I seem like an unlikely candidate for an endurance sports junkie. I am admittedly slow, and I really like Netflix. It all began in June 2010, when I was hiking with friends, one of whom was my personal trainer at the time. She and her husband were doing a 5k that afternoon, and thought it would be fun if we joined them. I had no clue what a 5k entailed, as I think I knew 2 people who had ever done one, but this woman can convince me to do anything (even today at 2000 miles away), so I agreed.
It was a humid, hot West Virginia summer day, as most summer days in West Virginia go. I showed up dressed completely in cotton, no water, and no idea of what I was getting myself into. I pinned on my number, and joined my husband, my friend and her husband at the start line. I started out running, I mean I had never ran a day in my life except when I was being chased by a horse once, but how hard could it be? About 50 feet later I realized it was hard, and I wanted to croak. My friend stayed with me the entire time, and our husbands went ahead. I had made the comment at the beginning of the race that I just didn’t want to finish last, so an hour later as we approached the finish line, she shoved me ahead of her across the line. I was chaffed, I was tired, I was in disbelief–I was a 5k finisher.
I would do a couple of more 5k races in WV, through when we moved to Las Vegas in 2011. I regained 30-40 pounds (of the 120 I had lost) after the move– having gone from teaching fitness classes, and taking classes, several times a week, to trying new-to-us restaurants, and sitting on my butt. I don’t remember what prompted it, but I decided to register for a race to give me something to work towards, something I knew I would need to train for in order to finish. This became a lasting theme, and I went on to finish a couple of obstacle course mud runs, and lots of 5ks.
Shortly after we moved to Las Vegas, I watched the Rock n Roll Las Vegas Marathon and Half Marathon coverage on tv. I remember thinking to myself that I could never do that. About 7 months later, I was registered.
I met Tori and Mel of Fellow Flowers at the Rock n Roll Race Expo. I was pretty much a wreck, terrified I wasn’t going to finish the race, or that i wouldn’t make the cut off time, or, or or… These ladies were vendors at the expo, selling post cards with messages of inspiration, paired with large Gerber daisies of various colors – each with a coordinating message. I talked with for several minutes and we discussed my health transformation to that point, the race, and my fears. I walked to around to a few other vendor booths, and felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned, and there was one of the ladies (I can’t remember if it was Tori or Mel, sadly) holding their “Dreamer” flower. They said they had talked about it, and knew I had to have it; that was their gift to me. I crossed the finish line the following night, proudly wearing my white flower; I was officially a half-marathoner.Fast forward a few months. I was following Fellow Flowers on Facebook, and read a post about something they called Declare it Day, basically a day where you figure out a goal you want to accomplish, and put it out there to the universe…or at least social media. Around this same time, I had been toying with the idea of doing a triathlon. I knew i needed a new goal after finishing the half marathon, and wasn’t mentally able to fathom a full marathon. I remembered seeing an ad in a magazine for a women’s only event – the IronGirl Triathlon series. It seemed like fate, I printed out my Declare it Day paper, and filled that baby out. On October 26, 2013, I crossed the finish line, and became a triathlete.
I am not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. As I have mentioned before, my experiences are pretty much exclusively from the back of the pack, but I want others to see that endurance sports are for people of all shapes and sizes. I have done various endurance races including a 1 mile open water swim, 5k (30), 10k (5), 12k (3), half marathon (3), mud/obstacle course races (3), and sprint distance triathlon (2). I’m not sure what the future holds for me, or how far I’ll go, but I’ll see you at the finish line.
Disclaimer: Not all diet and fitness programs are suitable for everyone. The content of this blog does not substitute for medical advice. Please consult a medical professional prior to any changes in diet or exercise.