This week it was announced that I am among 5 other bloggers chosen to write about our journey to the BMO Vancouver Marathon in May. Exciting stuff! What is even more exciting is that I actively started to use Twitter. (@AthenaTri) That’s right, I’m “tweeting” people. Call me a total newbie, but when I got the email that said, “Matthew Russell, Pro Triathlete, Coach and Ironman Canada Champion is now following you on Twitter,” I squealed with delight. (And I ain’t afraid to say it…!) Oh the pressure to be witty and amazing in 140 characters surrounded by @ symbols and hashtags!!
Anyway, it has opened up a whole new world for me. As soon as I think my triathlon or blogging experience is going to end (for example finishing my 2012 blogging for the TeamLUNAChix.com website), something amazing like that happens and kicks me back into high gear. I am thankful. Being chosen as a blogger, for me, is a huge honor. It gives me the opportunity to share my ups and downs — and gives purpose and focus to my workouts. Blogging in general has given me a voice. One that a completely shy girl usually doesn’t get to express.
With that said, I think it is important for me to backtrack and tell a little bit about myself to this new community of followers! I lived in Chicago and Northwest Indiana for most of my life and did a small stint in Texas before moving to the beautiful Pacific Northwest in 1992. My small family is spread out. Two brothers in Texas and my Mom, step-Dad and sister in Arizona. Seattle is my home. I have been married to my husband, Jim, for 17 years and we have two really great kids who are in middle and high school. (Not to say that occasionally life is not stressful or offers challenges that make me want to pull the covers over my head… but all-in-all… I am blessed.)
Somewhere around 40, I decided to flip a switch. I decided to live life on the positive side…regardless of what I was “dealt”. It took me nearly that long to realize that their were some things in life I could not change. Ever. (Not that I could or would ignore adversity in my life or pretend it didn’t exist, but that I could choose to keep moving forward in spite of it.) Whatever it was… to “find the good” and to really take care of myself. And so I got a little crazy. Bought a road bike. (I put on spandex!) Cycled all over Washington State and even cycled from Seattle to Vancouver B.C. I was active, accomplished things I never thought I could, and felt amazing for the first time in a long time.
After my second year cycling from Seattle to Vancouver, a friend suggested that my husband and I give triathlon a try. (Hey more spandex!) Swim, Bike, Run. What a challenge! My love of swimming was rekindled and then I realized I needed to be a runner. And so I started slow and steady, got excited, got discouraged, but kept moving forward. My metaphor for life…. keep moving forward.
I’m slow. Especially at running, I rock a 12+ minute mile. I have been at races where they were folding up the tables when I was crossing the finish line. I’m amazed and revere the fast runners — the ones that make it look effortless, but I also know that there is equally as much fun and accomplishment to be had at the back of the pack. If you’re working hard, no matter how fast or slow you are, if you have a goal in your sights….I’m your biggest cheerleader.
When everyone was going super fast I realized something. Endurance was my thing. I wasn’t getting there in record time, but when others were done or burned out… I could keep going. And so I skipped from Sprint triathlons right to a 70.3 half Ironman race. “I want to do that! I want to accomplish that!,” I thought. My first 70.3 race in Lake Stevens, Washington was a beast. Hills plus an unusual 95 degree day in Seattle was torture. My time was over 8 hours. I needed redemption. And so I signed up for my second 70.3 half Ironman race in Texas with my siblings… and I kicked butt. I probably thought “I’ll never do that again”, and then after returning to Seattle, started to look up options for my next race. Triathlon is addicting that way.
Running my first full Marathon is a part of my journey toward a full Ironman someday. I’m running a marathon because I want to be able to know I can do the distance before I string that swim, bike and run all together. People ask me if I’m a runner. I’m not really a runner. My sister is a runner. I’m a triathlete who runs. Or so I thought. Until I was brought into this amazing community of the BMO Vancouver Marathon and looked forward to my next run so I could tell you about it.
And so BMO Vancouver Marathon… I already love you. Thanks for sharing the journey with me.