If you had told me 6 years ago that I would be participating in triathlons, I would have laughed in your face. Then I would have called the local mental institution to have you committed. In my youth, I never liked exercise. Ever. I mean… I failed middle school PE! I know you’re asking, “how the heck do you fail PE?” You stand there and refuse to participate, that’s how. I was just so uncomfortable with myself, I couldn’t even try to play the sports.
I initially joined my triathlon team because of Turtle. Turtle had just died from brain cancer. I had met her 1.5 years before on an adventure trip for cancer survivors. She had just come to visit me a few months before she died. I didn’t even know she was terminal. She died, and here I was plugging along in full remission. I signed up for triathlon training because I could, my body was capable, and because Turtle could not.
Training was rough. I had panic attacks in the water and out. I cried in the pool more than I’d care to admit. I wanted to quit multiple times but didn’t because I had an amazing team and cancer made me stubborn. I made it through the first year and I didn’t drown...or die in a terrible biking accident or break a leg attempting to run (yes, these were all real concerns). I successfully made it through 2 triathlons that year and was hooked.
I signed up without the ability to swim a stroke, incapable of running 3 miles, terrified of my bike, and with a terrible fear of open water. I’ve come so far. This busted up body is capable of accomplishing things I never would have imagined. Triathlon is the first thing I’ve found in 35 years that makes me feel good about my body and myself. It’s made me stronger both physically and mentally.
It makes me happy.
It brings me joy.
I was meant to be here.