As a child I wasn’t very athletic. I played baseball and soccer, but by middle school I had dropped out of both. In middle school, I was inactive and put on weight. When I went on to high school, I didn’t know anyone. A group from the school swim team came to one of my classes to talk to us about joining the team. They made it sound like so much fun. I decided to join since it would be a great way to make friends.
I really did have a great time. Throughout high school, my weight would fluctuate. Once swim season was over, all training stopped and I would put the weight back on. When summer league started, the weight would come back off. I was never more than an average swimmer. I think much of this had to do with my weight.
After I graduated high school in 1996 all physical activity once again stopped. I would peak in 2001 at 320 pounds. I smoke, I drank, and ate lots of Double Quarter Pounders with Supersized Fries. I could barely make it up a flight of stairs without totally being out of breath. Losing my father to lung cancer in 2003 was really a shock to me. It made me examine my own health. I decided to quit smoking and join weight watchers to lose weight. In 2003, I heard about this amazing event held on July 4th. The Peachtree Road Race is the world's largest 10K. Every July 4th, over 50,000 runners and walkers make the 6.2 mile trek down through the city of Atlanta. This event is so popular that when the race application comes out in the Saturday in the early Sunday Paper, if you do not send your registration in that day, you will not likely get in. I knew right away I was going to make that my goal to keep me on track.
I began a run/walk program and started to train. That race was all I thought about. Before I had decided to do this I would have never thought I would run at all, let alone run for 6 miles. I was an overweight asthmatic. Now I had a goal to keep me motivated. As I began to train, I decided to try out a few shorter races just to get a feel for what one of these races were like and to monitor my progress. On May 26, 2003, I ran my first race, the Celebrate America 5K in Alpharetta Georgia. I ran/walked through the 5K in 36:19. I had had such a great time. I was so excited about my progress and knew I was going to make it through this. I would run one more 5K in June before the big day would come. On July 4th, 2003 I lined up before sunrise with 50,000 other people to make my way down Peachtree Street. I was so nervous. I had done my training, but I knew there were a couple of big hills on the course. I would make it through it with about an equal amount of running and walking. Most importantly, I got the coveted Peachtree T-shirt. I was hooked.
Over the next few years I would continue my running. In 2005 I would finally go under an hour in my 10K. I had taken off 12 minutes from my first 10K two years prior. By then I started to build up my miles so I could try to run a half marathon. Unfortunately over the next two years, I would suffer repeated injuries, most notably several stress fractures. Also, after reaching my lowest weight of 220 pounds, my weight would fluctuate over the next few years.
In 2007, I turned 30. I knew I wanted to make 30 a big year. I decided this would be the year I finally made it through the half marathon. I found a local running group I joined so I had people to run with. One day I was reading the local paper I heard about a new triathlon that was to be held close to my house. I knew right away this would be my next big challenge for 30. Since I swam in high school, I already had good form. Over the years of working out, especially after my stress fractures, I had done regular spin classes, and I was already a runner. I also knew that by training for all three disciplines, I would be at less risk for a running injury due to doing too much running. I eventually found a used bike and began riding several times a week. I joined a gym with an indoor pool. Training was going great. I joined a local tri club and was amazed how friendly and willing to help a newbie these triathletes were. I would do several open water swims and group rides before the big day. I even attended a transition clinic the club put on so I had an idea of what to do come race day. I finished that triathlon and never looked back. My next big goal is to complete an Ironman