Inspired by very special triathlete

Occasionally, an event occurs in our lives that has more impact and effects than expected.

To the editor:

Occasionally, an event occurs in our lives that has more impact and effects than expected.

An avid triathlete, I attempt to give back to my sport through volunteering. As the Apple Triathlon in Kelowna approached I came across a call-out from an organization called Won with One, stating they needed guides to partner in the race with their visually challenged team.

I immediately responded and was matched with Myra, a 69-year-old triathlete from Toronto. Myra and I connected via email, had a phone conversation and planned to meet the day before the event to practice.

Saturday morning arrived and my husband Scott and I set out to meet Myra and Caramel, her beautiful silky-eared black lab guide dog.

Having never ridden a tandem bike I was nervous and about five seconds into our first practise ride we hit the ground—hard. Aside from the physical impact, the crash took the wind out of our sails and changed the atmosphere from excitement  to trepidation. Investigation revealed that the bike itself was mechanically compromised.

As the team rallied to correct the issue Myra and I took the opportunity to go for a tethered swim practise and attend the athletes meeting. Later we had to limit our practise from riding the bike from home base to transition and have faith that race day would be just fine.

Myra said she slept well, but I spent the evening terrified of what the next day would bring. I wasn’t sure if I could manage the race while keeping both Myra and myself safe. I am sure Myra had similar thoughts, but we had a silent agreement to focus on the positive and not give energy to the negative. It was a true partnership; we were going to get this done, together.

Race day dawned and before I knew it we were standing in the water hearing the “one minute to start” warning.  Myra is a swimming machine, never missed a beat and maintained a steady front crawl for the entire distance. I must confess that I was briefly distracted when I saw the men’s  race wave coming up behind us, churning forward to swallow us in the washing machine of flailing limbs. Thanks to Myra’s focus, my yoga breathing and amazing swim volunteers the ground soon appeared below us.

From the back of the bike Myra reminded me of the reason she calls her bike Dragonfly—it is a drag up the hills but flies down. I thought as long as we keep pedaling we will be fine—we did, and we were.

We spent most of the run reviewing fancy, funky and fast running shoes while hearing fans and supporters cheering.  Caramel and my husband trotted along with us for a portion as well.

As we rounded the final turn and felt the timing mat beneath our feet, Myra said: “We are going to grab hands, lift them high over our heads and smile like crazy as we cross the finish line.” And it was all over, just like that.

I was completely inspired by Myra, her attitude, her determination, and energy. Myra gives trust first, and thus inspires and receives it.  It is like watching karma personified— you receive back what you give out.

Myra doesn’t always have the luxury of waiting, of playing it safe, of expecting others to earn her trust. She gives freely and wholly. She just “keeps on pedaling” and holds faith that she will reach the summit.

I am so grateful to have had this experience, to be reminded of the power of living within trust and potential rather than behind barriers.

I am inspired to think “I can, I will, I am” rather than “I can’t.”

I am inspired to give trust and have faith it will land safely.

I am inspired to “just keep pedaling.”

I am inspired to be more like Myra.

I wonder who I can be when I just do without questioning, when I place trust in others freely.

I wonder what my community can be if we all trust and work in authentic partnerships.

I wonder what the world can be if everyone is afraid, but acts anyway, if everyone is cautious, but trusts anyway. What distances can we cover and what heights can we reach if we just keep pedaling?

Karen Bowen,

Kelowna

 

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