We get so caught up in the minutia of races that sometimes, we forget what really matters and how what we do can affect others.
This weekend, for the first time, my parents came to see me race. I didn't know they were coming. Apparently they were there for the whole race, watching the swim start, T1 and T2, some of the run, and the finish line. They said they didn't cheer for us at all because they 'didn't want to distract us,' which Speedy thought was hilarious because his parents scream their heads off whenever they see either of us during a race.
Anyway, I came across the finish line and had just taken off my chip when I heard my mom's voice, and I was totally that person in the chute who stops on a dime and I probably caused a minor traffic jam behind me. Um, yeah . . . sorry about that.
My dad was walking around the finish area, watching the competitors and interactions, and heard the finish line spectators explode a couple times for certain finishers. Now, Dad has been recovering from some health issues that gave him some problems. He's always been overweight, and these recent issues totally sapped his motivation to continue losing weight or be active, which he had been doing, and he started gaining again. So when he started talking about the different body types of the competitors, or the camaraderie among members of my tri club, or the general supportive nature of the sport, Speedy and I chatted with him about it but didn't think of it as more than general curiosity. Imagine my surprise and delight when my dad asked us if we thought that this race was something we thought he could do next year!!
That's right. My dad was so inspired by the race that he wants to do a triathlon next year. How freaking great is that?
It's been a while since he's done anything more active than walking, so he's starting with the Couch to 5K, and called me to tell me about his first day back on the treadmill. I've also sent him links to forums and blogs of people who have done the same thing (ahem, Dan) in hopes that seeing people who have undertaken the same goal and are succeeding will provide some lasting inspiration for him.
I'm so proud of him for taking the first steps!! (And yes, I've told him that.) And I think it's a great reminder that you never know who you can inspire, even when races/training seem to be going poorly. If anyone has any advice about how I can keep encouraging him, I'd love to hear it.
And . . . big changes coming my way on October 1!! Stay tuned for more details :)