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I Do Three Things.

I have written many, many times about the importance of accepting ourselves as athletes, as runners, as triathletes.

I have written over and over about the importance of not downplaying our accomplishments–no matter how big or how seemingly small.  To own the athletes we are.  To work hard to get better… but be thankful right where we are, right in this moment, for all the amazing things that our bodies can accomplish.

I write and write. Blah blah blah.  

And then I completely fail at following my own advice. At least internally.


No, you are right… this post is not about Andy Potts. But who doesn’t need a little Andy Potts on a Friday.

I wanted to share an experience I had in the hot tub this morning.

(Oh wait… get your mind out of the gutter! It’s not that  kind of experience!)

So I had a 2,000 meter time trial in the pool.  Went well, was feeling pretty triathlete-like with my sore body and goggle-eyes.  I hopped out of the pool, and dipped into the hot tub adjacent to the pool.

I was alone for moment, before a super-fit guy hopped in.  I nodded at him.  And stuck my face back in my phone.

But, he was very chatty.  My poor inner introvert.

[Sidebar:  Speaking of introvert… Last night, I had a complete meltdown about our move in less than two weeks.  “The neighbors are going to hate me!” I screamed at the Expert, who stared at me like I was crazy.  “Why are the neighbors going to hate you,” he screamed right back, “Because you are crazy!??!”  Oh.  Well… “Maybe I am crazy!”  And I burst into tears. All of that was my introvert… she’s terrified of all of these changes.  These are a tough few weeks ahead for Swim Bike Crazy.

Which reminded me…  I had a friend who I saw at “Gear and Glimmer” and he was all, “I read your blog. I never knew you were an introvert. This type of event seems to put you in your element.”   True. I love social events. I am very social.  But I collapse with exhaustion afterwards, and sweat bullets the entire time I’m there… anyway. Major sidebar. Back to topic.]

So anyway,  the guy sees that I am sitting in the hot tub with  my phone.

“Wow, that’s risky,” he says, pointing to my phone.

“Oh, Lifeproof case. Waterproof,” I say, sticking my nose back in Instagram.

“Hey, are you a swimmer?”  he asks.

3400 meters scheduled. Time to rock and roll.

And I freeze.

Oh no…  not one of those questions.  And after I just wrote about the Doubt Beeyotch!

Am I a swimmer?  Am I a swimmer?  Well, I just swam… so that makes me a swimmer…

And my Doubt Beeyotch goes on, inside my head:  I am a swimmer.  But wait.   Actually, I am more than just a swimmer.   I am a triathlete.   I do three sports!   Three!    Right, but I don’t look like it.   Oh geez.  I hate this question. 

I may have taken entirely too long to answer.


“Oh well,” I started to say.  Then I seriously gulped, and said, “Actually, I am a triathlete.  I do three things.”

(Instantly, I’m like, “Stupid! Who says, ‘I do three things!!'”)

Turns out, Chatty McHotTub was super nice, was a triathlete himself, did Louisville a few years ago, and we had a nice little chat and that was that.

As I was in the shower, it hit me.


I am STILL struggling with owning my athleticism. Still.

Un-freaking-real.  I actually gulped before I said, “I am a triathlete.”

I paused. I hesitated and I let myself feel shy, unworthy and embarrassed right there.

After all the stuff I write, all the races and training, and I still *gulp* and say stupid crap when people ask me about my training.  I thought I had worked this out already.

“I do three things.”

June 2013. Just sayin. #imcda

Today, I am making it my purpose to “do three [other] things”!

1) Admit to myself that I am a triathlete

2) Say it out loud, and

3) Once and for all– mean it.

So here goes:

My name is Meredith.  And I am a triathlete.  And I mean it. 

How about you?  Are you owning your athleticism?  Are you admitting you are an athlete yet?  If no… what is stopping you?



  • Kathy Bruinooge

    March 21, 2014 at 11:33 am

    funny, after my run this morning which I haven’t run in a while, so I’m back to run/walking.. I said to myself, at least I got out there. I never consider myself a triathlete, yet I have finished 3 sprint and one longer sprint race. I have signed up to do an international length aquabike. 1 mile swim (getting audiofloods- thanks for review) and a 20 mile bike. I do consider myself a swimmer and cyclist, but not the runner, but I do run. I will make myself a believer today! thanks again

  • Alicia Yuhas

    March 21, 2014 at 11:45 am

    Great topic. I struggle with this too…actually voicing the words “I am a triathlete” and also separating myself from the “real” runners.

