I've been a competitive triathlete for the past 5 years. I did my first half at 24 years old (in the baby division) and now at 28, I wonder why I didn't start this sport any sooner in my life!
Sure, I've been an athlete for most of my life (swimmer at the age of 12) but the training for triathlons is completely different than the training for swimming (my specialty events were 100 breastroke, 200 butterfly and 200 IM).
In the 5 years of being a triathlete, I've learned so much about myself. I've learned how to overcome obstacles, how to better manage my time, how to become mentally and physically strong, how to overcome fears and how most of all, how much I LOVE the lifestyle of being a triathlete.
With the completion of 3 Ironman's (IMFL, Kona, IMKY), 5 Half Ironman distances (IMFL 70.3 and Rock N' Rollman), 3 Marathons, a handful of half marathons and lots of triathlons and running races, I've enjoyed every race and every experience. I feel lucky and blessed to have the discipline and desire to train for such an intense sport...and the body and mind that will "survive" the training. I've also been very fortunate to check a lot of experiences off of my bucket list (Ironman World Champs, Boston Marathon, 6-Gap GA cycling event w/ Karel, riding around Lake Tahoe w/ Karel). More than anything, I've learned so much about what I'm capable of and that nothing will stop me from participating in endurance events.
Throughout my 5-year career as an endurance athlete, I've experienced the many up and downs of pushing the body in an effort to maximize performance. Despite the struggles with finding the balance between pushing enough and pushing too hard, I've had a lot of fun and I absolutely love my life. Of course, if I wasn't competing in triathlons I would still "exercise" every day of my life (likely swimming, biking and running), but it sure helps to have something to train for on a daily basis. I could not be more excited to participate in my 4th Ironman (I get chills just thinking that I've done 3 Ironman's in the past 5 years!!) in Wisconsin and I'm so happy to have the support of my blog readers, friends, Karel (and Campy) and family.
Although crossing the finish line at a triathlon and running event can leave a person speechless and wanting more, I can't help but think to myself that every person who trains for an athletic event sacrifices a big part of his/her life in an effort to prepare the mind, body and soul for race day.
In the past 5 years of competing in triathlons, I met Karel, started my dietetic program, got engaged, moved to Jacksonville, found Campy, got married, , finished my dietetic program, found Madison, applied to internships, got rejecting to internships, applied again to internships, got accepted to internships and in 2 weeks...I start my dietetic internship!!!
My life is not unlike many others. There are stressful, exciting, fun and difficult times in life. So with the responsibilities of "life" one would wonder...how can a person balance of family, friends, work, extracurricular's, travel, healthy eating, relaxation and sleep all while training for an endurance event.
When I moved to Jacksonville, I found myself thinking of the past. How I use to train for my first IM, how I use to eat before I met Karel and how I use to spend my days before wanting to become a Registered Dietitian. Thinking like this for a good 6-8 months caused me great stress. A lot in my life had changed but I wanted to live in the past. I found myself sad, guilty and bothered that I wasn't being consistent with my eating and exercise routine.
After many months of self-talk and discussing things with Karel and my parents, I slowly found myself living in the now...not the past. I have a husband, a dog, 2 cats, a very expensive and time-consuming dietetic internship (which I am SO excited for!!) and lots of bills and responsibilities. I decided to stop thinking in the past and to start focusing on ways that I could make the most out of my training routine in an effort to find more balance in my life. Sadly, I couldn't just focus on my training. I also focused on developing a healthy relationship with food in an effort to be able to make the most out of my training and to ensure a lifetime of activity and good health.
I read a great article yesterday in Velo News that Karel passed along to me. I am very excited to share parts of it in my blog (tomorrow) because I think we can all take away bits and pieces of the article.
I have worked really hard in the past year - yes it took that long- (with Karel getting a lot of credit) to create balance in my life with sleep, family, Karel, my animals, school, work, healthy eating/planning and training. In my opinion, success in a sport is all about finding the best balance (every person is different) between training/exercising and living the rest of your life. I promise you, once you find that right balance, your exercise, training or triathlon performance will improve and you will find yourself at ease with your current life. Ultimately, knowing that you are not neglecting other important parts in your life, which will also keep you happy and healthy, is the best way to live in the moment and make the most out of your only life.
Finding the right balance between....
THE REWARDING TIMES
THE TOUGH TIMES
THE GOOD TIMES