Wednesday, October 27, 2010

How Did I Get Here?

An online friend of mine who will be doing Ironman Cozumel too just wrote a "How Did I Get Here" post, I thought it was a pretty cool idea- so I'm stealing it! Thanks Hassan! He also said "This is a moment I will NEVER (this is one of very few times I CAN say NEVER!) have again. I will NEVER again be 4 weeks out from my FIRST Ironman." WOW! 4 weeks!?!?! Deep Breaths!

So, how did I get here? I was never an athlete, as a young adult, I always worked out just enough to not get too overweight, I was an overweight kid and didn't want to be there again. In 2002 I was finishing grad school and had just started my first "real" job at Duckworth-Cole, Inc. I wasn't walking all over campus anymore or swimming at the A&M rec center. I needed to do something to stay in reasonable shape, so I joined Aerofit gym and started swimming a couple mornings a week. My swims coincided with the triathlon group's swims. They were all really nice (and REALLY fit) and kept trying to talk me into swimming with them. Finally I gave in and told them "ok I'll work out with you, but I'm never (that's right I said NEVER- Ha!) going to do a triathlon, that's just crazy!" I started swimming with them, then doing a few spin classes and eventually a little running. I held to my "I'm never going to do a triathlon" thinking for months, honestly I was afraid. My go to excuse became "I don't have a bike" I must have used it a few too many times, because that year for Christmas Jeff got me a bike! I didn't know whether to be happy or scared! I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was 16 or 17 and I had never ridden a bike like that! I had to learn how to shift all those gears and use the brakes (I had only ridden bikes with coaster brakes!). I had no excuses anymore and everyone in the triathlon group assumed I would do a triathlon that spring. YIKES!My first road bike, a Specialized Allez

The first ever Brazos Valley Triathlon was on April 6, 2003. It was a sprint with a 1000 meter swim, a 15.7 mile bike, and a 3.1 mile run. I was scared to death I would be LAST! Turns out I was last in my age group (of 5) but far from last overall. Even though the water was only 55 degrees, the bike course was fairly hilly, and the run was partially on a trail, I had FUN and I told everyone in the tri group that I'd do sprint triathlons "but never (that's right, I said NEVER again!) anything longer because running more than 3 miles is just dumb."Running at my very first triathlon

I did the Splash Triathlon at Sea World that fall, this time I wasn't even last in my age group! In 2004 Jeff and I got married- so no races that year. In 2005 I did 2 triathlons including my first race longer than a sprint- the Galveston International Triathlon, which later became Lonestar. No races in 2006, but in 2007 I did the sprint at Lonestar and as I was running through Moody Gardens in the pouring rain I thought "This is so much FUN! I really need to race more!" I did 4 sprints that year and somehow got it in my head that I might, maybe be interested in doing a Half Ironman someday!

I signed up for the 2008 Austin Half Marathon (since the Houston half sold out) just to see if I was actually capable of running 13 miles. That was by far the hardest training I had done, all my long runs were tough and I expected the race to hurt. But somehow, my "Inner Runner" broke free during that race and I had a BLAST! I hadn't run any hills during training, but I loved running the hills and I loved the race atmosphere in Austin!Finishing my first half marathon in 2008

The Austin half gave me confidence and I signed up for Longhorn 70.3 in the fall. I also joined HRTC and met Ingrid, Del, Cassie, Kim, Matt, David, etc. and trained for Longhorn with them all spring and summer. I still had no interest in doing a full Ironman, although at least I had learned not to say Never! We talked about Ironman races a lot that summer and at the time I think Cassie was the only one who definitely wanted to do one someday. Longhorn 2008 was probably the toughest race I have ever done, but I loved it! As soon as I crossed the finish line I knew that I wanted to do an Ironman someday!Running at my first Longhorn 70.3 in 2008

Jeff and I moved to Austin in 2008 and about a week before Longhorn, I joined Tri Zones. Structured workouts and real coaching helped me a ton and I had an awesome 2009 tri season! At the end of November (after her first Ironman in Florida), Ingrid emailed me saying she and Kim were signing up for Ironman Cozumel 2010 and asked if I wanted to do it too. Since the race is over Thanksgiving weekend the subject line on the email was "Turkey Tacos!!!!" At first I said no way, but after talking with Jeff, Coach Jen, Ingrid, Cassie, Nicki, David, etc, etc! (thanks to all of you!!) I decided to go for it!!

Hard to believe that was 46 weeks ago!! So far training and racing this season has been a lot of fun. I got to do my first marathon, 2 half irons, and a few shorter races this year. When I signed up, 50 weeks seemed like such a long time, but so far it has flown by! I have a couple more long training weekends, a taper, 3.5 weeks of work, and a lot of packing to do before we leave for Cozumel and Turkey Tacos Baby!!!!


Richard said...

It seems the most valuable lesson you have learned is not to limit yourself with "never"!

You truly inspire me, and I'll be so proud for you when I am watching the IM feed and see you cross the finish line in 4 weeks.

KimG said...

Awesome journey Heather! You make it sound so easy... but like you, I hope to one day complete by first Ironman. Good Luck in Cozumel! Can't wait to hear all about it.

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