How’d you get started in triathlon?
I signed up for 70.3 triathlon training at a BBSEF fundraising event having no idea what the 70.3 actually meant – it looked like a radio station number (not the distance I had to travel). I could not run a mile, I had never been on a skinny wheeled bike, and had never swam laps in a pool. Just like me to jump on into something without knowing exactly what I was getting into. When we had our first meeting, I tentatively raised my hand in hopes I could learn what the 70.3 was. Holy crap. I really have to swim a mile – are you kidding me. I have to bike how far???? And run a 1/2 marathon all in the same day. OMG – what have I jumped into and can I really do this?
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome w/ your new sport?
I would say the mental aspect. I am not a quitter by nature and we were starting our training in January. I did my best but really kicked it into gear when Michelle told us she would let us know in April if she thought we were ready or not. That was crack the whip moment where I stopped cheating on my workouts and was really motivated to stop swimming backwards, to run according to her plan and bike according to her plan. Swimming was the biggest obstacle for me – I mean – imagine what it feels like to swim backwards. Thank goodness for sweet spot! She also stressed the importance of visualizing yourself doing this, it was on our workout schedule – I had no idea how truly important that was until I started doing it!
What has been the greatest benefit of having a coach?
For me, the accountability and support. In addition to Michelle, it was not wanting to let the rest of our group down. We had a great group, I felt by the end of training, thanks to Michelle and all her support we were a close-knit group.
How has (have) the things you’ve learned in your sport translated over into your life? In other words, is there a crossover between the lessons you’ve learned in sport & in life?
There is absolutely a cross-over between starting at zero and being able to train enough to finish a 70.3 (that’s right I finished it!). Not only was it great for my self confidence, I was in great shape and felt like I could conquer the world – even if I came in last (I won a pair of shoes at the Quest for the Capitol for coming in last and was passed by a disabled man who was a true athlete). It taught me humility as well. This all came in really handy in 2015 when I was diagnosed with brain cancer. I had survived a 70.3, psh…brain cancer no problem. I used all of the lessons I learned from training for the 70.3. Confidence, my recent faith helped me here as I felt energized by the Holy Spirit. Fortitude, if you have ever gone through brain surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy you will understand the importance of fortitude. Humility, it was brain surgery – I felt ridiculously stupid for the first year. I was that disabled person now – what was I going to do with that – roll over and play the “woe is me line” or get back out there and kick butt just like the man who passed me in the Quest for the Capital race. Yep, you guessed it, kick butt.
Long story short, I remembered a lot about swimming but jumped at the chance to take swim lessons with Michelle. She breaks each component down, then pulls them all together so I can be the most efficient swimmer I can be. She is such a patient and encouraging coach. Michelle, I cannot thank you enough for believing in me. That is the biggest gift of all – your support.