Thursday, August 1, 2013

8:42 AM
1

As I mention in my "about me" page, one of the key things that I want to do with the MommyTasker blog is to open it up to the voices and perspectives of my friends who are remarkable people, doing remarkable things. As we all do, they have something unique to share about their experience of incorporating health, fitness, and enrichment into their personal, family and professional lives. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do.

Below is a guest post written by an amazing woman who I went to college with, although I didn't actually meet her there. She happens to be good friends with my brother, and the friend and co-worker of another good friend of mine. Through this small world of many affiliations, we have connected  in our passion for sport, the outdoors, and for providing positive role modeling for our children. As many of us do, she put herself second for several years while focusing on her small children. But then the fire inside started to burn.

What she has been able to accomplish within the last year, and within two years of the birth of her littlest one is truly amazing. Sometimes it is hard to imagine performing at your peak on multiple fronts - here is the perspective of a stellar quintathlete (mom, employee, swimmer, biker, runner) who has managed to not only do just that, but who has come away from the experience stronger and more grounded on many fronts. I am sure this is not the last we will hear from, or about her. Prepare to be inspired....

Super Mom
In a lot of ways, athletics have always defined me.  It might have started in the hot tub at a very young age where I learned how to swim.  Or perhaps it was just the simple association that developed in people’s minds when they would see me doing cartwheels on the sidelines while my dad coached high school football.  However it began, I have always had a passion for sports.

In high school I learned that I loved to compete.  I never committed to one sport and ultimately I ended up earning 14 varsity letters, a record I still hold at my school.  I tried running for a year in college, and after enduring one too many injuries and accepting that I was a little out of my league, I realized I was starting to lose that loving feeling.  I found the sport of triathlon through many months of rehabbing in the pool and on the exercise bike.  This became my thing.  

This year marked a milestone for me in many ways.  With my birthday on the horizon, I officially “aged up” to the 35-39 year old division for triathlons and running events.  I have stayed active over the years and squeezed in bouts of semi-consistent training to be able to continue racing, primarily for fun.  I am a mother of two amazing girls, ages 5 and 1 ½, and I work full-time from a remote home office for a healthcare company based in San Francisco.  As it does for most, finding balance becomes much more complicated with kids and your priorities shift.  It has become harder and harder to find pockets of time to carve out for myself, but moreover, the desire to do so has lessened because I find so much happiness doing family things and helping my girls develop their own love for outdoor activities and sports.  However, something happened at the start of the year when my youngest daughter turned 1 and started taking her first steps.  I realized that I wanted to challenge myself to commit to training at a higher level than I’d ever reached for before.  I needed this for myself mentally, to reclaim part of my lost identity as a competitive athlete, but perhaps more importantly, I wanted my older daughter to see mommy being active and healthy every day through some form of exercise and healthy eating.  I jumped head first into my own personal challenge, not really knowing where it would lead.

I committed to training harder than I ever had, both in terms of mileage and intensity.  With my husband’s support and encouragement, I enlisted the help of a coach who saw my potential and pushed me to achieve more than I could have on my own.  Most of my training has been fairly regimented.  I do some sort of swim/bike/run combo on specific days of the week and vary by workouts and distances based on where I’m at in my training cycle.  During the pre-race season, I would diligently drag myself out of bed to get a morning swim session in before the rest of the house came alive or I would become one with the bike trainer before dawn and catch up on CSI episodes streaming through my computer on Netflicks.  It hasn’t all been pretty though, and I have been known to multi-task by sneaking in a bike session on my trainer during a webinar or take a conference call from my car in the parking lot after tacking on one too many miles on my run in the foothills.  Occasionally when my work days were too jam-packed to squeeze in a lunchtime workout, I would even pull my girls in the bike trailer and attempt hill intervals to get the workouts in, which they found fun and entertaining to watch mommy struggle to turn over the bike pedals.  

Although some of my training was not exactly conventional, I was seeing results.  I raced three major Half Ironmans this year, placing 1st or 2nd in my age group at each event.  My finishes made me one of the top overall amateur racers, and I even finished faster than some of the professional athletes along the way.  The last eight months have been an unimaginable journey, beginning with my first day on the computrainer for a baseline fitness assessment and it will culminate with my participation at the 70.3 Ironman World Championship race in Las Vegas.  I set out hoping to provide a good example for my kids, as well as ignite my competitive streak that seemed to have smoldered over the last few years, however, it turned into much more than that.  This season I endured several low moments, including two bike crashes and some road rash, and I’ve celebrated many highs, but I think what I value the most is all the “stuff” that happened in between and the journey that I’ve shared with my family and friends.  This is how I feel I’ve truly aged up.

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1 comments:

  1. great post from an inspiring woman! and in triathlon the 35-39 age group is super competitive! and i'm starting to think i should put a bike trainer and TV in the garage. :)

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