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Same View, New Perspective

This morning I was swimming at the gym where it “all” started. By it “all,” I mean my triathlon journey. In 2009, I found my way to the Concourse Athletic Club, which was located directly below the towering high rise where I used to work. When I walked into that gym in 2009, I was scared, lost and lonely. I had absolutely no fitness about me, and I was so tired. Life was wearing me down.

I found my way to Coach Monster’s indoor cycling class …and now, years later, I am signing up for an Ironman. A real Ironman?

What in the…??

As I looked up from the pool this morning, to the high rise where I used to work… and as I glanced down the lap lane where I first swam only 15 meters and sat up sputtering… I truly appreciated my journey.

When you take your life as a whole and look at chunks of time instead of mere hours, days and weeks… you are likely in one of two frames of mind:

1) Amazed at how far you’ve come; or

2) Disgusted at how far you’ve been gone.

From 1998-2009, I would look back on each previous year and think, Ugh, I was thinner last year. Or, I can’t believe I have wasted this last year. Year after year, I was heartbreaking myself with my own action (or, inaction).

Finding my way to this gym and starting triathlon was about making the committment to look back on my chunks of time and seeing something better.  Every year, I want to be better than the last year. And since I have found swimming, biking and running for the past two years I can say, “I am better this year than last.”

Now, I know I won’t necessarily be faster or thinner each year (I hope so, but realistically… maybe not).  But as a whole, I hope to see that the prior year made and molded and worked me into a better person, wife, mother, friend and athlete.

Today, someone at the gym commented, “OMG, an Ironman? But you have two young kids, and a job? Are you serious?” For a moment, I had a Coeur d’Alene panic attack and these words, He’s right, I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t do this I can’t can’t can’t… crazy ….where’s the doughnuts and ice cream …I need a drink, bounced around inside my head.

But then I realized something…

If back in 2009, I had been able to fast forward my life… to October 2011…  I would not have believed it.  Me? I would have finished a half Ironman? Ha, yeah right.

What if I could merely have fast forwarded to this morning?  I’d be running 4 miles and swimming 3000 yards before work? Okay. Yeah, give me some of that crack you are smoking.

My point being… one day you may be looking up at the same building and seeing your world in a whole new way.  Yes, it’s still the same view, but your perspective will completely different.  I just hope that the perspective brings on feelings of joy, success and perserverance… not sadness and regret.

For so many years, I wasted time on sadness and regret.  I hope to never do so again.

When I die, I want my tombstone to read…

“Here lies Swim Bike Mom.
Since 2009, right now is the first time
that she won’t be better than she was the year before.
At least… here on Earth.” 


For now… we move forward, we try harder, and we never give up.  That’s the real goal.


  • Jaclyn

    August 21, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I love times when we have these moments of introspection and reflection on how far we have come even when we feel as though we may feel we have so far to still go. “Just keep swimming :)”

  • Kellzmama

    August 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    Thank you for the inspiration! Last year my sister suggested I do the Chicago Triathlon with her and I laughed. “Never gonna happen,” I said, “I don’t run, I can barely swim, and I don’t even own a bike.”
    Jokes on me as on Aug 25 I’m doing the Super Sprint Tri, and I’ve already done two 5k obstacle courses this summer. And next year my 7 year old is doing the Chicago Kids Tri while I am aiming for the Sprint.
    I really enjoy reading your blog! Thank you!

  • Carrie @Tempo Life Coaching

    August 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Great post, as usual. I had one of those moments today as I hopped into the bay for my swim and easily put down 1 mile+ If you had told me a year ago that I would swim a mile without stopping, I’d have laughed in your face. Today I did it with total confidence as part of my taper for this weekend’s race. I love triathlon and who I’ve become because of it! And, quite honestly, party because of you and all your motivation and inspiration. I might just have quit had I not read your blogs about trying on the wetsuit and your first open water panic attack. <3 you SBM!

  • Jennifer

    August 21, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    You truly inspire me. I love reading your posts. You are an amazing woman. I will repeat these words to myself Sunday as I complete ironman Louisville “move forward, try harder, never give up”. Thanks for the inspiring words. :0)

  • Angie

    August 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    I had a similar moment this morning. I was running (slowly, as usual), and I was contemplating my negative body issues. I decided then and there that while my body may be flabbier and a little heavier than I would like it to be, this is the body that carried and fed 4 children (still feeding one) and has done tris and running races for the last 5 years (including a personal best on Sunday). I decided to train with joy and stop beating myself up over the number on the scale. We’ll see how long I can sustain it…

  • Melissa

    August 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    I had a similar realization the other day as I got into the pool to do my longest swim to date. In February I could barely swim 100 meters and bike 5 miles, the running I (sort of) had going on already.

    To date, I’ve raced in 4 sprints (PR’d 2 of them, got 3rd place in one) and in 2 weeks I will compete in my first OLY Triathlon. I am constantly amazed with how far I’ve come and how far I want to go (have my eyes set on 2 Half Ironmans next year). A lot of my friends and coworkers tell me crazy and sometimes I believe them but in the end, I have truly become the person and athlete that I aspire to be.

    Thanks for the motivation to keep going!


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