In 2008, I began to document my journey to become a triathlete. A couch potato most of my life, I began cycling as a means to weight loss in 2006 and over that year, fell in love with biking, and lost 20 lbs. As my fitness level increased, I began to wonder if I could run, and in 2007, I ran my first 5K in 26:16!
That August, I was down in Penticton watching Ironman Canada and when I saw 80 year old Sister Madonna Buder cross the finish line, I was thought to myself, if she can do it, so can I. I finally stopped saying "I can't" and began to train for my first triathlon.
So in January 2008, I returned to the pool after a 35 years hiatus, took some lessons, and then practiced on my own three times a week with a goal of completing a sprint triathlon in August 2008. And I did it with great personal success! Meeting my time goal (1:30), coming in 4/11 in my age group, and exceeding my goal in the bike portion was tremendously fullfilling and made me finally realize – I AM an athlete! Who knew!
In January of 2009, I started the Kelownagurl Tris Podcast so that I could document my training trials and tribulations in audio format and hopefully inspire some of you to try something you never thought possible! I did 2 more sprint triathlons that year - the Oliver Sprint Tri in May and again, the Apple Sprint in August. I struggled with running injuries throughout the year, and in the fall, I met with a run coach, Rob Swan, who showed me how to land more on my mid-foot/forefoot instead of heel striking which was likely causing my constant shin splints.
I focussed on my running form all winter and then in 2010, I did 2 more sprint tris and my first half iron distance race in June. It was VERY challenging but that did not dissuade me. In the fall, I ran my first half marathon in Victoria and kept on running all winter, running the Okanagan College Half Marathon at the end of March, 2011. I also did two more sprints and took another, more successful shot at the Oliver Half Iron in June this year.
I'm now in my third year of podcasting, and I try to produce a show every two weeks. I love to get emails for listeners who are preparing for their first triathlon and I often read their race reports on the show. We all draw inspiration from one another and it's great to hear about other peoples' successes, as well as their challenges.
My current goal is to run a full marathon. I know I won't like be able to follow a typical training plan to get there - I'm going to have to listen carefully to my body and build my long runs slowly, taking plenty of recovery time and step back weeks as needed. My original goal was to do the Okanagan Half Marathon in October but now I've decided to give myself another month of training and try for a race on the first weekend of November. If I still don't feel ready, then I will maintain my running fitness throughout the winter and do a spring marathon instead. Baby steps, that's the way I roll.
Thanks so much for reading my blog, and/or listening to my podcast. And remember, as George Eliot said. "Its never too late to be who you might have been!"