My State of Grace
I guess you could say that triathlons run in my blood. Or at the very least, a quiet competitiveness and the desire to push myself to the limit. My mom is an avid triathlete, qualifying herself for two Hawaii Ironmans when I was a kid. I knew there was a chance that I could follow in her foot steps. As a child, I thought that triathletes were more like robots than humans and that there was no POSSIBLE way I could ever do a triathlon. I was fine being the cheerleader. My memories of those two trips to Kona were not much about the race, but rather one year being there over my birthday and the drama of my dad missing his flight the next trip. To an 11-year-old that is quite traumatic! Twenty years later, my super stud of a mom went back for a third time at the age of 55. And this time it was more than just a ticket to paradise. This time, I couldn’t get enough of the energy in Kona in the days leading up to the race, and I had a whole new respect for every athlete that was there. I was in awe. I told myself, “I want to do this.”
As the mom of a two-year-old and knowing I wanted a second baby, I wasn’t sure if I could integrate the triathlete lifestyle into mine. I knew the sacrifice it would take, and my family had to remain my top priority. In the summer of 2011, almost a year after that Hawaii trip, I was in fact 6 months pregnant with baby Grace. Maybe this explains why my excitement to get started got the best of me – my hormone levels were high!!
Sitting on the couch one day, I thought that training for triathlons would be a great post-baby exercise routine, so I was going to start planning for it now! Since I knew nothing about it, I wanted to find a coach who could guide me through this very complex sport. I happened to find the website of Matt Dixon and Purplepatch Fitness, and I knew that I had found the right fit for me. All of the athletes that I read about seemed to share the same message, that Matt integrates his athletes’ training into their already busy lives and they are successful. I eagerly e-mailed Matt and told him that I was six months pregnant, I had never done a triathlon before and I didn’t own a bike, but that I would be ready to go 8 weeks after I had Grace. Sounds crazy, right? Probably thinking the same thing, Matt kindly responded with “congratulations on the baby” and to get back in touch with him when I was ready to start. So I did. In January 2012, 8 weeks after giving birth to Grace on Halloween morning, I committed to six months of training with Matt and Purplepatch to see how I would like it.
I haven’t looked back since then. Joining the Purplepatch community is really what has made this experience so fun and rewarding for me. Surrounding myself with people who share the same passion as me and who want the same thing- to be the best they can be- is what motivates me to continue this journey. I truly believe that one of the keys to success in reaching your goals is finding a community of people who will encourage you, educate you and inspire you. For me, I couldn’t do this day in and day out alone. Which is why some people call me crazy for waking up at 4:30 a.m. and driving an hour just so I can workout with the Purplepatch team! I’ve found what, and who, pushes me to do more than I thought I could.
The plan for my first year was to do some Olympic distance races and MAYBE a half Ironman if I could survive the shorter ones. After winning a few local races and gaining a bit of confidence, I signed up for Austin 70.3 in October 2012 to see how I would do at this longer distance and how I would measure up against the “big dogs.”:) That race was an experience I will never forget! I raced with my mom, who placed third in her age group, and I was cheered on by my own two kids. It was awesome! And to top it off, I raced my way to first overall female amateur and was pretty darn proud of myself!
I was filled with emotion when I crossed the finish line, feeling like I had come full circle and gained a whole new perspective on the sport. I had watched so many of these races as a kid, but never understood the motivation and commitment it took to just finish one. And I certainly couldn’t appreciate the sacrifice, dedication and mental toughness my mom had, and still has! Or truly know what it was like to follow my passion and the joy I could get from doing just that.
After Austin, I knew my journey was just beginning. The journey is not just about trying to become a professional triathlete, but also about pursuing my passion as an individual, and becoming a stronger, more well rounded woman. For me, the sport of triathlon is where I have found my State of Grace. It takes me to a happy place of work and play, and has allowed me to find the balance of being a wife and mom, while maintaining my individuality.