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Amy’s Inspiration

Here’s a clip from a Swim Bike Mom friend, Amy, who sent me her inspirational fitness and triathlon story.  I wanted to pass along.  We all love good before & after pics, right?  You guys enjoy!

My Triathlon Experience
– by Amy Baker

The personal journey toward my first triathlon started in March of 2010.  Actually it started even prior to that…. years ago when I watched the Ironman [race] on television.  Then a few years later when I saw the Iron Girl race.  I was in admiration of the ladies, some even much larger than myself (in size and spirit), who finished the sprint distance triathlon.  I thought, “If they can do it, so could I.”  Well. At that point I quit thinking, life happened, and additional weight happened, and then even more.
March 21, 2010
Finally, an infomercial caught my eye.  Yes, an infomercial. I ordered Insanity.  Yes, from couch to Insanity.  Sounds about right!  Getting up at 4:30 am so there would be no excuses, drinking Shakeology and becoming a Beachbody Coach for the discounts and accountability.  I stopped drinking pop in May of 2010, and I started seeing changes. The changes weren’t nearly what I wanted or hoped for, so I kept moving.  After completing Insanity, I did more – from Hip Hop Abs to Brazil Butt Lift. About this time, I was starting not only to see physical results, but I was gaining confidence.
I joined a gym so I could use the pool and the spin bikes. After joining, “triathlon” came back into my mind.  I figured that I had no experience and would train myself (what was I thinking?!) and participate in a tri by the summer of 2012.  So, I started training, and then added P90X and Asylum. I traded in an old bike for a lighter weight commuter/mountain bike and started eating five to six small meals a day.  Who can beat losing weight and inches while eating MORE!
Fast forward to July 31st of 2011, the date of my first tri – a full year ahead of my schedule.  Nerves, thoughts of “it seemed like a good idea when I registered” and “how did I get here” crossed my mind more than once.  Second wave… oh (unmentionable word) an open water swim!  Well, I hit the water and instantly had the panic.  All form, things I had practiced and confidence sank to the bottom of the lake… well, more of a pond.  I was just grateful I hadn’t watched Soul Surfer or Jaws prior to the event!  


I could have given up, but my mental strength that I had regained over the past year returned. Side stroke, back stroke, crawl… ugly!  The safety crew asked me how I was doing and I giggled and sang, “Just keep swimming swimming swimming!”  They laughed and I reminded myself that my goal was just to finish.  Thank goodness for no time limits!  A few minutes later they asked how I was doing again and kept encouraging me.  That was really cool!  At that point, I started enjoying the moment – I was actually doing this tri and a full year ahead of my goal.  I recall commenting that I was getting more for my money as the other participants were done swimming so much sooner.  Oh, what a glorious feeling when I touched ground and I heard cheers of encouragement from my husband, my dad, friends and complete strangers. 
On the bike… T1 went well and the dreaded hill loomed.  I thanked the volunteers and supporters as I rode by, and noticed how the day was very beautiful.  And then it happened… I saw an amazing para-athlete and he was so encouraging to me – gave me the boost I needed to keep moving!  I survived the hills without getting out of my saddle and T2 was even better (although I did forget my race belt!).  

And then onto the partially wooded paths…. oh no!  I had to pee!  In trying to recall what I had read and been told… well…..relief.  It was all good with the wet/grimy tri suit until I felt the sloshing in my shoes.  Hey, I never said I wasn’t honest!  Jog, walk, jog, walk, slosh slosh…. and the realization that I was almost done.  But a snake slithered across the path in front of me.  I froze for a second until I realized it was only a garter snake and I adamantly put my hands on my hips and exclaimed, “Hey! Move!  I may be slow, but  there are still athletes on the trail!”  I also picked up my pace a bit.  As I got closer to the finish line, I laughed at my journey… what a great feeling to set out to do the impossible and make it possible.  

Yes, I finished last, but I finished.  I even went faster than I thought I would.  Most importantly over the 750m swim, 15k bike, and 5k run, I became a triathlete!!

August 28, 2011
Ok, yes, I am a little crazy, so I researched a little the week after my first sprint tri and found a even shorter tri in a different town…. and registered!  On August 27, 2011 I entered the pool in the 2nd wave and before I knew it, I ran across the finish line about twenty-two minutes faster than I had anticipated.  Woohoo!!!  Even better…. I wasn’t last this time.  This tri was 500 yards in the pool, 5 mile bike, and a 5k run.
Many times over this journey I have been asked, “WHY?”  And I have learned to reply, “Because I can.”  There are many reasons that I have taken on this journey: for the memory of loved ones, for my own health, to prove things to myself. But to truly be able to set out to accomplish something and reach that goal – well, it is indescribable.  For my second tri, I had one major regret, though.  I wished that I was already 40.  Yes, you know where I am going with this… a different age group!!!  I would have been the only woman in that group and would have won that division!  Ok, next year, right?  It can only get better from here and for now:  slow is the new fast!  By the way, do they allow floaties on your arms during the swim?
Amy is a 39 year old (darn it!) Speech-Language Pathologist by trade and an Independent Beachbody Coach by commitment.  She currently lives with her husband, three Wheaten Terriers (hmmm…. a tri!), and two cats in beautiful Bozeman, Montana.  Her websites are:  www.beachbodycoach.com/bakera and www.myshakeology.com/bakera.  

3 Comments

  • Jennifer Battle

    September 1, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I have had the pleasure of knowing Amy since May 2010 when she first got started. She is an amazingly positive person and her transformation story is inspiring! I consider myself to be in good shape too, but haven't done a tri…I just might sign up for one now!

    Reply
  • Molly @ the F-spot

    September 1, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    What a great story! I am doing my first Ironman next year in Canada and my coach requires we use a personal mantra to get us through the mental aspect of the race. I've still got time to decide, but I think I'm going with, "Because I can!"

    Kudos to you, Amy!

    Reply

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