    First sprint tri packet pick up, there was an “althlete check-in sign” with a rope divider and I stood in front of it looking around for so long, someone asked if they could help me find something. I asked her where I go to pick up my bib. She said “right through here” waving me beyond “the rope” – the rope meant (I thought) to separate the “real” triathletes from people like me. I stammered “but that says ‘athletes only'” and she smiled and asked if I was racing. I mumbled something about “participating” and “just trying to get through it” and she smiled and said “well, then YOU are an athlete!”

    Wish I could have as much confidence in myself as that random stranger. What is the enzyme or gene that I am missing that causes me to dismiss my hard work so quickly and not be proud of what I have accomplished/am accomplishing?

    Thanks for putting it all out there Meredith and helping me realize I am not alone. Us triathletes need to stick together!

  • Missee

    March 21, 2014 at 11:50 am

    I was thinking about this very topic last night as I was swimming. I have a hard time calling myself a triathlete because I don’t place. I decided last night that I don’t just “do triathlons.” I am a triathlete.

    Thanks for your inspiring posts! It’s bizarre how closely they align to my own thinking! 🙂

    Good luck with the move!

  • Michele @ Micheleontherun

    March 21, 2014 at 11:54 am

    This is SO CRAZY STUPID, but I just did the same thing last night. I was at a weight loss challenge after party and I was talking with one of the hostesses who was commenting about how great I looked and I down played it. She asked what I was doing and I mentioned swimming, biking, and running like I was just barely doing any of them. She asked if I was part of the group of friends who were doing the tri this summer and I said,”Yes” and she replied that it was great that I was going to try my first triathlon. I didn’t even have the guts to tell her that I was training for a 70.3 or that I had done multiple sprints or more. OR God forbid that I WAS a a GULP “TRIATHLETE” already. WHY IS IT SO HARD?!?!?!?!

  • Carrie

    March 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Yesterday someone asked me if I was a runner. I started to hem and haw and then I totally channeled you and said YES! I AM A RUNNER! So even if you don’t take your own advice, know that other people do, and we appreciate it!!

  • Jayne

    March 21, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    This is so me!!! I had the same thing happen to me after a swim workout, sitting in the hot tub & someone asked me if I was a triathlete. Took me a few seconds to answer also! I loved this post, Thank you!!! I AM a TRIATHLETE!!!

  • Mo

    March 21, 2014 at 12:59 pm

    I was trying on new running shoes today and the guy was asking me what i’m training for and how far do I run. I immediately blurted out, “oh, I’m not a runner, I’m a triathlete”! Mad at myself for not taking ownership of the “run” but super proud I needed him to know I do triathlons! Even though I’m a broken triathlete right now, no one is going to take that a way from me. I am a triathlete!

  • gina scott

    March 21, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Great one ……I always tell people I am a swimmer and I do bike and pretend to run. … see I can own up to swimming as I started competitive swimming when i was 6 and biking but not running. …..I am not a fast runner and so many triathletes are runners first and so flippin’ fast. …..I have a hard time saying I am a runner or triathlete……thank you for helping me say I am a triathlete!!!!

  • Erin

    March 21, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I sooo did this last weekend on a social ride. Stupidly sold my road bike and only have my tri bike. Some woman asked me, “Are you a triathlete?” And my reply was, “Well, let’s just say I muddle through and finish triathlon courses.” Then began the cycle of beating myself up for beating myself up. =/

  • Susan Stewart

    March 21, 2014 at 1:41 pm

    Love this Meredith.
    I did the same thing at the chiropractor’s office. He asked me what I do to stay active, and I tell him I swim, bike and run… He says oh you are a triathlete. He has to frickin’ say it for me. good grief!

