I’m not sure how I landed on Meredith A.'s blog, Swim Bike Mom, but I’m so glad I did. This 32-year-old attorney and mother of two, who lives in Lawrenceville, Georgia, just finished her first half-Ironman triathlon in Miami. I loved her honest and inspiring race report. One snippet:
As I "ran" to transition from swim to bike, I felt like the crowd of people was judging me. I might as well have been naked. I felt huge and seriously out of place.
In that moment, I had a decision to make.
Was I going to spend the rest of the race looking down? Thinking I didn't belong? And why? Because (to quote Bridget Jones) "I can't ski, I can't ride, I can't speak Latin, my legs only come up to here and yes.... I will always be just a little bit fat"?
No. I wasn't going to do it. I held my salty head up, and made it alive into transition.
Love that: she's a mom, she's a triathlete, she's a decider. Here she is.
Best recent run: 13.1 before my big race. I did it on the Silver Comet Trail at an 11:54 pace. That was it. I’m a horrific runner.
Half of an Ironwoman: I have no idea how I got myself into the race [1.2 mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run]. A year ago I thought I’d be lucky to finish a sprint triathlon. Then I did that. So I said, well, I’ll do an Olympic distance. After that, the half-Ironman felt so impossible that I registered for it, almost as a double dare. Six months after my first Olympic distance, I finished it.
Hear her roar: In a local race, there are all shapes and sizes. But at the half-Ironman, I didn’t see that at all. There were three of us Athena-types at the race (that I saw anyway). Three. I was dumbfounded. But I reminded myself, I had put in the same work. I may have been a “little bit fat,” but my little bit fat butt had worked just as hard, and I had earned my place in that race. That’s important to remember: be okay in your own head. At the end of the day, the race may be full of people, but the fight is against yourself.
Iron Maiden: I was into basketball and volleyball in middle school. My coach would gently grab us kids by our arms and move us all over the court, teaching us screens and plays in basketball. Every time he grabbed me, I didn’t move. I was like a boulder. He laughed and hooked me up with the Savannah weightlifting coach, Michael Cohen. Before I knew it, I had dropped all school sports and was training two hours a day in Olympic weightlifting. I won Junior Nationals in 1995, and placed 7th overall in the Junior World Championships in 1997. My best lift was 105 kg clean & jerk (231 lbs), 97.5kg (214 lbs) snatch and a 140kg back squat (308 lbs.). I hung up the sport in 2000, but I was able to walk into any gym, anywhere and lift about 150 pounds on a whim for years after that. I tried to backsquat 120 pounds about a year ago, and I almost died. All of my former weightlifting “prowess” is long gone.
Fave quote from her Good Stuff page: "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me." —Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead
Keeping it real: I struggle, and I am clear about that in my writing. As a working mom and triathlete, I often want to huddle in a corner and weep. That’s the truth. I have a great (excellent, super, amazing) husband, happy and healthy kids, but 90% of the time, I think I’m losing my mind. Working, mothering, laundry, all of it: it’s so hard. I think women swallow the troubles and act like they are beautiful, strong and important—and we are. But really, most of us are struggling, beautiful, strong and important. I learned quickly that I am very less “Mommy Dearest” and more “June Cleaver” when I’ve run seven miles before the sun’s come up. I will never be a full June Cleaver, but maybe I can pull off some pearls and bake a loaf of bread.
Next goal: It’s hard for me to put this out there. I did Miami in 7 hours, 15 minutes. My next goal is New Orleans 70.3 in 6 hours, 30 minutes, which is a huge reduction, but I believe I can. The super scary goal: a full 140.6. I have my crazy eyes on Ironman Florida 2013, for my 33rd birthday. Eeeek.