Thursday, February 6, 2014

WANTED: Fast, non-judgmental training partner w/ tri-bike & open to travel

True Friends

Our friends’ influence us every day.  We often become like the people we associate with most.  With big dreams come tough challenges!  During these times we often discover how good our friends really are, or aren’t. 

When I was in college, I hated running.  I played 4 years of basketball and avoided long distance running like a plague… until I came across the Leukemia Society Team in Training opportunity to travel to Hawaii!  I always wanted to go to Hawaii and I figured if I could raise the money, then I could just walk the marathon.  When I told some of my friends, they told me I was crazy.  I listened.  Not only did I not make it to Hawaii, I didn’t even try! 

When I moved to Florida after college, I started gaining weight since I didn’t have basketball conditioning to fall back on.  I noticed a woman a few houses down from mine running a lot, so I started running with her… more like jog-walking barely able to make it 2 miles!  So maybe my friends were right, I must be crazy!  I stuck with it though – did a few 5ks and the run portion of sprint relays – always passing out in the car on the way home. 

Eventually, my friend helped me to complete my first sprint tri (non-relay). Of course, it decided to storm at day, but the race went on!  Unfortunately, my other ½ (at the time) decided not to show up so as I crossed the finish line I didn’t see him.  I kept looking…  no luck.  Needless to say, that relationship didn’t work out. 

The next few years, my training friends helped me prep for my first ever half ironman.  It wasn’t pretty, but I did it all!  Over the years, my times were sliced-and-diced!  I went from a 6ish hour half Ironman to a sub-5 hour just about everywhere I went all while working full time and going to school.  The next other ½ (at the time) pushed me to get a lot faster until one race he thought I beat him.  At the finish, he told me I was moving out so I laughed… he didn’t.  And another one bites the dust!

I felt I had plateaued and wasn’t making improvements.  I was aching and was generally not having much fun in the sport anymore so I took a break.  In all my spare time working full time I completed a doctoral program in Biomedical Sciences – many told me I couldn’t do both.  So what do I do?  Both AND kept training for triathlons!  I did have to cut back and ended up taking off about 2 years from serious racing, but otherwise I learned a lot both in and out of school.  Like who would help support me in this challenging time especially when my new other half deployed to Afghanistan.  One friend in particular helped me more than any other!  What made it more important was that I didn’t have to ask for the help. 

Throughout his deployment, I quickly learned he would be there for me no matter what I decided to do.  He helped me study from Iraq and Afghanistan.  He was proud of me when I beat him in a race and I was proud of him when he beat me.  After a history of relationships that didn’t work out, I finally found the one!  Funny how it is during these challenging times in life that you often find out who your true friends are!  It makes me wonder what life would’ve been like if I was able to find such good friends that would support me through all the tough times and challenging goals earlier in life? 

Through triathlon, we meet a TON of wonderful people but it’s hard to keep in touch with all of them, let alone which ones to reach out to for training companionship no matter where we are in the world.  One app that can help you find great friends like these to be there when you are looking for a challenge is Activebudz.  Download it here:  Activebudz app  And if you’re ever curious of who your real friends are – see how they react to your next challenge!

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