TRI for Success

Success is not measured by what you accomplish, but by the opposition you have encountered, and the courage with which you have maintained the struggle against overwhelming odds. – Orison Swett Marden


We all face opposition to achieving our goals. If the road towards success were easy, everyone would have it, thereby making it not as sweet.


My road towards fitness has had many roadblocks, and I’m certain I’ll encounter many more challenges along the way.  Take for example the goal I set this summer to do a triathlon.


When I decided to do a triathlon I didn’t even know how to swim. I didn’t have a road bike, only a mountain bike with a baby seat strapped on the back.


I also have not had a successful history with sports. Being overweight my entire life, I was always picked last for team sports. As a chubby kid, I sat on the sidelines as my friends played softball. I begged my mom to write a note to excuse me from P.E. and the gym teacher let me walk laps while the other kids played basketball. In junior high, my mom’s note writing no longer worked, so I resorted to purposefully injuring myself so I could wear a wrist brace, excusing me from the embarrassment of playing volleyball.  I was an Honor Roll student, but the only D I received in my life was in P.E. class. Needless to say, my history with being active was severely lacking.


However, when my weight hit an all time high of 220 pounds, I knew I couldn’t achieve success through diet alone. I started slowly with walking, then running and taking classes. As I became more active, I discovered I loved to exercise. I began lifting weights, running more, taking Zumba, kickboxing, spinning and Cardio Funk.  I lost 80 pounds, I quit smoking and ran the Walt Disney World Marathon in January 2011.


With each new goal I achieved, I decided to raise the bar. I decided my next challenge was a Triathlon.


And a challenge it was.


Again, opposition popped up at every corner as I had encountered a flat tire on my first TRI and panic attack in the water at my second. I also realized that most bikers have expensive road bikes with narrow tires, light frames and aero bars. My bike….well, let’s just say it isn’t on par with the “real” road bikes.


I trained with a triathlon group at my local YMCA and realized that the most amazing part of a triathlon is the camadarie and spirit of your teammates. My fellow triathletes cheered me on when I felt low and reassured me that I could meet my goal. At the end of a long bike ride, in which I felt completely inferior to their superb biking strength, they boost my spirit. On my first bike ride with the group, they were so fast that they almost lapped me on our long ride, but the amazing program director stayed with my the entire time and cheered me on. The group didn’t even make fun of me (too much) when I got lost repeatedly on our bike rides and runs (yes, I got lost more than once.)


While the triathlon group had a doctor, real estate agent, banker, writer, communications professional and stay-at-home parent……on the road, we leave those titles behind and we are all one thing……triathletes.


The best part of training for a sport, is that you can leave all of your other titles behind. You don’t have to be a mom searching for a juice box in the back of your car, or a busy executive making a tough decision about meeting the budget or a sales person trying to convince a couple to buy a car… is just you and the road.


My third triathlon, Tri! Ballantyne, was a success. I took it slow in the water to avoid having a panic attack. I reserved energy on the bike and killed it on the run. I finished in 1 hour and 24 minutes and came in second in my category.


If you are thinking of doing a triathlon, I highly recommend you give TRI! Ballantyne a TRI in 2012. It was the most organized race I’ve done to date. The swim times were seeded and organized so well that the swimmers were not on top of each other, making it a much more relaxing experience. Volunteers were on every corner during the bike ride and running, ensuring direction challenged participants (ahem…yes, I’m speaking about myself) didn’t get lost. And the celebration after the race was a lot of fun! There was even a marriage proposal at the finish line!


On to the next challenge: Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon on November 12. I’m sure I will encounter obstacles along the way, but I’m ready to jump those hurdles.


What are your fitness goals? How do you overcome obstacles to achieve success? I’d love to hear from you!

4 thoughts on “TRI for Success

  1. Stacy,

    Thanks for sharing your experience. Dittos to everything you said about the people in the training group. I received a lot of support for the swim which was my fear and weakness. It still needs work.

    Only knowing you for the last couple months, I would never in my wildest dreams expected you to be the last one picked for a team, overweight, etc. You are an incredible athlete. I can’t keep up with you on the run. And if it weren’t for the bike you have, you would probably kill me there as well. (I do love the little bell on it though). We often talked after riding that we needed to take up a collection to buy you a better bike. If so, you would have probably come in first!

    Keep it up! You look great, you are a true athlete and you can do whatever you set your mind to do! Look forward to continuing the training and pushing each other to do better.

  2. Great job on your first Triathlons and you even placed! Wow!That is awesome! Our stories are somewhat similar except I did not lose 80 pounds, wow, that is quite an achievement! I used to be a smoker, lost 20 pounds after having twins, and started training for my first triathlon in 2007. To date I have done 10 triathons and have completed (2) 1/2 Ironmans and (2) 1/2 marathons and am signed up for my first marathon in Dec. My ultimate goal is to someday compete in the Kona, Hawaii Ironman. I overcome obstacles by helping others and by helping them to achieve their goals. Right now I am helping a woman who has lost over 70 pounds (she had gatric bypass surgery) now she is working towards her first Tri in Sept. Whenever I get down on myself I help her and see how hard she is working and this lifts me up. I am a goal oriented person and I always have a goal I’m working on. I am doing my first open ocean swim (gulp!) this Saturday. I am also back in school full time and working towards my degree. I want a career where I am helping others. Do you have a marathon training plan you are following? I am using Hal Higdon’s plan basically because it’s free. Good Luck at Thunder Road I have only done the 1/2 and I know there are a lot of hills! Thank you for your articles I always learn something new!

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