What a Year!

A Reflection…

Last week as I finally worked on decorating the walls in my training room, listening to the broadcast of Ironman Kona streaming live on my computer, I came to realize what an amazing, transformational year this was for me. And interestingly, for some reason, I had thought the events of this year had spanned two years, and it was so surprising to me that I felt it was important to reflect on it.

I had dabbled in running and biking in years past, having done a couple 5Ks and even a half-marathon, which I was woefully unprepared for, ridden my road bike with the Vancouver Bicycle Club and in the Providence Bridge Pedal, but I was not really a runner and was a very recreational cyclist. As I blogged earlier this year, I changed to a vegan diet April 2010, had lost some weight and gained energy, and after a major life event several months later, started to run for exercise and stress relief.

Muddy Buddy, October 2010

October 2010, on a lark, a friend and I decided to do the Muddy Buddy adventure race, a 10K two-person relay race completed in costume and included mountain biking, obstacles, and running. I wasn’t fast, I walked parts of my 5K run, but I had a ball! At the end I realized that I had actually done two-thirds of a triathlon, and that if I could figure out how to train for the swim, I could someday actually do one. I continued to run, rode as much as I could with the Vancouver Bike Club, and kept thinking about triathlon.

By December, I was sure, well, more certain. I had no clue how to proceed. I Googled “triathlon Portland” and discovered the Portland Triathlon Club. I bought a book a friend had loaned me years ago, Slow, Fat Triathlete: Live your Athletic Dreams in the Body You Have Now, and got inspired and some advice on how to start. I just didn’t know anyone who did triathlons. I ended up posting on the Google Group for the tri club looking for another Vancouver area triathlete willing to work with a “newbie” and met Christine, who gave me some guidance and encouragement, someone to bounce questions off of and do some training with. And I started to blog, for me, an open journal that I thought would keep me honest and motivated knowing that friends and family would see lack of effort if I didn’t keep it up.

Before and After

My progress is tracked in my blog, so I won’t repeat every detail. But fast forward to today, 45 pounds lighter, leaner, down from a size 18 (gah!) to a size 10, and more energetic than ever! I discovered a picture of me that Julie (Donttickleme) of the Badger Cast Podcast had posted when they made their trip here from Wisconsin last year; I untagged myself in Facebook because I was so embarrassed how I looked, but then I thought I’d share it as the change is pretty startling!

Back in April 2010 there was no way I would have thought I could run a marathon. I was the heaviest I had ever been in my whole life and other than just starting to change my diet, was pretty complacent about my fitness. I wasn’t really happy about my situation, but pretty resigned to it—I think that’s easy to do when you’re overweight. Now, I am happy all the time! I turned 39 last year, and I have to say, it was the best year of my life, hands down! I truly believe there is a direct link between fitness/health and happiness. I’m thinking 40 is really going to rock!

Running Events

* indicates Bucket List item completed

Bib Wall for this year

I ran just under 500 miles this year. I don’t have the exact number as I didn’t track my mileage before I had my Garmin. While that is quite a bit of running, I do need to increase my mileage for next year. I also need to pay more attention to the timing of events so I can best prepare. I had difficulty getting my long runs done for my Portland Marathon prep because I was always in a taper for a triathlon or cycling/running event. I am planning on completing the Vancouver (full) Marathon June 2012.

Bike Jersey Wall

Cycling Events

* indicates Bucket List item completed!

  • 66 mile Ride Around Clark County
  • 200 mile Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic*

I cycled over 800 miles this year. Again, don’t have mileage prior to the Garmin. I’d like to do more cycling events this next year. I was really focused on improving my running and swimming, so didn’t work so much on cycling. I am thinking about investing in a tri bike and also planning on being a spectator at some cyclocross events to see what that’s all about. I would need to get a bike for cyclocross too.


* indicates Bucket List item completed! 

My first triathlon medal!

Wow is all I can say! It was a dream come true to do triathlons! I actually had four more scheduled, but two were canceled (Hagg Lake Iron Girl Sprint Tri and the Two Rivers Sprint Triathlon in Woodland, WA) and I didn’t compete in two (Girlfriends and Dudes Sprint Tri in Vancouver due to ulnar neuropathy, and Lake Tahoe Iron Girl Sprint Tri in California due to scheduling conflicts).

Portland Triathlon Club

The Portland Triathlon Club was a really important part of my success this year. Club meetings, presentations, training events, support, and friendships helped me beyond description.  

The Most Apocalypse Ready Triathlete award from the Portland Tri Club

We recently had our 2011 banquet where I was awarded the Most Apocalypse Ready Triathlete! Apparently the story of showing up to my bike fitting at Upper Echelon Fitness with my big bike bags full of first aid supplies and bike tools got around. Proof of the encouragement and attention this group has for each other.

What’s Next?

Because I wanted to pay back all the Portland Triathlon Club has given me, I have decided to take a more active role in the club. This year I will be serving as a board member and Chair of the Membership Committee, something I am completely psyched about! I am so looking forward to meeting new members, doing outreach at athletic events, and being even more involved with training and other club events.

I’m challenging my limits once again…I will be signing up for the Vineman 70.3 Half-Ironman, held July 15, 2012 in Windsor, California! I have heard great things about this event and am looking forward to the work that will be required to get myself ready! Other than that, I will be scheduling running events, such as the Vancouver Marathon, probably the Shamrock Run again, helping with the Mock Tri, and definitely at least one of the Blue Lake triathlons since I have been given a complimentary registration for completing all three Blue Lake triathlons last year. I’m sure there will be more cycling events and would really like to do Cycle Oregon, perhaps 2012 will be the year. I’d also like to add swimming events, like the Hagg Lake Swim or the Columbia River Cross Channel Swim.

I want to give a special thank you to my family for their encouragement and support this year, especially Mother Superior, who came to nearly all of my triathlons, getting up at the crack of dawn, schlepping my gear, waiting around for official results, and listening to my chatter about bike components, chaffing, gel, and other triathlon-related nonsense! I really recommend getting the book Trizophrenia: Inside the Minds of a Triathlete by Jef Mallett for your family and friends affected by your obsession with triathlon…I know Mom got a big kick out of it!

Alright, so it’s on to Season 2! Thank you all for your support. I really do appreciate the feedback on the blog and all of your comments and encouragement through email, Facebook, Twitter, and texts. I’m not sure I’ve told you all how much that helps. Thanks for the MOJO and best wishes to you all on your personal journeys!

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