The task: answer two questions given to you by Coach Kyle.
Answering questions with basic, superficial, regurgitated run of the mill responses is easy. Delving deeper into oneself, truly breaking down a question and massaging out the knots is hard. But it results in a truer answer, one that comes directly from your inner being. Here goes.
What was your personal process of turning into a successful triathlete?
Sport has always been a constant in my life. At an extremely young age I was placed into the world of competitive swimming. Ordinary for me was training for hours everyday. It was abnormal to not train every day.
Once my competitive swimming journey ended I craved something to fill that empty void. I missed training every day and having goals to work towards. I missed the daily grind. It felt like a part of me was missing, something had been taken away that was essential to my being.
I thought I found the missing piece of the puzzle through running. I had always enjoyed running during the peak of my swimming career but never had the time/energy to fully commit to it. Thanks to the hours spent in the pool building up my aerobic base, I experienced immediate success with running. I loved being able to train outside, explore different trails. The problem? A runner can only train for a fraction of the time a swimmer can before their body begins to break down. Focusing just on running wasn’t enough – something was still missing. Enter triathlon - a sport that requires one to excel in three distinct disciplines. A sport that requires a ridiculous amount of time spent training. A sport that allows you to be outside, explore various terrains and trails. A sport that requires an amount of sacrifice and dedication that seems almost ludicrous to the “ordinary” person. It was perfect.
I often get asked why I do triathlons. Why I would want to put so much time and energy into a sport. Why I’m willing to push my body until it breaks down, let it heal and then continue pushing. The answer – this is my normal. I love waking up early to train. I love working out multiple times a day. I love being able to swim faster, bike farther, run stronger. I love hitting mental and physical blocks and having to find that inner strength buried deep within myself to break through. I’ve never felt weighed down or trapped by the structure of my training schedule. Rather, it makes me feel free. I don’t think this notion, this way of thinking, is one that can be taught but rather something you are born with. It is anything but ordinary.
What event, race, or process occurred in your life that has resulted in your success in triathlon?
I am successful in my sport due to the countless amount of times that I have failed. Every single failure has made me the person that I am today. They have made me question my intentions and leave with a stronger resolve to continue working. They have made me tough and resilient. I have always viewed myself as an athlete who was not bestowed with talent at birth. Every single success has been a direct result of a ridiculous amount of hard work.
I’m a sucker for a good motivational quote and I keep several of my favorite ones saved on my phone when in need of a good pick me up. The following one resonates with me for so many reasons.
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
No matter how many times I’ve been knocked down I have kept picking myself up, brushing off the dirt and kept trudging along. I’ve had so many people ask me why I continue to keep fighting, why I continue to compete as an elite athlete when it seems that the universe has it out for me.
Why do I refuse to quit? Because I know how it feels when you finally succeed – that fleeting ecstasy, the encompassing contentment when you realize that all the hard work has finally paid off. All of the sacrifices, sweat and tears were worth it for that one moment in time. That one, precious moment that will be etched in your memory forever. A memory that will never fade, that will leave you with the craving, the desire for more of them. A memory that turns your goals and desires from wants to needs. I work so hard it nearly destroys me in my chase for this feeling. It gives me the strength to continuously get back up when all I want to do is lie on the ground and wave a white flag. It allows me to disregard the tick tock of time, ignore the limitations put on myself by others, accept the hours, days, years it will take to reach my destination. My failures are simply the endings of chapters in a novel that is nowhere near being finished.
I leave you with another one of my favorite quotes:
“Success happens when you do not give up even though you want to.
The universe always falls in love with a stubborn heart.”