In January of 2021 I decided to level-up my fitness. Being a goal oriented person, I thought, “What’s the hardest thing I could possibly do?” I was going to prove to my 41-year-old self, that I could still take on new challenges. Well, that challenge was Triathlon, and let me tell you how many of my friends and family members thought I had lost my mind. You see, prior to that, I couldn’t run a mile without walking, I had never been on a road bike, and I had no formal swim training. I had a background in elite level sports, and I spent my childhood surfing, so I knew an athlete still existed somewhere inside me.
Time To Take On A New Challenge
During the COVID lockdown, my gym offered a free trial of an at-home workout fitness program that I could do via my phone. It’s called @FutureFitApp, and they paired me up with a certified trainer (Yes, a real human!) who meshed with my health and fitness goals. I figured, why not give it a try!? It was one of the best decisions I ever made. I had a knowledgeable person in my corner, training me one-on-one, holding me accountable for my workouts, sleep, nutrition, and stress levels. My husband’s experience on a collegiate cycling team, and his training ever since, gave me an added advantage. I knew I could lean on him and my coach, Shane Mikesky, for advice. I worked out my triathlon training plan with my new coach, and the journey began.
As anyone who takes on this sport knows, it’s a lot of work and a pretty significant time commitment. But with the support of my family and my coach, we made the training work. I was putting in more and more miles, and hitting lots of milestones with my runs. My cycling got better because I built strength on an old, super-heavy mountain bike. It was all I had. I got used to open water swims, which as it turns out, are very different from any swimming you might do in a pool, or even surfing, for that matter.
First Year Lessons
The first year had a lot of bumps, a lot of trials, and a lot of laughs…. I experienced the gamut with the three sports:
- Dog bites while running
- Jellyfish stings in the ocean
- Near-miss car collisions on the bike
- A pretty intense situation with a homeless person on one of my runs!
- Also, nobody tells you how glamorous you’ll feel in Tri gear. 😀
Each experience taught me a valuable lesson and showed me that I was strong enough to keep going. More and more I began to believe that I could actually do this thing. When those hard days came, as they inevitably do, I had an incredible husband and coach to remind me just how far I had come by never giving up. By the end of the season, I had completed two races. The first race was a Sprint and the second an Olympic distance race. In my inaugural sprint race, I was within 4 minutes of first place . I won my age group in the Olympic distance race. What a year!
All of this taught me that if you’re willing to put in the work, and if you surround yourself with the right support system, you really can do anything. That includes getting started running and triathlons. And yes, even in your 40’s or 50’s! Just never give up. Oh, and eat the carbs. They’re magic!