I’m an Iron Girl!

So, it’s been a while since I last blogged. I just wasn’t sure what to talk about, But I recently realized that putting my thoughts down in words is soothing and enlightening. I’m going to try and do it more often although it may still be sporadic..
Here’s a recent article I wrote about my experience  completing my first ever Triathlon!! It was originally posted on my stations website, here

 

I am an Iron Girl!!!

This past Sunday, August 19th, I raced in the Athleta Iron Girl Triathlon in Columbia, Md. joining 2400 women, swimming, biking, running through Howard County. This was my first ever triathlon, but more importantly, it’s my first since beating breast cancer 3 years ago.

Three months ago, I embarked on what has become a life changing adventure. I had never done anything of the sort, I think the furthest race I had run before was a 5K. My goal was to simply finish the race, not come in last or embarrass myself! I thought this accomplishment would just be something I checked off my bucket list. It turned out to be so much more.

I got up bright and early Sunday, around 4 a.m., proudly put on my Yellow and Blue tri-suit, and drove the hour to Centennial Park to join my fellow Team Fight teammates.

 

Team Fight is a program that raises funds for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. We are a motivated group of people of all ages and abilities training to support young adults and their loved ones affected by cancer.

At the Iron Girl, Team Fight was the largest charity group competing. All of us were racing in honor of someone else.

At 6:30 a.m., before the race began we all participated in a dedication circle. Picture this: 100 plus people, standing in a circle on top of a hill, holding hands, with the sun rising behind us. It was a beautiful sight to see. Every one that spoke that morning honored more than one person, magnifying just how far cancer’s roots have spread.

 

 

 

It’s hard to explain how I was feeling before the race (Granted, I had a lot of time to psych myself out. I stood around for an hour before my group was called to the starting line). There were definitely some nerves, but more than anything I was excited.

I feel like I rocked the swim portion — 0.6 Miles in Centennial Lake in just over 24 minutes. Next, was the bike — 18 miles through a very hilly Howard County. Now, I know a triathlon is considered an individual sport, but I have never felt more part of a TEAM than I did out on the course. Every time I passed a rider wearing the same outfit as me, she would yell “Go, Team Fight!” Same goes for the 3.3 miles I ran after that!

 

 

I didn’t know any of those ladies personally, but that day they were my motivation. They were my teammates. They kept me going.

As I came around the final turn, heading down the home stretch, the trail was lined with people, many of them wearing Yellow and Blue, all of them cheering me on towards the finish line. It was then that I realized what I was about to accomplish. Honestly, I never thought this was something I would do, I never thought this was something I could do.

But there I was crossing the finish line with my arms in the air. “Kristen Berset, You are an Iron Girl!” blaring from the speakers. I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. I had done it!

 

My official time is 2:28:43! But it’s not those numbers that matter; it’s the person I’ve become because of it. These last few days, I’ve been smiling more (and hobbling a bit more on two sore legs). I’ve been walking around with my head held higher. This event did exactly what they advertised. I feel empowered! Empowered to work harder (oh yeah, I had to work my full shift that night too!), live healthier, and strive to become the best I can be!

But it’s not just what I did, it’s what I saw that made this weekend so special. Jessica, a member of team fight, who just underwent a liver transplant a year and a half ago, was the final leg of a relay, walking the 3.3 miles. We waited for her to make the final turn, and as she walked towards the finish line at least ten other Team Fight participants got behind Jessica, cheered her on and followed her across the finish line. It was emotional and inspirational. The perfect way to end the day!

 

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