In the last week, since finishing my first ironman, I've reflected a little on the last 4 years since I started racing triathlons. It's strange to think about who I was just 4 short years ago. I'm pretty sure that most of my current friends and colleagues wouldn't recognize me so I thought I would share a little bit how triathlon has changed my life.
up until early 2004 I was on a bad track. I had dropped out of college in my last semester at Boston College and had been in a downward spiral ever since. I was a bit of a ... party person/bar person. Not only was I a problem drinker and occasional drug user, I was also a smoker. So gross and so weird to think about. I had also gone from about 135 lbs to closer to 185 in just 2 short years.
I found these pictures of myself on my friend matt's flickr page. It's weird for me to be sharing this but I thought posting these could be a somewhat cathartic exercise.
In the first picture, my right eye is almost shut, an indication of exactly how drunk I was.
In early 2004 my parents, for chanukah, bought me a membership to a gym where I had the good fortune to meet the lovely Teresa Nelson who got me to join a beginner's triathlon training group. I had never run before but had a background in swimming and cycling.
In June, 2004, one month after quitting smoking, I did my first triathlon. The Vancouver Women's Triathlon in Vancouver, WA.
By this first triathlon, I had dropped nearly 30 lbs and somehow managed to win my age group. I was totally hooked.
It may sound silly, but after realizing that I could finish a triathlon with some modicum of skill, I felt like I could do anything. I managed to finally finish my BA and got myself into law school. I extricated myself from the destructive social circles that I was running with and either made new friends or reconciled healthy old friendships.
I think the reason that this sport means so much to me is that it changed my life. Triathlon has played a huge role in making me who I am today. I don't think I would be in law school right now let alone have even graduated college had I not become a triathlete. I would have never quit smoking and I wouldn't have gotten my drinking under control.
I love winning and placing in races, but even more I love every minute of every race I do. Even the ones that are the most physically and mentally challenging.
From year to year and race to race, whether I win or lose, knowing that I can finish these races with a smile on my face is why I will stay in this sport for as long as I am able.
Mind The Gap
9 months ago