Skip to content

Leading By Example – Emily Ably

Emily Ably How It All Started Leading By Example Fund Her Tri Run Tri Bike
Emily Ably
Year started: 2020
Next race: September 18, 2022 / Kiel Raider Nation Triathlon / Kiel, WI
Favorite gear:

My Canyon Roadlite Bike

I’ve been a casual runner/walker for most of my life. I fit it in when I thought I had the time. I ran until I was tired and then walked. Then in May 2020 my husband was diagnosed with advanced cancer. This also happened to be the start of the pandemic. Suddenly, I was teaching from home, homeschooling my daughter, and caring for a sick partner. Add in the management of a schedule of surgeries and chemotherapy and my stress levels skyrocketed. I turned to running and biking for relief. With the stress of my husband’s illness and the demands of caretaking, I started to schedule time to run and bike.

A Gift To Myself

I began to view the time I spent cycling and running as a gift to myself. They became a short escape (rather than an obligation). I set goals for distance & time and felt strong and capable each time I’d accomplish one. Those positive feelings carried over into day-to-day life, giving me a much-needed boost when things felt especially unpredictable and hopeless.

Some people will ask why I added cycling. The truth is that, I began cycling to add variety and to explore more of the outdoors. Time in nature turned out to be just as important to me as the exercise itself. I sought comfort and peace of mind. With a bike, I could go further, which meant new roads and trails to discover.

My 10 year old daughter convinced me to take up swimming with her. I had a lot of fears when I started swimming, but lake creatures were top of the list for me! I was also concerned about having difficulty during the swim in an open water race. In fact, I chose SpaGirl in San Antonio, in large part because of the lazy river swim portion. I thought it would give me the best chance at a positive first triathlon. I have a successful race under my belt and feel empowered to continue racing. I’ll also add that I’m excited to try an open water race.

My First Triathlon

SpaGirl in 2022 was my first triathlon. I’d heard it was a fun, supportive atmosphere and found that to be very accurate. Also, this race is held on Mother’s Day weekend at a great resort. Being able to turn the event into a much-needed vacation was a bonus. I registered for the race about a year out. I wanted use it as motivation to keep training. It would also help me get through all of the treatment-related challenges ahead of me. Crossing the finish line with my husband and daughter waiting for me was truly an incredible experience. It is something that I’ll never forget.

I was incredibly fortunate to have my race sponsored by Fund Her Tri. Reading about another person’s first experience in triathlon is how I learned about Fund Her Tri. I wasn’t sure I could really do a tri so I was hesitant to reach out. However, I received nothing but encouragement, success stories, and helpful tips from the moment I got in touch with them. Lynn Mattix was so kind & responsive, and I really benefited from their Facebook page as I was training. The women in the group were leading by example and I was happy to follow.

This amazing group provided the encouragement and support I needed to conquer my first race as a new triathlete! I’m now signed up for the Kiel Raider Nation Triathlon in September in my home state (WI). This is also a sprint tri with a pool swim, but I’m racing WITH my daughter this time!

Leading By Example

One of the best things to come of my triathlon journey has been the influence it has had on my daughter, Claire. She identifies as a runner and swimmer now and has successfully completed a kids’ triathlon. We both love biking local trails together. I have no doubt she is the next triathlete. Her goal is to race the SpaGirl Tri when she’s 12. I can’t wait to see the role triathlon plays for both of us in the future. I appreciate that I am leading by example. Showing Claire and other females that we can race triathlon is rewarding.

Editor’s Note: If you’d like to support Fund Her Tri and women like Emily, Run Tri Bike is selling trucker hats with 20% of the proceeds going to fund scholarships with Fund Her Tri