1:35:14

21 09 2010

Wow, where does one even begin to tell the events of this past weekend?

Should I begin with the Friday before the event where I thought it would be a good idea to practice taking the tires off of the rims of Peppermint Patty only to discover I A) don’t have the slightest clue how to get the tires off of the rim (even though I watched countless videos on youtube and it seems simple enough) and B) am really good at gashing my inner tube to the point that I was frantically calling the bike shop 30 minutes before they closed to see if they could fix my flat.

Should I begin with the Saturday before the event and finding myself at the Trek Triathlon Expo, crying my eyes out because I was picking up my race packet, getting the number 469 written all over my body in permanent marker and feeling overwhelmed at the idea of actually going through with this triathlon even though I’ve been training for this moment for months prior.

Feeling like a badass for sure!

Should I begin with the night before and getting about 2 hours of sleep because it was a torrential downpour and I kept checking the weather app on my phone and praying that the thunder storms predicted would come and pass before 6am or I would need to seriously rethink my commitment to this triathlon.

Should I begin with the morning of and trying to eat something without gagging because I was so full of anxiety and fear that I barely managed to eat 1/2 of a banana, a few spoonfuls of Greek yogurt and a handful of almonds or should I start with leaving my husband outside of the transition area as I began to rack my bike, put on on my wetsuit and step up to a starting line I never thought I’d see.

I don’t know where to start.

Let me start with this:

I am a triathlete!

I didn’t feel like one when I got up Sunday morning. I was freaked out. I was trying to remember to take everything (including my bike which I almost overlooked – no lie). I didn’t feel like one when I was driving down to the site and was sure that I had forgotten my goggles. So while trying to drive, eat a little something and read the directions to where I was going I was also rummaging through my bucket and my back pack chanting “please be there, please be there”…they were.

My bucket of goodness (including my goggles)

I didn’t feel like one as I entered the transition area after kissing my husband goodbye and timidly saying “see you at the finish line” (since I wasn’t quite convinced I’d actually cross the finish line) and saw hundreds of women racking their bikes like they knew what they were doing.

I didn’t feel like one when I saw my friend Salwa (who was also doing her first triathlon) and we both jumped around like high school girls that just got picked for the cheerleading squad. I didn’t feel like one when my friend Kerrie (for whom this was not her first triathlon) came over and gave me all sorts of love and last minute pointers on how to get out of the wet suit and assured me I was going to be fine.

Me and Salwa

Me and Kerrie

I didn’t feel like one when I was standing in a group of women all wearing the same swim cap color (wave 5, blue) and entering the water waiting for them to tell me to go. In fact, this is where I panicked and almost gave up before I even started. The water was so cold and it was a shock to my system. I stood there (we had about 4 minutes) and must have had a look of such fear on my face because a woman standing next to me put her hand on my shoulder and told me it was going to be alright. I didn’t know what to do at that moment. So I forced myself to sit down in the water. Everyone else was standing. I wasn’t about to jump in face first and lose my breath. So I sat while it was still relatively calm and told myself  what the Godfather has been telling me to do for the last 2 months: “All I have to do is remember Breath and Move.”

Top of my bucket (just in case I forgot what I was supposed to do)

You want to know when I started to feel like a triathlete? As soon as  they said go and I hit the water and just did what I came to do – step over the starting line and move toward the finish line. I hit that water and IT WAS ON! No more fear, no more anxiety. No more “I’m going to quit before I start”. No more “what if I can’t”…there was only breath and move.

And that’s exactly what I did.

There’s so much more to this triathlon (like seeing my husband at every transition with a huge smile on his face. Seeing my friends Kelly and Heidi snapping away with their cameras and yelling out my times to me. Seeing Jord holding up a sign that said WWOPD as I was zooming past on my bike and finally all the women in the triathlon that cheered one another on as we dug down deep to get to the end) but there’s also nothing more to this triathlon except what I’m about to say:

We don’t have to live our lives being fat anymore. We don’t have to live our lives sitting around wondering what it would be like to cross over a finish line and be handed a medal that said “you did it”. We don’t have to live our lives sad and complacent; depressed and alone. We don’t have to live our lives thinking that this is as good as it gets. We don’t have to live our lives feeling sorry for ourselves and stuffing our emotions with food. We don’t have to live our lives the way we’ve been living them for ONE SECOND MORE.

It just starts with one tiny baby step.

That leads to finishing a triathlon.

No one can EVER take this away from me.

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27 responses

21 09 2010
SeattleRunnerGirl

Okay, seriously? What’s with the making me cry at work? I can’t say anything more momentous or wonderful than what you’ve written above. That last paragraph says it ALL.

But you me, I gots more. I am SO proud of you. CONGRATULATIONS!! You are amazing. And I’m so sorry I didn’t make it there on time to cheer you across the finish line. (You finished so dang fast! Plus there was a minor alarm clock malfunction.) But I digress.

