Last August I competed in my first ever Triathlon, Iron Girl in Columbia, MD.
It was a Sprint Tri, but my first foray into endurance sports, and my first big ANYTHING since being diagnosed with Breast Cancer!It was a truly emotional and empowering moment.
Well, after that, I was on such a runner’s high I decided to step it up a notch.
So I signed up for the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, FL, along with my Fiancé, Mike and my brother, Derek.
This was the 30th anniversary of the St. Anthony’s Triathlon. More than 3,500 athletes from 44 states and nearly 23 countries competed, including Former Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward. Growing up in St. Pete, I would see the Cyclists go by our house every year. So I figured this hometown race was the best pick for my very first one!
Now, to be completely honest. I didn’t train for this race nearly as much as I would have liked. My personal trainer, Aaron Gamble at Sport and Health, did all he could to get me ready. Of course, I had every excuse in the book, from a Busy Schedule to just pure lack of motivation, but there was no way I was going to back out. I agreed to do it, so I was definitely going to follow through.
Once again I was proud to wear the Yellow and Blue, representing Team fight and the Ulman Cancer Fund, which is based in Baltimore
Race Day was extremely memorable. First off, one of my best friends from high school, Whitney, who I had lost touch with over the years, was in the same swim wave as me. So we were able to start the race together.
Whitney passed me even before we got to our Bikes.. But I saw her several times throughout the course and she cheered me on every time. It helped give me an extra push! Thank you Whitney!
My Brother, Derek, went off in the wave right before me. So when I got to the transition area to begin the Bike leg, he was still there waiting for me.
Derek and I left transition together and completed the entire race together. I don’t know what I would have done without him there. We were able to motivate each other, push each other.
The best part was we crossed the Finish Line together! Tears welled up in my eyes as we began running through the tunnel, with folks I didn’t even know cheering us on. We accomplished something neither of us thought would ever happen (and something I bet my parents never thought they would see!!)
Even better, was the support we got throughout the race. My Fiancé, Mike, started an hour before me, so he was already done when we began the run. He was there cheering us on coming out of transition, and even joined us for the final 3 miles of the run!
My Brother’s girlfriend, Melissa, my parents, and some of our childhood friends were there, holding signs, clapping and yelling encouragements throughout the race. It truly meant a lot to all 3 of us that they all got up bright and early to show their support!
I even found a sorority sister of mine out on the bike course. Liz was volunteering to make sure we were all safe.
I finished in about 3 hours and 31 minutes. I wasn’t racing for time, I just wanted to finish!
Once again though, I underestimated myself(I tend to do that).I thought it would take me at least 5 hours to complete the race. I just started biking last year, I hate running with a passion, but somehow, out there on that course, sharing that moment with my loved ones, all my fears and worries went away.
Although I’ve been Cancer free now for 4 years, I’m still discovering every day what it taught me.
Courage, Strength, Love, Perseverance and I know there’s much more to come!