It’s been about two weeks since the great ‘wetsuit’ audition of 2011.
You see, I have a wetsuit that I love simply because it’s mine. I don’ t know much about it, or didn’t, until a few weeks ago, even though I’ve had it for a couple of years.
It’s a sleeveless Xterra and I had it packed away after my last triathlon a couple of years ago.
That I needed it now only seemed to be an annoyance because I don’t enjoy swimming with a wetsuit. It feels too constrictive, even though I know that technically, it can be quite helpful in a race.
So two weeks ago I pulled out the suit and went to try it on while I prepared for a race the next morning. I assumed it would take about 15 minutes from start to finish.
Well, 90 minutes and a lot of sweat later, it was finally on. Inside out.
I tugged this thing, I pulled, I stretched. I grabbed BodyGlide and rubbed myself silly and then I poured some organic lube down each leg to get this thing to stretch over my legs. I felt my body shift into slight hysteria; I knew my heart rate was off the charts; sat in front of a fan placed in front of my air conditioner and then I fell on top of my bed and tried to wriggle into the suit that way.
When I finally got it all the way up, I went to pull on the zipper and that’s when I realized I had been trying it on the wrong way. I shook my head and laughed. My friend, Chrispy, made me laugh even harder when we spoke on the phone a few minutes later. It was at that moment that I realized how little I know about the sport of triathlon, even after having completed a race.
I was going to make the wetsuit fit if it killed me. Then it hit me…Just like I had tried, over the past year, to make relationships fit me when I knew they couldn’t.
From ‘The Prince’ to ‘The Actor’ to ‘The One’ to, to, to…I had spent a year knowing things weren’t working in so many ways, but still wanting to try. And try again.
And like that wetsuit, those relationships weren’t ‘on’ the right way and I didn’t realize it until I had wriggled myself into something serious, or stayed too long or failed to speak up.
But, also like that wetsuit, I learned a valuable lesson: Lay out what you need early on and realize that when you’re in the middle of a serious struggle to make something ‘fit’, that’s exactly the moment you need to step back and look at how many layers you have built up…then stop forcing things to work when they can’t.
I will have that lesson in mind when I start to pack tonight for my 70.3 tri next weekend.