It was a big day — satisfying, and good fun — but more than that as well.  We lucked out (as did all the many other participants and scads of organizers and volunteers involved): even though showers and thunderstorms had been predicted, not a drop of rain fell on the 30th annual UBC Triathlon-Duathlon.  It was chilly, but not having any precipitation made the event a lot more pleasurable!

I’ve never done a group event like this, and certainly wasn’t planning to until a fellow paddler on my kayak trip last year, Jill Josselyn, who’s a formidable athlete, and was surprised to learn I was about to turn 70, suggested that I should consider doing a short triathlon as a way usher in my 8th decade!  She suggested I might ‘clean up in my age class’!

But let me back up a little.  Why am I telling you about this?  A couple of chapters in BECOMING  tie in, and made the event more than just a physical challenge: Use It or Lose It, which addresses Motivation; Flow, which is about Presence in action, and The Face, which is about authentic contact.  All were available during the event, and helped make it rich and rewarding.  Here’s what I mean.

Jill planted the seed, the motivation.  The idea to do an event that involved swimming, cycling and running (or in my case walking!), landed on fertile ground.  The event had appeal, both as a personal challenge, and as a way to  mark my big Seven Oh in memorable way.  It was clear to me that I didn’t want to do the event competitively, but just enjoy the flow, and see if I could complete it.  I was particularly pleased when Mike decided to join in, and actually discovered that there was an event so close to home.

Mike and I did the Short Course.  Here we are getting our medals.  We were the oldest folks in our event, and the only really old ones, which resulted in our actually getting 1st place in our age category (just as Jill said), which is listed as 70-98!! 🙂  Here’s the link to the Short Course results by age class, you have to scroll waaaayyy down to find us!  But then we waited for each other, and did it together at a leisurely pace.Presence and contact:  It was a sweet flow — not minding what happened, having cordial contact with the some of the organizers, volunteers, fellow participants; being present with our bodies, with the people, with crisp March air.
I remember warmly the smiles and encouragement of the folks positioned along the way, who stood for hours at their posts in the cold to ensure people were motivated, encouraged, and knew where to go.It was inspiring to see people old and young, some wiry and tough as nails, but also many quite soft and round, and clearly not particularly athletic, step up to the edge of the pool, and start off, and then to see them again at the awards ceremony.  Some were completing, as we were, their first such event.

It was awesome to see that one fellow, also in the 70-98 age category, did half again what we took just over 2 hours to complete, in one and a half hours.  Now there’s a fit fellow!  And then there was one keener who had done the Sprint event in the morning, and the full Olympic event in the afternoon!

We packed up our bikes, came home for a bath with Epsom salts, and later went out for dinner at a local restaurant that gives a 50% discount to seniors, 24/7.  The joys of growing older 🙂

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Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self -reflection, and to mine our memorable moments  for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback is most welcome.



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