Six and half years ago, I was a couch potato. I was a great fan! I would cheer on the teams that I loved. I would support my husband and children in whatever endeavors they were interested in, but I never and I mean NEVER did anything physical. Then a friend said that she was going to do a half-marathon. I am just competitive enough that if she said that she was going to do it, then so was I! I called another friend to become my training partner. We ran that half-marathon. And I found out that I love to run! (By the way, I still hate the first two miles. Every time I run, every time, the first two miles I say that I hate running and have no idea why I am doing this!)
About a year in to our running adventures, my training partner said that she had always wanted to do a triathlon. Sure, I can do that! I had no idea totally what it meant, but sure! It was a sprint triathlon, which means it was short: 400 yard swim (in a pool), twelve mile ride, and 5k run. And it was raining! But we got out there and did it. I had ridden my bike 5 times. My husband had bought me a bike from Target. I finished the race. In case you do not know this, every race that you finish, run or triathlon, you get a medal! During the race a volunteer yelled to me to “finish strong!” I have never forgotten it and use that in my mantra for every race that I do.
My training partner, for many reasons, had to stop training with me, but my husband started. He decided that my bike was not good enough and got me another one. It made the ride portion of races much more fun.
About a year and a half ago, I started working with a personal trainer who was an Ironman. (This means that he had completed a race where he swam 2.4 miles, rode 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles for a total of 140.6 miles) After we had worked together for a while, he stated that I could do a half-Ironman. What a bizarre concept. But I thought about it and thought that perhaps I could. So I signed up for one. My husband once again decided that I needed a better bike.
I trained for a year for a half-Ironman. Two weeks ago was my race. I knew it was going to be hot so I let go of any illusions of a time that I wanted to complete the race in. I decided that I was just going to have fun. And I did. From the start where we swam 1.2 miles in the Russian River, I had a blast. The swim was beautiful! Then 56 miles on a bike. At times it was a challenge, but I really enjoyed talking with the other competitors. Finally on to a 13.1 mile run. I laughed and laughed throughout my whole adventure. Until I crossed the finish line and heard my name announced. I had done it! I had completed 70.3 miles in 7 hours and 28 minutes! I started to cry.
So here is the bottom line, I went from someone who probably couldn’t walk a mile to doing a half-Ironman! More importantly, if I can do it, so can you! There is nothing special about me. I was never an athlete as a child. But I am now. I have no special skills or gifts. I am not fast. I will never win any race. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You can do this! Sign up for a 5k! A mud run! A swim! Whatever is interesting to you. Just get started moving. You will become healthier and happier. And perhaps one day I will get an email from you stating “Six and half years ago I was a couch potato, but now I’m not!”