I remember the first one like it was yesterday. A mini sprint. The Danskin Triathlon in Walt Disney World. How cool does that sound? I love Disney, and had been thinking for awhile about trying a triathlon. I had just turned 40. I decided that mountain biking was just too hard on my body (I was never really that good and spent more time than I would like on the ground). So, why not? Let's combine a little weekend getaway with a triathlon.
So there I was. Standing on the beach in front of Disney World. Scared out of my mind. I think it took me about 30 minutes to set up my transition area. I was riding a borrowed bike and I walked down to the beach for the swim start with my shoes still on! Then, it's time. The gun goes off and I hit the water for my 400 yard swim, 10 mile bike and 2 mile run. 1 hour and 11 minutes later, I was hooked! Now, in 2013, I have five pages of race entries on my BT log.
Fast forward six years. It's 10:51:57pm in The Woodlands. I just crossed the line at Ironman Texas. Without a doubt, one of the most incredible things I have ever done in my life. Something I never, in a million years, thought I would or could do. Then, as I read so much about, the "post-Ironman let down" set in. I was not let down about the race, and considering I was figuring on a 16:59:59 finish, I could not have been happier about my performance. It was more of a "what do I do with myself now" feeling. No more 5am swims or six hour Saturday bike rides. I was "normal." I could do yard work and catch up on the hundreds of things around the house I did not do. Just to be clear, my husband (Doughboy here on BT) was the most incredible supportive partner anyone could ever ask for and never once did he have any issues with the amount of training time I was doing. But, I enjoyed being a regular person again. Maybe a little too much. For about six months, the bike sat in the garage and gathered dust. I never had to replace a pair of running shoes due to mileage and I could not even tell you where my swim gear was.
And I got FAT. But it was OK I was an Ironman. I was taking some time off. I just needed some down time. Did I mention I got FAT? I was going to start riding again, soon. Maybe next weekend. I was going to sign up for that half marathon I have been wanting to run. Maybe next weekend. I was going to find my swim gear. OK, now that is just funny. Did I mention I got FAT?
Nothing was working. Nothing was motivating me, except food apparently. I needed something. Hey, let's sign up for a full marathon! (BTW, like Ironman, something I said I would never do). So I signed up for the Livestrong Austin full in February 2012. And that got me moving. I ran a lot. Dealt with a few injuries but kept it up. Unfortunately, my eating habits did not change so I was still FAT. But, on February 19th, I started and finished my first full.
Running used to be what I enjoyed the least about triathlon, but suddenly it became all I wanted to do. So that's what I did. I ran. And ran. And ran. Every now and then I would take the bike out for a spin. I still had not located my swim gear. I added in weight lifting with a trainer and guess what? One day, I was not FAT anymore. And I was running way faster than I ever had. And I loved it!
But...I'm a triathlete. I'm an Ironman. I need to be swimming. I need to be biking. Long miles on the bike on Saturday mornings. I need the 5am visits to the gym to get all my laps and drills in. Right? I'm a triathlete. That's what triathletes do right?
Wrong. Even though I am not doing much by way of tri's right now, I am still a triathlete. To force myself to race because "I'm a triathlete" is not what it is all about. I've learned, through some pretty unfortunate events, that life is too short to not do what you love to do because of what others may think. Right now, I love to run. I'm a runner, but I will always be a triathlete. Nobody can ever take that away from me. Oh, and I did finally find my swim gear!
My husband, My family (as dysfunctional as they are), My friends, My puppy, Biking, Running and Swimming.