This blog post was written for us by Meredith Yox – TriSports.com Champion.
I was the girl in high school who was on a PE Medical for most of the three years of required Physical Education classes. When I wasn’t “injured,” I was one of the girls who walked the track rather than running. I had weak ankles – at least that was always my excuse. I never participated in any school sports, it just wasn’t my thing.
I started running after the births of my daughters to lose the baby weight. I had no idea how good it would make me feel. I felt strong and empowered, so I kept at it and even entered some 5k races. Who ever thought I could run a 5k? Those weak ankles only became stronger the more I ran. It was such an amazing feeling to know that in my thirties I had found something in me that I never knew was there.
As I gave up my career to raise my children, I struggled trying to readjust my identity. So much of own value had been based on my career and achievements at work. Once that was gone, I struggled. Who was I? Where was my value? That’s when I decided to take on my first half marathon. Training for a half marathon filled that void that I felt. I had a training plan to follow and goals to meet along the wa,y just as I had in my career. All of a sudden I felt like a legitimate runner, and I actually gave myself permission to call myself a “runner.” When I crossed the finish line of my first half marathon I cried. Never in my life had I ever felt such satisfaction from achieving a goal that I had worked so hard for.
As it turns out, racing is quite addictive. Once you experience those endorphins, you want more of them. They don’t come easy; it takes a lot of work and lot of planning to earn them.
As a stay at home Mom, finding the balance between your family life and your training life is always a work in progress. It means riding my bike on the trainer in my family room, and planning my running days around my daughter’s pre-school schedule. It’s constantly changing for me; I’ve gone weeks trying to make it work when it just wasn’t. I would have to identify the problem and make adjustments to my schedule, and all of a sudden it was fun again. It requires a lot of planning and calendaring to get it all in. As my children’s school schedules change, I find myself having to adjust my training schedule to accommodate everyone’s needs. This means my girls are very tuned in to Mommy’s workouts and the benefits that come from those workouts.
At ages eight and five, both of my girls are runners. When my oldest was six, it was obvious that she also loved the benefits of running. I searched high and low for a program for her, but found nothing for her age. Then one day a program fell into my lap, but it would mean I would have to coach the program and recruit the other girls. I’m in my third year of coaching a team of elementary school girls in the Mini-Mermaid Running Club. At the end of the 6 week program, the girls run a 5k. Not only have I found my inner athlete, but I’ve helped my girls and their friends find their inner athlete. I can’t think of a better way to teach my children the benefits of exercise. In two weeks my five year old will be running her first 5k race.
As I looked for ways to continue to challenge myself, I decided to explore triathlon. I started swimming about a year ago and got myself a road bike. I stepped out of my comfort zone in a huge way to learn how to swim and how to ride a road bike. Failure is a scary thing, and I truly believe that most of us don’t push ourselves for fear of failure. It’s a daily struggle, but I have also learned the only way to accomplish your goals is to overcome your fears. If I want my children to overcome their own fears, I must show them that I can overcome mine.
In April, I finished my second triathlon and took the time to stop and kiss both of my girls in transition. If it weren’t for them, I would never even have gone down this crazy road.
Today, I have given myself permission to call myself an athlete. What I have realized along the way is that if I want it bad enough, I can achieve it. There have been sacrifices along the way, but those are small things like not reading as much, not watching as much television, or letting the laundry wait until rest day. The payoff is my health, happiness, and the example I set for my children.