Out of the corner of my eye I noticed someone watching me. A woman, probably not much older than myself and someone who was obviously fit. She was staring at my shoe selection with a sort of 'wtf' look, nose slightly turned up and a pouty lower lip. And then she spoke, 'You'll probably want to try those on without socks'. I hesitated a moment and then replied, 'Oh...no, I'll be wearing socks, thanks though'. She continued, 'Are you sure?'. At this point I'm dumbfounded. My instant inner thought was, 'No, I'm stupid and I don't know wtf I'm doing' but instead I politely said, 'Well, I do long course races' thinking that she'd clue in at this point and see the method to my madness. Her response, 'So do I and I don't wear socks.' Awesome... thanks for sharing.
What I SHOULD have said was 'I'm not going to win so I think I can take a few seconds to put on socks'. I later realized that this woman was standing there waiting for the mechanics to finish working on her Cervelo P4 and that she was likely a Pro...or a VERY VERY rich triathlete. In the former case she should not have been such a stuck up b*, in the latter case...I get it.
My point in telling this story - I'm not here to win, I'm not even really here to compete with anyone else. I am your average age grouper triathlete and runner. I love to train, I love to race, I love to push myself to the edge and see where that is, and most importantly I love to do these things with other people around me. I am motivated by motivating others - if that even makes sense. Let me see if I can explain a bit (in a very long winded and drawn out way).
My story isn't special. There was no challenge to overcome. It won't move you to tears. But I'm passionate and I use this blog to serve as my memory of the things I've accomplished, the people I've met, and all the things in between. It is a chance for me to tell my story, to anyone who wants to hear it.
I grew up running and racing. I started when I was 4 or 5 (my memory is terrible...hence the blog), only because my brother was doing it and because I apparently wanted to do everything my brother was doing. The local community center had a track team so my parents threw us at it. I ran in jeans and loved it so it stuck. For the next 7 years I raced for the community center team and for the Rain City Flyers (which back then was more than just a cross country club team).
4x400 team?? Location - unknown; Age - 9?
The team was awesome. The talent we had back then was astounding. I have to admit... I was good. We went to the Junior Olympics year after year - Spokane, Los Angeles, Nebraska, North Carolina, Florida (not in any particular order). I was a middle distance gal - loving the 200 and 400 and balking at the idea of running an 800 (which I didn't even do until high school). I ran cross country one winter when I was 9 and my team did great, winning Nationals. But that distance wasn't my forte and so I never went back - aka I didn't really like running that far.
I'm pretty sure this is our 4x100 team at the Junior Olympics in L.A.
Then middle school hit and track and field dwindled. Seattle Public Schools (at the time at least) didn't have any organized sports. If you did anything it was all through clubs outside of school. I turned my attention to basketball and played with an awesome group of girls - noted mostly for my defense and speed...not so much on the scoring front.
High shool sports... let's just say that my high school wasn't known for their athletic programs. I dabbled with basketball and then volleyball but still kept track as the solid sport. We had a square cinder track and a team that never won a meet. The only people to make it to State every year were the 3 girls and me that made up the 4x400 relay team. Let's just say that by senior year I was pretty burnt out on running.
College - NOTHING. I stopped running and shuddered at the thought of stepping foot on a track. There was absolutely nothing appealing about it. And running outside on trails... never even crossed my mind. Now that I look back on it I'm not sure I even really exercised all that often (unless you count a quarter of ballet - no, it didn't make me more graceful). I definitely don't recall spending countless hours in the gym so it must not have happened.
Grad school was where I got my butt in gear. Allison was training for her first half marathon and somehow she conned me into working out with her at the gym at ungodly hours of the morning. A half hour max was my limit on the treadmill. Anymore and I couldn't even fathom it...it was just so far and SO BORING! But that start took me to the next level, running the first leg of the Bellingham Traverse for a team, and then it took me to do my first half marathon. At that point I started surrounding myself with all of these people that had achieved more. Steffanie, who had run numerous half marathons. Robin, Pat, Laura... who had done countless marathons, had gone to Boston, or were in the process of getting to Boston. What amazing women!
And of course there was the boyfriend turned husband who is REI's dream customer. In those early years I watched him race duathlons, the Traverse (as a team, as a tandem, and now as a solo), and Ski to Sea (as a paddler). Watching these events you can't help but become inspired. Inspired to try!
So I tried. I ran, longer and longer until I achieved the marathon goal (that I didn't ever want to have) just a few years ago. And I tried triathlon thanks to Judy for putting the USA Fit program in my face and for Gabe who got me to ride a bike even though I hated it. I've loved it all and I'm hooked. But the thing that hooks me the most is hooking others in with me. And this is where I come back to my point if there ever was one.... :)
First Half Iron at Lake Stevens.
Am I faster yet?
Ski to Sea 2011 - first time just racing a bike leg.