You are inspiring so many people with EVERYTHING you do. Any one thing (the running, the races, the tri, the honesty, etc.) would be staggering on its own. But add them all together and you…

…Tara. A real woman who took her life back and is giving others hope that they can do the same.

You inspire me. Keep it up, Boo. Forever.

21 09 2010
Suzanne

You’re a fekin’ star!!!!! I am so proud of you!

As someone once said to me, you’re so awesome, you don’t ROCK, you BOULDER!

Go TARA GO!

21 09 2010
jen (@jeninRL)

You are AWESOME!!!! CONGRATS!

21 09 2010
never320again

Tara,
Look at how far you have come. I opened your thank you letter today, and I remember thinking: this woman is such an inspiration, look at her commenting on me, when this is about her– her devotion, her hard work and her training! You are the best person to help me along my journey, you are my Yoda, my master, my teacher, my inspiration, my hero. Tara- you f*ckin rock– that is all!

21 09 2010
Jessi

I cried when I read this, for multiple reasons. I don’t even know what to say really, just wow. I want to be like you when I grow up.

21 09 2010
Jessica

You moved me to tears! Congratulations on your accomplishment! You’re amazing!

21 09 2010
Jen (Mama Rocks)

What an inspiration!! I so love following your story. 🙂

21 09 2010
MsGigglepuss

You are a rock star! I am so impressed and inspired about all that you have accomplished. You’re so right, we don’t have to settle for the way things are for one more second. You took charge and made things happen! Congrats!

21 09 2010
Rita @ The Giggly Bits

I’m applauding you with everything I got. Everyone should get to feel like that, every person on earth, we’d have world peace, really. right there.

21 09 2010
sharlaelizabeth

I’ve still got goosebumps from watching you cross the finish line. There are no words to describe the level of awesomeness that is Tara.

21 09 2010
shellibelly

One simple word

STRONG

🙂

21 09 2010
Myrna CG Mibus

Yeah, I cried too. Go figure.
You are right – no one can EVER take this away from you. You are a triathlete!

22 09 2010
Elisha

You are a triathlete!

Congratulations! Every time I read one of these stories, whether it’s a triathlon, an Iron Man, or even a 5K, it always improves my resolve to get there and post my own race story one day, so thank you for the inspiration!

22 09 2010
ed

Awesome Tara, Just plain old awesome. I noticed on your run you had a 9:47 pace. sweet!

22 09 2010
scalewarfare

You’ve done an amazing job recapping this, it felt like I got to be there cheering you on and feeling all of the emotion. I actually got goosebumps.

Bravo 🙂

22 09 2010
KCLAnderson (Karen)

Tears of freaking JOY!!! You know what says it all for me?? The way you look in the photos! Strong, confident, glowing, beautiful, owning it!!!

22 09 2010
Jeremy Logsdon

I maintain and concur with everyone else that you are awesome. You have come SO far in just the short time I’ve known you. I can’t wait to see what else you come up with.

You made a comment a long time ago that you felt like a freshman in high school, watching the Seniors. You are RULING the Senior table now. 🙂

22 09 2010
Molly

Congrats Tara! That is fucking awesome- Your a champ!

22 09 2010
Carina

That is a great story! Congrats! Treat yourself well during recovery.

22 09 2010
GeorgiaBE

WAY TO GO GIRL! So awesome! I’m so glad you are sharing your struggles and triumphs! I love to see how those baby steps led to such wonderful accomplishments in your life! You are HERO—not only to me, but most importantly to yourself.
This step—too terrific to find the right words! I’m smiling big for you!

22 09 2010
Nathan

Wow! You really set fire to that course!
Thanks for posting your results to world 🙂

23 09 2010
cindie

Excellent post! So raw and FULL of emotion. I would like to say I’m proud of you but in pretty sure you are so Dang proud of yourself that others pride in u could not compare….the best feeling is being proud of yourself.
Good Job!
Cindie

24 09 2010
Sarah (Fat Little Legs)

SO inspiring! Thanks for sharing.

29 09 2010
Brandon

Congrats Tara, I am so happy and so proud of you. Every single day, you continue to be a huge source of inspiration for me.

4 12 2010
Post run blues / food « 263 and counting

[…] this feeling of “okay now what”. I guess I experienced it a little when I finished my first triathlon back in September but even then I was thinking about the half marathon. At this point of the […]

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[…] did a triathlon and offered me great calming advice via twitter. Best advice? Breathe and […]

20 02 2011
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[…] and wait for 170 to come knocking on your door. You went after it like a wild fire. You have the Triathlon medal to prove it. You also realized to reach that goal you not only had to drop the physical weight, you had to drop […]

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