwhelming glow and a kind of innocent perspective on the sport. You know what it is? It's moxie. Yeah, that's it. The TriGirls are bursting with moxie. And there's something about moxie in this sport that just gives you a quiveringly good feeling of the stomach flutters.

One of the TriGirl's dropped a comment to me earlier this week about how she is 42 and doing her first sprint distance triathlon. I could sense the enthusiasm in the spaces between her words. It got me thinking about my first sprint distance race, how I was beaming with anxious enthusiasm. Scared of stepping into the unknown, but eager to conquer this new challenge. I vividly remember crossing that finish line as I beamed with excitement, a smile stretching from ear to ear and back again. That was in 1992. The more I thought about that feeling, the more I realized that felt the same emotion when I finished my first half-ironman in 2001. I finished my first Ironman this year, and let me tell you, the feeling not only came back, but it lit a fire within me that had long since been fading.

Most of us will never be winning any races. The truth is, that we're not out there to win, we are out there to have fun. I hope we never forget that.
Thank you, TriGirls, for the smiling reminder.


triathlonmom said...

Thanks J.
That is why I am a teamleader for Trigirl..I just love being around the enthusiasm (and butterflies) of first time triathletes. Something about it makes you feel so alive.

heilbron said...

Hey Mr. Ironman,

thank you SO MUCH for your kind words. I've never thought of us as having moxie, OR flapdoodlery, but I'm proud to say we've both! One of my favorite parts of racing triathlon with TriGirl is that big group of women in pink there at the finish line absolutely freaking out any time any one of us crosses the finish line. By the time the last of us crosses, there are only a few others athletes out on the course and we stay to go apeshit to run them in. It is just so much freakin' fun. We've a number of teams around town [with lots more "fasties" than we've got] and I've seen NARY a one at the finish hollering for their team mates. I suppose I'm spoiled, but I think that's shameful. I'm always threatening to go right on over to some of those lonely women and whisper, "hey sister, come on over here, and train with us..." We love our fasties, too, make no mistake, and they are sometimes surprised at how much we love to support them as much as everyone else - but we just don't do that comparison thing. What for? TriGirl triathlon is about getting your ass out of bed every morning -- your big ass, your skinny ass, or, in my case, your ass with just one glute!-- and doing it. Races? All they are is a group celebration of all that training.

Thanks for supporting us, and for SUCH an inspiring race report.

Yours very sincerely,
Heilbron Rushing-Cooper, TRIGirl
PS: Burn Glycogen, Not Fossil Fuels

carmen said...

Thanks for such a lovely tribute! The TRIgirls are indeed a fabulous group of women. I've been a proud member since the group started last August. Just started a little blog a couple of weeks ago to track my good times with the girls--please check it out!