My journey started at Repsol in January of 2016 and I was 226 lbs. What brought me to Repsol is unusual. I was out of town, in my hotel room, flicking through channels when I came across a broadcast of the Kona Ironman event. I was in awe of regular people who were crossing the finish line after a 17-hour race! I watched the whole thing and when it was over I was inspired. I wondered if maybe I could do something like that one day. Even half the distance would be an amazing goal. It was such a crazy idea, but what if I could? During the summer of 2015 I decided to try a tri-it, and sprint distance triathlon. With how physically difficult at the time these distances were to me, I just could not imagine how I could finish a longer distance. I felt slow and out of shape. I decided to make a change, and as a New Year’s resolution I joined the gym.
With my new goal, I entered my new gym with new anxiety. I had no idea what to do with myself! So at that moment I decided to keep my goal a secret for now. I decided that I had to start somewhere. I perused the gym website and found a listing of different group exercise classes. I thought, why don’t I try one of these cycle classes? It might get my legs moving again. I signed up for my first cycle lights class and I loved it. I was hooked. I started going to a few more classes, and by the summer, I was taking more cycle lights classes, running on the treadmills, and cycling on the machines. It allowed me to be in better shape to train outside during the summer. When the fall came I realized that I had lost about 10 lbs. My body felt stronger, and I thought that if I really put the effort in, I just might be able to reach that crazy goal I thought of long ago….Without anyone else knowing, I booked my Ironman 70.3 for the next year. In that moment I decided to commit to an even bigger change. No matter how slow, and no matter how ugly, I was going to do it somehow. After a long negotiation with my body and my fridge, I concluded that I had to spend more time at the gym and eat right. I decided to change to a plant based diet, and after some helpful tips from the gym’s nutritionist, I felt like I was on the right track. Most, if not all the free time I had was devoted to going to the gym to train myself, swimming laps in the pool, and of course going to those cycle lights classes.
By the spring of 2017 I was feeling much stronger. I decided to sign up for a few shorter distance triathlons just before my Ironman 70.3 (which was still a secret to most) to see how my self training was going. I found myself joining a 30-day cycle/yoga challenge at the gym. At this point I had not tried a yoga class, and so I did. Yoga classes felt amazing! My tight muscles were getting what they sorely needed. During the challenge I tried every type of yoga class. With all the of classes I was joining, and the training I was doing on my own at the gym, I found that I was never bored. On top of that, I was now 50 lbs lighter. The icing on the cake was finding out that I won 2nd prize in the challenge! Enclosed in the prize package was a gift certificate which allowed me to pick up my first tri suit. I was looking forward to what could happen next.
I started June 2017 off with a sprint distance. I finished it and it felt good! I felt confident coming into my next race which was an Olympic distance. It would be my first open water triathlon. I thought that an open water swim should be just like a pool swim sans the walls, right? I was wrong. I panicked, and I was the very last person to finish the swim…the very last one. I was crushed. I felt discouraged, and embarrassed. You name it, I felt it all at once. I got out of the water though, and I finished the race. I was one of the last ones to cross the finish line, but it was important to me that I did not bail out. I had to finish it. My new found anxiety pushed me to seek swim coaching for the first time only weeks before my Ironman 70.3. I was contemplating on not showing up for my big race. My feelings of discouragement quickly morphed into blazing fear. Over those few weeks I learned that swimming with a group, and being coached was an excellent way to get over my fear. However, to be honest with whomever is reading this, I was still too terrified to tell anyone that I was just about to participate in an Ironman 70.3. I mean, what if I chickened out?
July 23rd, 2017. I came dressed to run a race, and to accomplish my goal. I finished an Ironman 70.3 that day. I finished MY race. My secret goal became a reality. It was one of the most terrifying days of my life as it was also one of the most amazing.
As of this November of 2017, I am now 64 lbs lighter, and my goal is to finish a longer distance triathlon next year. The Repsol Sport Centre has been an integral part in reaching my goal this year. I am now ready to commit to an even bigger change. I have just recently joined the 3433 Triathlon Club as I feel that training with other like-minded people, and coaches, will help me achieve greater things. Although I am not the fastest or strongest by far, I am certainly willing to put in the effort. I may feel intimidated, but I have a goal I want to reach, and no matter how slow or ugly, I’m going to do it somehow.
On days I want to try something new I feel that I am never without an option. I have recently tried boxing bootcamp, and adrenaline, and I love it. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has felt intimidated at the gym, and to them I’d say to keep at it even when things are not going right. Failing is normal. Mistakes are normal. Change takes time, but it will happen. No matter how slow this process may be for me, I know I have the capacity to overcome what lies ahead. But of course, all of this is just a secret between you and me.