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My Spell Has Been Broken – Heather Sobel

My Spell Has Been Broken Heather Sobel How It All Started Run Tri Bike Magazine
Heather Sobel
Year started: 2016
Next race: May 22, 2022 / 70.3 Ironman Chattanooga / Chattanooga, TN
Favorite gear:

Running Visor

Where to begin! In 2015 after having just recently divorced at age 32 from someone I had thought I had known for over 12 years to realizing that I had no idea who they were, how they could have done what they did to me and through it all be so verbally abusive, my ego and trust tank was at almost zero by the end of it all. I was now an independent single lady going through the stresses of buying my first home for myself, owning all the bills, taking care of my two cats all while struggling with a fractured hip. While I was excited for my newfound independence it would be a lie to say it wasn’t tough. Sometimes you just want your mom or dad to be there to tell you in person, “it will all be okay.” but my family lived states away.

While I was gathering my life pieces and putting them back together, a friend decided to play matchmaker. Her husband’s single friend was very active and outgoing (as the same for me pre hip fracture.) Unfortunately, or fortunately, they found him unable to find someone that had the same interests. They decided to pair us up. I was beyond nervous since I hadn’t dated in 13 years. I was hobbling around due to my hip fracture, crutches, and all! Not exactly how you want to start a relationship. Fast forward to today and this man is now my husband.

How Did You Get Into Endurance Sports?

So, you are thinking, okay, but how did you get into the triathlon endurance sport! Well, so that man, now husband, was and still is an active age group triathlete. On date number 3 he asked me if I would like to go to watch him compete in a 70.3 in New Orleans. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. My ex-husband never traveled, and I always wanted to go to New Orleans. I immediately responded yes, without hesitation! I was in awe over the athletes, the spectators and their stories of their friend or loved one participating. Of course while I was there, I couldn’t help but look at myself thinking how I wish I could just run again.

So again, you are thinking, “okay, but how…” well it was from that event during our long car drive home I expressed how I missed working out. In my younger years, I was a gymnast and I ran. While I never did a race event because my ex thought that the idea of getting up early on a weekend day wasn’t appealing. After seeing this half ironman I began to understand why people raced. When we got back to our hometown, my now husband Brad began to motivate me. While I couldn’t run, I could swim and bike just along as I don’t fall! I took him up on this even though I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to walk again. That sounds a tad dramatic, but a fractured hip for many months makes your mind go crazy!

Brad Was There To Guide Me

Brad guided me through swimming and biking, going slow and being patient—he has the patience of an angel. He always told me, and still tells me, he is fine going my pace as he wants to have fun and have something we can do together. Fast forward to December 2015 when I was finally released to run again and fast forward some more to April 8th, 2016, my birthday. Brad entered me into a local sprint triathlon. That may seem crazy to some, but his message behind it was anything but that. He told me that this event was one that changed his life, and he wants me to see just how this can change my life. Brad mentioned that time isn’t everything and it is about completion not competition. Don’t worry about other, just compete for yourself and your goals. In a sense I felt he had tricked me. When I was injured, he got me to swim and bike so heck now I can do all three. The reality is that he created something that no one can ever take away from me, accomplishment and that I can.

That Sense Of Accomplishment

For the longest time from my divorce, I felt useless, I did not have any purpose, people were untrustworthy and cruel. All things that a verbally abusive and cheating significant other had placed on me. It was as if a spell was placed on me. After meeting Brad that thought process began to break. I was able to see my value to the world and through triathlon I found a network of others of all different levels and skills that are there for each other. Crossing that finish line in that first event opened my eyes to what I am capable of doing. I was able to pick up the pieces and buy a home. I had the ability to pay my bills on my own but the sense of accomplishment when crossing a finish line, no matter how long the distance still brings me to tears. It. reminds me that no matter what is thrown at me, if I put my mind to it I can do it.

Since that first event I have completed two half ironman’s and have more on my plate. Through it all, I know when I run across that finish line Brad will be there waiting. He will be cheering, smiling and ready to hug me. He will say “congratulations I am so proud of you.”

My spell has been broken.