Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Pushing Boundaries

Before I didn't finish the RRCA 10-Mile Challenge, I did finish talking to a roomful (at LEAST 100. Prolly more like 200. Or 2000.) of candidates for D.C. Tri's New Triathlete Program 2009.

I was asked to join the volunteer coordinators at the NTP Orientation last Saturday. and just "talk about your experience."

So we all know that fear of public speaking ranks before fear of death, right?

Right.

Though I was a little nervous beforehand, I felt like I knew my subject—me—pretty well.

So here's an abbreviated version of what I told them, in no particular order.

I told them that the club president, answering my general query about the NTP, talked me into doing the Olympic distance race that the program was training for. How other people believing in you can make YOU believe in YOU.

I told them I got an "F" in gym in high school. That I had run for a few years. That I was 52.

I told them that last year was hands down the best year of my life.

I described my journey to my first triathlon, the Philadelphia Insurance Sprint, and how I almost cried at the start because I thought my life would be ending soon—that's how scared I was.

I told them that I am the shyest person on earth (quite possibly true) and that I forced myself to go to things where I didn't know anyone, and how scary, but crucial, it is to do that.

I told them about the first "bric-nic" I went to, which I had to drag myself to because I didn't know anyone and had a crap bike, but how I went anyway and had So Much Fun It Should Be Illegal.

I told them that it takes guts to finish last.

I described the misery of being the last swimmer out of the water at the New Jersey Tri., racing to the bike racks only to see them empty, riding that long course by myself, running 10k in the 200F weather, and having to run past the finish (at this point my co-presenters started clearing their throats. What, you don't think this is a great sales pitch???).

But I eventually got to the punch line, which was: Coming back down the final leg of the run, down the hill, convinced everyone was gone and I was last, only to see and hear my NTP peeps had all WAITED FOR ME and were rushing the net cheering MY name.

Quite simply one (out of two) of the best days of my life.

I told them some other stuff too. How much help they would get from other triathletes—even Ironmen rode 12 mph with me, helping me out. How they'd be their own best mentors, to show up for stuff, to put themselves out there and take risks.

Kind of like I did standing up in front of a roomful of strangers.

Plus? I think they liked my little talk.

18 comments:

Thomas said...

Wow, I'm SO impressed that you went through with this. I mean, I can run marathons and ultras, but I don't think I would survive a talk like that!

Danielle in Iowa said...

How could you have left out the joy of the wetsuit in your little talk? :-)

Lesser is More said...

What better person to speak about the NTP than you? Seems like it really helped you and I'm sure your enthusiasm for the program came through, no matter how nervous you might have been.

I'm thinking about doing the Half Iron Program...its calling my name.

Calyx Meredith said...

Your recap was so inspiring that I wish I'd been in that room to hear it in person. Yay you for getting up in front of all of those people. Just think, maybe because of you - someone will become brave enough to venture outside of their comfort zone and have one or two of the best days of their life!!

IHateToast said...

i'd get more inspiration from a talk like that than from "why i'm such a great athlete."

shugga, you'd be on my box of wheaties any day.

LBTEPA said...

Every time I read that tri report I just smile and smile :)

I Run for Fun said...

Amazing! I could never have gone through with a motivational speech like this. You did great!

21stCenturyMom said...

I'm sure they loved your little talk because I'm sure others in that room were just as scared as you and now they know that if they just push on it will all work out.

I need to talk to you about the program - like on the phone.

Dori said...

Was there a dry eye in the place when you were done? Quite an inspiring post. :-)

Susan said...

Oh! Oh! Awwww! I would have LOVED to be in the audience!

Judi said...

i got all choked up reading this. i wish i could have been there for your speach.

facing your fears like that - all of your races, and "firsts", make you so fucking cool jeanne.

Sunshine said...

That's pretty sweet.. especially for someone born not to run.
Great Job!!

Jack said...

I would have loved to hear what you had to say. And you are so right on so many counts. In the last 5 years I have gone from overweight jogger to running multiple ultras/marathons each year, and only because I took a chance and moved outside of my comfort zone. I've gone from lonely New Yorker lost in Germany to an active member of a running club that makes me feel at home. Like you, I am spreading the gospel so to speak, sometimes we have to step out of our comfort zone, but then watch out, the boundaries just fall away!

Runner Susan said...

you are my hero. makes me almost want to do a tri. but not really. too scary.

peter said...

Yay Jeanne! Way to give back. I'm glad you had a best year last year. I had that kind of a year in running in '06 and they're kind of fun to look back on. But you have the oly distance to look forward to yet. (Or do I have that wrong.)

ShirleyPerly said...

I think it's so wonderful that you had such a supportive group to help you get started in tris. Really, this is something that most people in other areas don't have, I don't think, and fumbling around on your own is no fun. Kudos to you for stepping up and sharing your story. I hope everyone there realizes how lucky they are and will take advantage of that wonderful program!

Xena said...

The real question is who is that sexy biatch in the background cheering? Heyo!

Yep, you, me, and Sheriece, debilitating shyness.

Sign up for HIP!

Catharine said...

Way to inspire! Just for the record, you came out of the water at 4 minutes ahead of me in NJ.