In 2006, frustrated by an injury that kept me from running, I turned my attention to swimming and biking. Staring at a black line and swimming lap after lap was not sufficient for my competitive spirit. I needed a goal - an athletic challenge harder than anything I had done before. And so, on an otherwise quiet October evening, I registered for Ironman 70.3 Florida.
Months and months of training followed as I built an endurance base and developed the ability to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles. I probably would have been wise to gain an introduction to the sport with a sprint or olympic distance race, but instead I jumped straight in the deep end. I'll never forget the bundle of nerves that filled my stomach on race morning. I may have been smiling for the camera, but I was seriously questioning what I was about to get myself into.
The physicality of the swim provided a shocking start, and I remember feeling as though I wanted to quit and grab onto one of the lifeguard's kayaks many times. Fortunately, I survived and was thrilled to step back onto dry land. The bike course meandered throughout central Florida and featured a few downpours to keep us cool on a summer day.
As I set out on the run, I had already been racing for longer than I had ever done before in training. The run was a three-loop course through the woods surrounding Disney's Wilderness Lodge. Those thirteen miles were the most painful I had ever run. Between the muddy trails, soaring heat, and my general lack of experience, I'm pretty sure I was repeatedly telling myself I'd never do this again.
Everything changed, however, as I crossed the finish line, six hours and thirty minutes after I set forth into the water. Any and all doubts and frustration disappeared and I was filled with excitement, pride, and a huge sense of accomplishment. All it took was one finish line and I knew right then that I had found my new sport!
2013 marks my sixth season as a triathlete, and I've certainly grown and gained a lot of experience in the sport over those years. I am still filled with nervous energy at the start of every swim, the bike always feels too long, and I'm completely in my element when it comes time to step off the bike and set off on the run. Aside from work, my life revolves around swimming, biking, and running, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The triathlon community is filled with amazing athletes and despite the huge number of us, it frequently feels as though you are racing with hundreds of your closest friends.
Earlier this year, I was approached with the opportunity to act as an ambassador for the Ramblin' Rose triathlon series. This event group, presented by Endurance Magazine, produces races with the goal of empowering and inspiring women and their families. The 2013 calendar features six events:
- South Charlotte Triathlon
May 5, 2013
- Raleigh Triathlon
May 19, 2013
- Rock Hill Triathlon
July 14, 2013
- Winston-Salem Triathlon
August 18, 2013
- Charlotte Triathlon
September 22, 2013
- Chapel Hill Triathlon
October 6, 2013
All triathlons are sprint distances, including a 250 yard pool swim, 9 mile bike, and 2 mile run. For a beginner, I couldn't think of a better introduction to the sport. Being a triathlete is something I am incredibly passionate about, and for that reason, I am excited to share my excitement and love for the sport with other women. I'll be racing the Ramblin' Rose Rock Hill Triathlon on July 14th, and I want to see you out there swimming, biking, and running as well.
Whether you are looking for a new athletic challenge, need something fun to spice up your workout routine, or simply want to spend a morning meeting a great new group of women, you should swing on over to Ramblin' Rose and sign up to join in on the fun! I'll see you on the race course in July!