My first 70.3 is waiting. Hours of training and braving the weather and bonding with new teammates has brought me here to this one day: the Buffalo Springs Half-Ironman on June 26, 2016. This is my new horizon.
I’m looking back today, reflecting on the underlying and arcane drive that’s help me push myself to this new point.
It was the place – Lubbock, TX – and also the people who drew me in to this sport one mild August day in 2010. Feeling desperate to reconnect with a team, and tired of feeling dismayed over the absence of a swim team, I walked into the first Texas Tech triathlon club meeting of the fall semester and got right to settling in. Notice my lack of use of the phrase “getting comfortable” there, because this almost six-year journey has far surpassed any comfort zone I’ve ever known before.
Amanda Wagner shook me out of my sense of timidity real quick. The president of the tri club, she was as brash and direct as you’d hope your Olympic-caliber coach would be. She heard my story about being a swimmer since the seventh grade, then nodded once and said, “Now add two more sports on top of that.”
So I did. It took me six months, but in February of 2011 I finally competed in my first race with the team: The 7th Annual Texas Motor Speedway Duathlon, or the Frost Yer Fanny Du, as I fondly remember it. That year it earned its name!
My fanny was pretty frosted by the end, but my training paid off: I finished in an hour and thirty-two minutes. And the memories were setting in; I was side by side with these guys in the most intense sport I’d ever gotten myself in to. Side by side with family.
It didn’t take long for Buffalo Springs 70.3 to become that pinnacle of triathlon greatness that was talked about and revered by every triathlete in the area. Half-Ironman? I thought. That distance is way beyond me.
Only now, it’s not. The promise of a new finish line is within my grasp, and countless people have guided me toward my newest level of resolve. Since that first duathlon, I’ve competed in three sprint distance triathlons, 9 Olympic distance tri’s, and about a half-dozen run races (assorted 5, 10, and 15 Ks). More recently, I was privileged enough to share in my first Half-Ironman experience, when I did the swim portion of IRONMAN 70.3 Austin with two great and supportive teammates, Richard Tyler and Brandon.
How many laps have brought me here? Pedal strokes? Stride lengths? These are the questions I asked myself at first. Then the real question, the one that captures my deepest drive, arose, hopefully to carry me on through that finish line: How many lives have you touched?