After running for months and biking with my brother regularly, I decided to learn swimming. I was never enrolled in any type of swimming classes during my childhood years so I had to start from scratch- learning how to generally move around in the water. I signed up for some classes and after 4 or 5 weeks of instruction, I decided to join a Masters class. I was in for a rude awakening. The Masters course included swimming more than 2000 yards a day, sometimes even 4000 yards. For me it was a test of both mental and physical resilience. I was in shape, but I was barely able to keep up. I basically took over the slow lane and chugged along as much as I could, most days completing about 90% of the workout. The coach helped me along the way and encouraged me to just do as much as I can and a little bit more, and to “stay hydrated to avoid cramps!” I always brought along a bottle of Vitalyte to make sure I was achieving optimal hydration. At some point in my training things clicked. It wasn't necessarily that I became faster or had more endurance, but I knew I could do it. I just knew that with enough training, I could eventually swim longer distances, do faster sprints, and learn how to stay calm and breathe efficiently.
It felt really great each time I stepped into the pool and since then swimming has become my favorite activity. I realized I needed a goal to utilize my new-found mental strength to a maximum. I’m naturally competitive but there weren't too many swimming races for adults so after some searching, I found my true calling - A sprint triathlon. I started biking again and running. I worked out wherever I could and was doing three swims, two bike rides and one to two runs per week. Soon enough, the day came for the Tri. On July 27th 2014, I completed in the Sprint event of the Miami Huntington's Disease Triathlon. The swimming portion was in open water, which I hadn't practiced much. I started at a fast pace within my group, easily getting ahead, but at some point my goggles were fogged and I was having trouble seeing. I looked up and realized how far I was from the shore and started panicking. I turned on my back and reverted back to those days in the pool and my place of zen I had visited so many times during the swim. Then I calmed down and started moving ahead. In less than 10 minutes I made it to the shore with the biggest sense of accomplishment even though I still had the bike and the run left!
The bike ride was out of this world, absolutely enjoyable. We had barely any wind so I was pushing hard averaging about 20 mph; this was surely the most fun part of the race. Both my water bottles were filled with Vitalyte Electrolyte Replacement, this helped me stay hydrated. I finished both of them before getting back to the transition area. My transitions were great and having my family and friends around really encouraged me to be just a bit faster and giving it my all. Last was the run, I was running on fumes at this point but I kept telling myself, “just a little bit more!”
Before I knew it, I reached the finish line and was overcome by a sense of joy and relief. I had done it! I had officially become a triathlete! I joined my friends and family and we cheered on the athletes coming in after me. What an experience! And the best part was yet to come - my name was called during the awards! As it turns out, I had come in fourth place out of my group! I can’t wait for the next race.