In April I began training for my first triathlon with Jill B. Nimble. I am doing this because I continue to “tri” to reclaim the athlete I once was. I am trying to really believe it when people call me an athlete. It is a hard label for me to accept. I can accept other labels quite easily – reader, academic, mother, friend, wife, hippy – but for some reason, when people call me an athlete I have a hard time believing them. So, I am taking on this huge challenge to prove to myself once and for all, that I really can do things. I really am an athlete. Why is it so difficult for me to believe? Well, let me give you a little background.
Eight to nine years ago I was not leading the healthiest life. I smoked. I drank. I partook in things which will not be mentioned for the sake of my mother. Let’s just say, it wasn’t a pretty life. So, for me to run anywhere there had to be someone behind me threatening my life; and even then the chance of me running very far was questionable. Running would just be too hard carrying near 200 pounds on my 5’4” frame. Then I got pregnant and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.
The endocrinologist I saw looked at my family medical history along with my lifestyle, looked at me very seriously and asked, “So, how old do you want your daughter to be when you die?” Harsh. I know. I cried. He was right. In the moment I thought he was a jerk, but now I wished I knew his name to say thank you. Those words changed my life forever.
I joined Weight Watchers when my daughter was three months old. I quickly took off 50 pounds by her first birthday. After this loss a friend asked me if I was interested in doing the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with her. I had started working out – doing yoga, walking and doing the occasional jog, so I said, “Sure. Why not?”
Fast forward about six years…last February I completed my fifth half marathon (and I can’t even count how many 10Ks, 5Ks, 12Ks…you get the point). I guess you could say I caught the bug. I am not a fast runner, but I am out there doing it. I still have moments when I think, “holy shit! I am running!”
So, how did I come to start training for a half-ironman distance triathlon? Well, be patient. I am getting there. A friend of mine has been on a cycling team to raise money for the National MS Society. She has asked me numerous times to join their team (Team Little Lissie) to which I have always replied, “I don’t ride bicycles. I don’t like bicycles.” Really. I don’t. I was in several bad bicycle accidents growing up (still have a chipped tooth to prove it) and they just make me nervous. But, she is kind of pushy and wouldn’t give up, so I finally said yes, really to get her to stop asking. (I will be doing my second ride with the team this September, but that is for another post entirely.)
I got a bike – it is a hybrid. Another friend suggested I get a hybrid since I was still a little nervous about riding. Um, I LOVE my bike. I LOVE riding a bicycle. I still get a little freaked on major down hills – brakes are my friends – but I am out there, cruising down the hills and keeping up with the people around me. I feel strong when I ride up hills and I feel exhilarated when I ride back down.
OK. OK. I am getting to the moment when this whole triathlon thing came about! You know the pushy friend that got me to join TLL? Well, she has this husband who sometimes says things out loud that I wish he wouldn’t cause then they get into my head. Well, we were sitting around one day and he said, “You know, since you already run and now you ride, all you have to do is swim and you could do a tri.” Stupid me said, “Sure. Why not?”
So, here I am, training for Barb’s Race – and all women half-ironman triathlon connected to the Vineman. In six VERY short weeks, I will be out there; doing my best to complete something that I never thought would be possible.
I welcome you to come along on my journey as I “tri” to make a difference in not only how others see me, but more importantly in how I see myself.