Why Triathlon? (Or ‘How Disability Helps Me Tap Into the Essence of my Humanity’)

Barrie Triathlon Map

If you’ve been following along this week, or if you saw the video of us out training, you may be wondering why we would go to so much effort to do something so few people even attempt?

Why would we put so much time and effort and money and energy into this when there are so many other important things happening in life?

I guess there’s a few reasons for this, and they all boil down to one simple truth: being disabled doesn’t make us any less human – instead, it often causes us to be even more aware of our human drives, desires and needs.

For instance, we all share a very human drive to push ourselves – to see just how far we can go and how much we can accomplish. And being disabled doesn’t necessarily stop that from being the case! In fact, since the nature of my disability means that I essentially can never push myself physically, it means that there is a greater desire to push myself when I can. And Trevor will tell you that I can be extremely competitive!

The second reason is the need to connect with nature. I love being outside – and the more things we need to train for the more time I get to spend outside. Obviously there are loads of health benefits from being outside – the fresh air, the vitamin D, not to mention being away from my devices. More and more research is demonstrating that time outside is one of the biggest needs in our 21st century, device-driven, climate-controlled world. It’s part of how we remember that we are human. And I can’t really get outside on my own, so this is a fabulous way to get out and enjoy nature.

But there’s more than that. There’s something about movement – even when my muscles can’t engage – that is remarkably essential to the way we as humans are created. So whether I’m swinging in one of the accessible swings at the park downtown or Trevor’s running me or biking me or swimming with me, the movement reconnects me and grounds me, lowering my anxiety levels, decreasing depression and increasing my sense of wholeness. Like the sense of exhilaration that many feel when they go on a roller coaster, I come back from our training feeling more like things are right with my world.

Better yet, this movement now requires that I be connected with community – another core element of how we were meant to live as human beings. I can’t swing myself on the swing, but the feel of someone else pushing from behind creates a sense of connection. Feeling Trevor towing me forward in the boat, pulling me in the bike or pushing me as he runs creates that same sense of connection. And when we get to run with the Barrie Runninjas or the myTeamTriumph crew then so much the better, because with one person I’m part of a team, but with a group of people I am truly part of community!

So, race day is in just two days! Sunday, August 12th, 2018 at the Barrie Waterfront. Details can be found at www.barrietri.ca if you’d like to come out and cheer us on!

And if you’d like to donate to help create more opportunities for disabled individuals to participate in accessible racing, please visit my GoFundMe page!

Image Source: http://www.barrietri.ca

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