I was never a writer, or a natural born athlete for the first 43 years of my life, but since I have become an  “athlete” in the past two years, I thought I would take my shot as a writer too!

My life was never filled with any sport, individual or team centered.   I dabbled in fitness classes on and off (mostly off) over the years.  I played softball till I was 10, but that is about it.  So when I saw my sister and  my college friends take up running and competed in  Half Marathons two years ago (all well into their mid 40’s) – I started to wonder- shouldn’t I be taking care of myself too?

Then along came the first meeting of the Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club.  “OK, I will go (mostly for the wine and the friends), but that is ALL, I am not committing to any CRAZY triathlon.  I can’t even put my face in the water, let alone run more than one block, and I am NOT an athlete, and never will be.” I told myself and my friends!   Well, that was two years and eight Triathlons ago- so what happened in between?

I figured I needed an incentive to get healthier.  Alone in my basement (where no one could see me)  I started to bike.  Then I decided, to run-in the cold (again, making sure no one would see who I was- see the theme here?) I actually started to like it and thought maybe I could join that “CRAZY CLUB”.  When I finally  ran  once around the block  (a very short block)  I had tears in my eyes and hands raised in victory ( yea- I did look around and hope no one saw me!!)  I began to promise myself IF (notice the key word IF) I did a TRI, it would really be a Duo, as I was determined to have someone, anyone, swim for me.   But I surprised myself, and along with a lot of cajoling and support  from Colleen ( forever grateful to her),  I improved enough to talk myself into  the fact I might be able to stay afloat enough not to die  (well, it really consisted of doing the side stroke the entire length of the swim, but I lived to tell about it, and enjoyed it too)  I was hooked.   I completed  my first TRI…in public.
So what am I really trying to say to all of you who say- “I can’t” , “I’m embarrassed”, “ I’m not good enough to fit in with those CRAZY triathletes” or any other myriad of excuses we all come up with?  First and foremost, YOU CAN DO IT (If I did it, really anyone can).     I got so much more out of this experience than getting in shape.  I have built immense confidence in myself, I have built friendships I would never have known and I have become a true “ATHLETE” (maybe not natural born, but an athlete all the same!)   I also thought that doing a triathlon, or any one of the triathlon sports, was something you did on your own, that it was not a team sport.  I could not have been more wrong.    I never expected to be part of a team, but I am, and that is what this TRI club is all about.  We celebrate each others victories (no matter the size) as our own;  we support; we love ; we encourage and we NEVER judge ( wish I had known that when I was hiding in my basement).
So get out there, proudly tie on those shoes, put on those suits (and in some cases floatation devices, snorkels or any other gear to help you stay afloat) and join us as we start our THIRD year as a club of women dedicated to health, friendships, and support.  You may actually surprise yourself, and find the athlete deep within, just begging to come out!