Starting Over - Returning to Triathlon

author : rautorino
comments : 0

Does it matter how fast you go? Does it matter if you win? No. It only matters that you tri your best and smile when you cross the finish line.

I am starting over...in triathlon. In 1999, I started doing tris. My mom was Hawaii Ironman record holder for age groups and I wanted to train with her. For 5 years, I trained, raced, devoured everything tri. I raced several times each year and climbed up the ladder to finally winning my age group in a few races, it was an awesome feeling to win, but mostly just incredible to cross the finish line.

When my mom won her last Ironman Hawaii in the 70-74 category, I knew that was where I was headed. In November of 2003, I waited impatiently for the website to open for Ironman Florida signups. As soon as they were online, I filled out my form, I was in! One month later, after a routine doctor's visit, my blood tests showed positive for hepatitis C, a 'gift' from an injection in boot camp some 20 years ago. My world was rocked. I have never been a drug user, drinker, or nutritionally abusive to my body. I was in great shape due to the tri training and my past history of dance, aerobics, bodybuilding and running. The treatment for hep C was a 48 week course with chemo type drugs. I started in mid-February of 2004. One month later, I pulled out of Ironman Florida. I knew there was no way I would be able to keep up the intensity.

By the time I finished treatment (Jan. 31st 2005), I was 30 pounds lighter, my red and white blood cells were close to nonexistent, and I was sick and tired of being sick and tired! During treatment, I didn't work out the same but I did workout. I walked on a treadmill, ran little bits when I could at a much slower pace, lifted weights lightly and ran in the water. I couldn't swim because having my face in chlorine caused extreme nasea.

On February 1st, I started my tri life over. Today, 3 weeks after treatment, I am running up to 5 miles (very slowly but I felt like a marathon winner when I completed the 5 this past weekend!), swimming up to 1500 yards ( I am going to a Total Immersion clinic soon to correct my stroke), and biking with either a Troy Jacobson Tape or my compu-trainer. I do each sport up to 3x per week.

Triathlon gave me the courage, endurance and determination to make it through the 48 week treatment plan. Yes I have to start all over again, but its with new appreciation of my body, and what it can do with enough desire. I am not a fast triathlete, but I am determined. Will I make it to an Ironman? You bet, and hopefully, one day to end up in Hawaii following my mom's path of Ironman greatness.

Does it matter how fast you go?  Does it matter if you win?  No.  It only matters that you tri your best and smile when you cross the finish line.
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date: February 28, 2005

rautorino