When I told my triathlon story to people I occasionally got the question, “What made you decide to do a triathlon?” I gave an answer I thought people expected. “I wanted to get in shape”, or “I wanted a challenge.” Something like that.
The truth is, I was in the aftermath of a tough break up. After suffering for some time, I decided that I’d rather be in physical pain–from exercise–than emotional pain. I was in Washington DC at the time and happened to see part of Nation’s Triathlon. Now that seemed like lots of exercise.
I chose to do a triathlon, but not to inspire, not to raise awareness for some cause, and not to get in shape. Back then I would joke with close family and friends by describing my new exercise routine as “Forrest Gump Syndrome”. I ran a lot.
But a funny thing happened when I started training. I started to discover stories of other triathletes who used the sport to recover from some kind of personal loss. Through a friend of a friend, I discovered Punita, who writes Ride for Life and who shares a story similar to mine. Through a series of what I thought were strange coincidences, I discovered and eventually met Ironman Brian Boyle. I discovered some incredible stories of courageous triathletes at the Ironman Championships in Hawaii. Here are only a few of them:
Over time, the original reason that had motivated me to begin training for a triathlon faded. Eventually it was completely replaced by a love of the sport and an enthusiasm to conquer something that seemed impossible. I started to discover things that motivated me to train, like Alexandre Bilodeau, Nike’s Human Chain Commercial, and probably the greatest motivational speech I’ve heard since high school.
When I graduated from high school, my school district’s superintendent gave me a book called What Should I Do With My Life? In the final pages of that book, author Po Bronson writes
If we are the victim of an injustice, it is up to us to find a meaningful way to channel our anger. If we suffer a terrible crisis, only we can transform this suffering into a launching pad for a new life. These are the turning points from which we get to construct our own story, if we choose to do so.
That is really what my triathlon story is about.
A year ago, I could barely swim a lap. I was jogging two miles a few times a week. Now I am 25 pounds lighter and can swim a mile. I am an Olympic distance triathlete.
In my first post on this blog, I wrote:
Welcome to my blog. It’s about my journey to complete an Olympic-length triathlon.
That quest to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon is over. This is my final post at crawfordtriathlon.wordpress.com.
I would be remiss if I did not thank my family and friends that helped me through this journey. Your encouragement and support means so much to me. Thank you.
I also want to thank you for reading. I did not write this blog for you. I wrote it for me. Despite that, you and others viewed this blog 1,446 times over the course of the past year.