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Dear Meredith,

Hi everyone. Virginia here. I have been struggling with what to write this week. I felt very “cared for” by the SBM community last week, but I have still been struggling with what to write. First, I want to say thank you for all of those who worried about me. I was touched. I did not go to the doctor last week, but I did talk to one and to a few other “experts.” I am feeling better. I’m ok.

BUT….now that I have something to say, I don’t want to write about that. What I want to write is my response to Meredith, THE Swim Bike MomI just finished reading her post, “An Unworthy Life”. I am in tears. I am touched. I am so thankful that she will “put it out there” and just BE and FEEL what she is and feels. So, I am writing her a response letter.

Dear Meredith,

 Thank you for showing your insecurity. I know you feel it. I feel it too. I, too, feel like a fraud. When I am feeling strong, something silly always brings me down. Here are my examples as of late.

 1)   I have a  new teaching job, so many people don’t know about my triathlons, etc. I will say that I am lonely in this job. I haven’t made friends like I had at my old job. I feel like the dork in a high school full of cool kids. Recently I did talk to someone at work about triathlon and that person told another person. Days later I was walking down the hall and a teacher said, “Hey, I heard you do triathlons.” I responded that I do and that I’m training for my first Ironman. He said, “Wow. You are emaciated like those other triathletes I know.” OUCH! Ok….so I know I am not FAT (I DO KNOW IT, even if I don’t FEEL it), but that comment hurt. I felt like he had pointed and said “hey, fatty!”

2)   I feel like a bad mom. I run with a woman who I really like, but she is always telling me how “lucky” I am that my husband does so much and “lets” me train. I have told her about a million times that 90% of what I do is when they are sleeping, but she still says it….. a lot…….

3)   I feel like an outsider in exercise. I have a few women I now run with. It’s been great. I felt like I was fitting in. Last week I was talking with them about scheduling the week and I mentioned that I missed them on the six miles I ran alone the day before. One of them said I was “co-dependent.” She said it as a joke….but it hurt. It reminded me that I am the “new” one and made me feel like I’m around too much. There are also other “groups” that run in my town. I’m on several message boards with them, etc., but I’m an outsider. I don’t really know them. One particularly nice guy literally introduces himself to me EVERYTIME I show up to something (which is not a lot). I am totally forgettable.

4)   I’m a fraud. Training for an Ironman is just stupid. I’m not sure why I think I can do it. For example, I just pushed my swim that was supposed to be tonight to tomorrow after my run because I’m tired from my run this morning and day of work. FRAUD. NON-Ironman trainee.

 So, Meredith, I’m not making excuses for any of this. Usually, when I am negative, I force myself to look for a bright side. I am not going to do that right now. I am going to let myself feel lonely, fat, and fraudulent, and I’m going to own it. You know why? …Because I know that I can be strong like you are, just on another day. I know that I will move past these crappy feelings, because you did and you do. When I started to train for my first sprint triathlon, I wasn’t sure I could do it. I found your blog, and you convinced me I could. You didn’t know me. You didn’t have a book. You weren’t an ironman. You were just a blogger….starting out…trying out….inspiring me. I knew that if you, a working mother of two kids, could complete your journeys, I could too. Now, you have a huge following. You are on the cover of magazines. You are sponsored. You have multiple websites. You do podcasts. You sell stuff with your brand on it. You are YOU …. All THAT … THE Swim Bike Mom, but you weren’t when I found you. You were just Meredith Atwood, blogger making a name for herself and trying to tri harder and farther. It was because you were simply you that I was happy to find you.

Thank you for inspiring me. I wouldn’t be here without you. I can’t promise you’ll feel better soon. I can’t promise that I will. I can swear that you changed my life.

 Much love,



  • Lindsay

    January 25, 2014 at 1:52 am

    You changed my life too Meredith. I think so many of us have those days or instances or weeks or sometimes even months where we feel like shit about ourselves despite our accomplisents. I lost my job 3 months ago and have struggled every day with feelings of worthlessness, but I have had Triathlon and the Tri-Fecta group and my local Tri club that has given me something to look forward to and to be a part of. I’ve been having an especially hard time recently and your post today really reasonated with me. But I just want you to know that Rinny and Chrissie didn’t change my life, you did.

  • Jill

    January 25, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Training for my first half ironman here. Identical feelings; working two full-time jobs, and wondering how in the world I can possibly THINK I can do this. It’s in august. I train starting at 4:30am and don’t get home from my second job until 10:30pm. Friends and family try to be supportive, but they don’t get it. Heck, I don’t get it a lot of the time. It’s FREEZING outside when I go run. (Utah)
    Meredith and Virginia, you’re both inspiring me today. Thank you. I desperately needed it. The trend of, “I can do hard things” as a motto is actually annoying to me. I DO hard things. ANYBODY can. Most people don’t. You DO.
    Big hugs from Utah. Thank you for everything.

  • Jessica Chatten-Brown

    January 25, 2014 at 10:39 am

    Thank you, Virginia, for sharing all of this! I, too, love Meredith and know why you are a guest blogger on her site, as you are fantastic, as well. The three of us (and SO many other moms and dads and families) share in these struggles, but as you said, you just keep moving forward and trying your best. Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with us, the tri/mom/family community, and for being so honest and raw about it all. How lucky are we to have others who resonate with our feelings and experiences?

    I hope you have a wonderful training weekend, sister! 😉

  • Charlotte

    January 25, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Meredith and Virginia,

    Thank you. Thank you both for giving THIS mommy of 3 (with newborn) strength to find identity through tri. I need you to feel human. I need you to not feel alone with blurry eyes and a shirt soaked in milk as I crawl my way to the bike (pool or treadmill). Without you, I’d feel really lost! Keep going!

    Love and light~~Charlotte


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