  • Mark Thalman

    March 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Last weekend I ran the Rock and Roll USA half marathon and set a PR by seven minutes. The following Monday I was asked by snarky office guy how it went. At this point I would normally have stared at my shoes and mumbled something about having a “pretty good day” or “making progress.” This time I looked him squarely in the eye and said, “I was f@&king EPIC!” Slightly surprised he mumbled something like, “It must feel good to be epic.” Yes it does. And it feels even better to say it out loud! Own it SBM!

  • Melissa

    March 21, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    So I own that I am a triathlete… BUT this is how it goes down:
    I meet someone new and we introduce ourselves. The inevitable question arises…”what do you do?” Is asked.. My answer is “I do triathlons.” Then they ask what I do for work. As a stay at home mom to a 2 and 3 year old I always get offended… Because I work my ass off in our sport and as an athlete. I recently went back to work ONLY to afford my triathlons… So the answer now is I do triathlons, I raise my kids and I personal train to pay for my races. My name is melissa and I am a triathlete!

  • Sandi

    March 21, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    This was a great post. I do the same thing. I have done a number of triathlons including a half-ironman last year but I don’t OWN it. I know these are stupid reasons why not but its the truth: 1. I weigh about 15 pounds more than I should and I always think people are asking themselves, “why doesn’t she weigh less if she is exercising so much?” 2. I am not fast. When people ask about marathons the first thing they say is “how long did it take you?” Well, because I am slower it takes me 5 hours and after I say that to people other than my friends or family I get an “Oh” like it took me so long I should not even get the credit for it in their mind even though they have never run one.

  • Denise

    March 21, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I was ok saying I was a triathlete when I was 30 lbs lighter and in my top athletic form but now that I’m pudgy and injured I don’t feel right about claiming to be a triathlete anymore. I used to be one but right now I am at square one again and I keep having setbacks. I had a major biccucle accident two years ago that derailed me for six months. I’m talking major injuries. But just when I was about to do another Tri a year later my Mom died after 19 days in ICU. Then three months later I broke my ankle jogging. I recently startd biking again in preparation for my annual century ride in May and came down with the flu. I can’t catch a break and feel like I will never do another Tri. But I live vicariously thru you Mer. You are a triathlete.

  • Heather

    March 21, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    OMG!!! Such perfect timing… This morning a colleague at work walks up to me and says “You’re super athletic, I thought you’d be interested in…”. I barely heard what she said! I had this dumbstruck look on my face and all that ran through my head was “What???!!!” It’s so funny what our self perception is. I mean I share about my training and races all the time and they know I did a half ironman last August, but… I told my husband when I got home and he just laughed out loud at me and said “Honey, you train all the time! You’ve done a half ironman–if you’re not athletic I don’t know what you are!!!”

  • KarenO

    March 22, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I’m an off-the-Myers-Briggs-chart introvert myself, which no one who knows me gets, and often struggle with the “athlete” label. For some reason, saying “I do endurance sports” rolls more easily off the tongue, but then I haven’t even done my first sprint yet. By the end of September I theoretically will have completed two sprints, two olys and IM 70.3 Princeton. I don’t know if I will express my athleticism any differently after that or not.

  • Michel@Babyweightmyfatass

    March 22, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Good post!
    I just had a conversation with a woman this week about running. She said she was never athletic and I said neither was I. I still have a hard time saying I did a marathon, a few halfs. And when I people say I’m a runner I get antsy, like it’s not really true.

  • Txcristen

    March 27, 2014 at 11:12 am

    I do three things…funny! I’ve had these moments as well. I’m trying to explain something regarding my workout, and say “I’m a triathlete” but always expect the person to look me up and down like, “whaa?” I’ve been doing this sport for 7 years! When will I own it??

  • Amy Ferguson

    April 8, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Two Ironman’s under my belt, a third one on the way and I still wouldn’t ever call myself a swmmer, biker or runner. Maybe it’s because I am slower than most people I see around me when I train or just my self deprecating nature. But I can call myself a Finisher and maybe that is a good place for us to start….

  • cherylann

    October 8, 2015 at 10:56 am

    I never say “I am a triathlete” even tho I have been racing and training for 33 years as one. I don’t call myself a “runner” either, although I have been doing that for 44 years. I AM a mom, wife, educator who just happens to like swimming, cycling, running, and a ton of other stuff.
    I don’t like labels- person first!


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