This past weekend, I was at an Indian gathering and an acquaintance mentioned following my #LongRoadToAugusta and being inspired to take up triathlon. She didn’t know how to swim and had signed up for swim lessons as the first step. She wasn’t running and had signed up for a 5k as the first step. She had a simple bike that she rode with her kids on weekends and she was going to keep doing that. She said that I had inspired her to take up something she thought was for “other more athletic” people (It wasn’t an offensive statement).
When I took my first step almost 6 years ago, I had no idea that I would be inspiring anyone even though I have always maintained that if *I* can do, anybody can do it. And that is not an unsubstantiated statement.
Zero to 26.2 to 70.3
I was the perfect couch potato with life from the couch or in front of the computer at work. Unlike Mr. FauxTriathlete who atleast played cricket in school and college, I have no prior running history or any sort of athletic history and it was me starting fresh at the age of 33. If I can go the distance, anybody can do it.
Learning something new
Even though I knew how to ride a bike, that was a cruiser bike and NOTHING like the road bike with ultra thin tires and clipless pedals and not being able to put your feet down and aero and … People in my neighborhood have seen me practice clipping and unclipping, mounting and dismounting in my driveway. Everything about the bike was new for me and I’m still learning. If I can learn to ride a bike, anybody can do it.
When my friend said that she was going to do a triathlon, her main fear was swimming in open water. No surprise since that seems to be the fear of a lot of people, including myself. But I did move from begging someone to hold my hand while I floated on my back to jumping in the river to swim, including an episode of pure terror in a race just 6 months ago. If I can learn to swim without panic attacks in the open water, anybody can do it.
Back of the back pack and overweight
Someone had told me once that they don’t want to move from walking to running because they didn’t look like a runner and were afraid of finishing up last. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been at the back of the back pack. And it wasn’t easy to come to terms with the fact that I might always be the dead last finisher in my age group in triathlons. Maybe one day I will be faster, or maybe I won’t. Spectating at the races will show you that runners and triathletes come in all shapes and sizes and paces. If I can continue to trudge on without caring about weight and pace, anybody can do it.
I’m not anything special in juggling work, kids and training. People have it far worse and they are even more badass – like my friend Angela who has a 1.5hr commute to work each way!!! Or my friend Tiffany who has 6 kids and a deployed husband and works part time and still cheerfully trains through. Treadmills and bike trainers were invented for a reason and as long as you want to do it, you can juggle everything. If I can do it, and if thousands of others can do it, anybody can do it.
I always leave a standing invitation to anyone to join me, even though they might leave me in the dust in their first session. I want to give back to the community the support they showed me during my early days and still continue to show me. And if there is anything I can do to inspire people to take up running or triathlon or just not give up, I will. I’ve grown so much on fast track these past 6 years that I attribute to running and triathlon.
I didn’t write this post to brag on my journey. I wrote it to truly give you proof that
IF I CAN DO IT, ANYBODY CAN DO IT!
What inspires you in other people?
What makes you say ‘if they can do it, so can I’?
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