I’m a triathlete, of course. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I became a triathlete because life as a runner was leaving me injured far too often, and I turned to the welcoming arms of swimming, and much later cycling, for comfort. But in that, I likely just described about 50% of triathletes. That’s where we come from. Change forces us to grow, complaining and shifting uncomfortably the entire time, in another direction.
I’m not a fast triathlete. I finish pretty squarely in the middle of the pack. I get out of the water somewhat early, I get off the bike sorta quickly - the bike! the bike! I’m so happy on the bike! - and then I cheer other women as they fly past me on the run - the sad irony that has left my first love, running, as my weakest leg. I have a lot of fast friends, friends who regularly podium all over the country, friends who can out-swim, out-bike, and out-run me. I love and support them all and I will cheer my lungs out trying to get them to the finish line just one second faster, but I don’t secretly envy them. Because I might never be the fast, I might never stand on the top of a podium, but what I have, what they don’t have, is heart. My personal mantra is: your heart is a weapon the size of your fist. And it is not only a mantra, it itself is a weapon, against being in the darkness and finding your way out into the light.
I’ve had many angry, tough, heart-breaking moments in this sport, and the only thing I’ve got going for me is my sometimes-ridiculous ability to never stop fighting, to never give up, and that’s the thing I wish I could plant in the ground and nurture and hand off to other people. Because as a runner, I was broken and alone, but triathlon has given me a whole new shot at this life. I’ve made friends I would never have crossed paths with otherwise, created bonds that are now so strong and tough that a hurricane could not shake them down, and met some of the most incredible women I’ve ever known.
Being on the east coast, SOAS hasn’t really trickled out here yet (although I did spent most of the day at my last 70.3 answering questions about my “sick tri kit!”), and there’s a huge base of athletes that don’t know what this awesome company is doing. That’s why I want to be involved, that’s why I wanted to be an ambassador, to help spread the word. But on a larger scale, not only for SOAS, but for this sport - the one that has given me the chance to jump up and down and be oh-so-happy-that-I-am-alive at the top of my lungs. I want to drag more women into this sport, I want to drag them in kicking and screaming and help them change their lives, show them how powerful they really are.
That’s what I do. That’s what I’m all about and that’s what I have to give, but more importantly, that’s what this sport should be all about. Our glory days are happening - they are now.