So I belong to a Facebook group called Women For Tri and all summer they have been asking this question, why do you tri? I have not been able to answer the question, why DO I tri, what keeps me interested in this really difficult sport, I am not sure I have a good answer.
I was not an athletic kid, I was never good in sports and I was always one of the last picked in gym class. I always remember swimming, I remember swimming lessons from a young age and eventually ended up on a swim team as a teenager. I love swimming, I feel at peace in the water, I grew up near the ocean and as a Pisces the water is my home. I swam until I was 15 and then I stopped, suddenly and I never really started again until I started triathlons.
My first experience with Triathlon was the 2000 Sydney Olympics and watching Simon Whitfield win the gold medal for Canada. I was enthralled with the sport and decided on the spot that one day I would do one of those triathlon things. Here was the problem with that, I was overweight, unfit and financially stretched to the point that there was no money to start. I was in full Mommy mode, I had a 7 year old and a 4 year old, no job and no money to start.
Fast forward to 2009 when I fit rock bottom, I was really overweight, really unhealthy and really unhappy. The kids were older, I had a business and I had to make a change, NOW! I spent a year losing weight and getting fitter and at the end of the year, I walked a half marathon. I quickly realized losing the weight was one thing, keeping it off was something else. In Sept 2010 I started to run through our local Running Room with the 5K clinic. My goal was to eventually run 10K, the distance I needed to complete that Olympic distance triathlon.
Little did I know I was about to start on a journey that would take me far past my 10K goal, way outside my comfort zone and to a happier, healthy lifestyle. I spent a year doing 5k's, then a year doing 10k's and then my thoughts turned to triathlons. I bought a road bike and started cycling and I started swimming again, I really enjoyed the training. In 2012 I attempted my first sprint triathlon, it ended in a DNF (did not finish) but I was hooked and I signed up for a try-a-tri 4 weeks later, I was determined to finish this one. Between those 2 events I decided to do an Ironman triathlon for my 50th birthday in 2015.
Wait a minute here, the self described nonathletic person, definitely not a runner and still not a triathlete was setting a goal to do THE HARDEST RACE, an Ironman...what the heck was I thinking and what did you do with the old Allyson. What I saw that day was people who looked like me, not 0% body fat or who looked like super athletes doing this race. They were smiling and happy and confident and I am not sure what it was but I knew in that moment that I could do this one day, not today but one day. I told my husband and I am sure he thought I had finally gone crazy and I wrote it in my blog because once you write it down and make it public you can't back down. I am an Ironman wannabe
So now the day is almost here, IMMT is in a week and I am that person, the person who can do this, this happy, healthy, smiling person. I am not 0% body fat, far from it, I have junk in the trunk and a jelly belly that rolls in a less then flattering way over my water belt but I am doing it. I have done 4 half iron distance or Ironman 70.3 races and 4 marathons, 11 half marathons and countless 5 and 10K races. I now call myself a runner and triathlete, even an athlete at times and I believe it.
So back to that question, why do I tri
- I tri to stay healthy and fit;
- I tri because it makes me happy
- I tri because it allows me get outside my comfort zone and push myself further then I ever thought possible
- I TRI BECAUSE I CAN!
Triathlon and running have given me my life back, I am happier and healthier then I have ever been. I love sharing my love of triathlon and running with others, to inspire others to believe that anything is possible and that they can do it as well. Maybe next Sunday someone will be watching me set out on my second bike loop and realize that they too can do this one day. That is why I tri!