My story starts with spring of 2009. Like many women, I needed to lose weight so I decided to try running. Now, I have never been the athletic type…the most exercise I got was walking or chasing after my two kids. The beginning was rough, many minor injuries that could have discouraged me to continue but something was igniting inside and pushed me to keep at it. I remember around the time of Broad Street in 2009, a friend of mine told me I should do it, I told her she was crazy…I was only running a mile, how in the world could I do 10!! But that discussion put a thought in my head that I have never thought of before…entering into racing events! I thought it was for “real” runners. She told me if I wasn’t going to do Broad Street, I should consider this midnight run for BOMF, it was an 8.4 mile loop around the art museum. I took my first plunge and signed up for the August, 2009 run and that was what began my obsession. After completing the run, I was so sore, exhausted and immediately looking up more races on Active.com.
I had always wanted to complete a triathlon. I remember a coworker talking about her marathon running son who also did triathlons and I was in awe! I remember telling her I wish I could do that! I pushed the tri idea to the side…I didn’t have a bike or a place to swim. I didn’t even know where to begin! So, I kept up with the running, signing up for 5, 10, 15K’s and soon after half marathons. I could not get enough so I took the plunge and signed up for my first full marathon, Philadelphia Marathon, in 2010. That one really tested me physically and emotionally. I kept going, training when I hurt, not staying out late so I can wake up early and run, ran when others questioned my sanity. I swore during training and during the marathon that I would never do a full again…then signed up for the 2011 marathon the very first day registration opened. My second full marathon I completed in 27 minutes less than my first! It was soon after my second full marathon that I really put my mind to completing a triathlon. I scoured the internet looking for information and got so lost….transitions, tri suits, clips…oh my!! I joined the YMCA, one step out of the way but I was still lost. That is when a friend mentioned Mullica Hill Women’s Tri Club!
I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined MHWTC. I was scared to death to join a club where I didn’t know anyone! I was swimming at the Y at this time but did not have a bike yet. I posted on the Facebook page that I needed a bike but didn’t have a big budget and Patty from Action Wheels stepped in and said they had refurbished bikes and to come in. I came in, got hooked up with a bike and was so excited!!! Soon after, I attended the kick off meeting not knowing anyone, scared to go into a room full of women I didn’t know but I walked out with so much more confidence and signed up for Parvin that same night!! I went on group rides, met new friends, attended the Matt Long presentation, ran the Friday night 5K, faced my fear of lake water in the organized OWS!! Then it came down to the real test, Parvin, my first Triathlon….I was crushed when I got the email that the swim was being canceled and that it will be a Duathlon. I finished but still did not get the satisfaction of completing a triathlon. I could not call myself a Triathlete.
Luckily, I had another triathlon to look forward to, the one I was most excited about! Queen of the Hill! I am so happy to have this as my first Triathlon. A tri full of women, many doing their first triathlon as well! It was such a great experience! There was tons of encouragement, cheers and support! It was the hottest day of the week but received ice towels and the residents along the course were putting their sprinklers on and hosing us down. We ended with peaches, blueberries and mimosas! And I left as a Triathlete! I am hooked. So hooked I even signed up for another triathlon, Wildwoods Tri!! Another fear to face, my fear of the ocean but with the support of our club, I was able to face my fear once again. The only fears I think I have left are spiders and bats….but not ready to take those on yet!
The best part of this whole experience is that I found myself. I became a mother at 18 and still had some growing up to do myself while raising a child. What I had done for so many years was put my own wants aside and did not develop my own identity aside from being a mother. I love my children with my whole being but I did not have any real hobbies, anything for myself that I so passionate about…until I found the wonderful world of running and most recently triathlons! A few years ago if someone would have told me I would be running a marathon on my birthday (AC marathon 10/21/12) a couple months after doing a triathlon I would have laughed, I am such a different person today. I am so thankful to have found this Tri Club. I got the push I needed that night of the kickoff meeting. You don’t always have to be born with the athletic ability, you only need the desire, the will and patience. I love to tell everyone that it is possible. I am proof!