Wondering what 1 Year 2 Tri means?
In a nutshell, I’ve had a bumpy 20+ year journey from athlete –> ex-athlete –> athlete-in-progress. Despite a long hiatus from competitive running and swimming, I just recently decided that I wasn’t ready to give up on my dream of one day doing something out of the ordinary with athletics. So…with the support of my fam…
I’m going to commit (at least) a full year to dedicated and coached triathlon training.
1 year 2 tri…get it? 🙂
That’s the quick and dirty of it. Keep reading for the slightly longer version:
You’re still reading?!
Well, I’m Kelly.
I’m an American expat living in Shanghai, China. I’m a wife and a mom of two rambunctious littles. I stay home with said littles but I also tutor, blog, and free-lance write on the side. And I’m sort of an accidental triathlete. But I’ll tell you more about that another day.
Before I was a washed-up ex-athlete, I was an actual athlete, and while I never got close to the professional ranks, I was a fairly accomplished prep swimmer/NCAA Division 1 collegiate middle-distance runner who’d always had dreams of making it to the big times.
But after a fair number of setbacks and a wildly disappointing collegiate athletic career, I lost my passion for competition, and upon graduation happily transitioned to ex-athlete/on-again-off-again-recreational-runner.
Several years, two kids, and about 30 pounds later, I’d full-on converted to washed-up ex-athlete. I still enjoyed working out for my health and my sanity, but I had largely given up on any sort of goal-oriented competition.
While I dabbled in Cross Fit and a half marathon or two, I was too preoccupied with play dates and diaper changes to fully commit to anything serious. While I missed the fitness I’d once had, I was happy to be in a new phase of life, and when I spoke about the past I was always quick to point out that I was okay with the shape I was in, and it was okay that I would never again be a successful athlete…
I’d had my chance. It was time to move on.
But in reality that wasn’t altogether true.
I actually missed just about everything that sports had given me for a majority of my life.
I missed the routine, the hard-work, the discipline, the dreaming, the achieving; it was all so much apart of the fabric of who I was that even after 10 years away, I felt incomplete without it.
And, deep down, I’d always felt my athletic career had ended with too much unfinished business.
But was it realistic to think I could get fit again? Would it be possible to give it another serious go?
I decided that I could either sit around and make excuses for why it wasn’t possible, or I could get busy trying.
So I chose the latter, and in October 2015–9 months after my daughter was born–began training for an IRONMAN.
Over the course of the next year I’d shed 15 pounds, work my way back up to swimming 4,000 meters nonstop, increase my long run distance to almost 20 miles and complete my first Century Ride (100 mile bike ride).
And then, on October 2, 2016, I finished IRONMAN Taiwan–my first IRONMAN and third triathlon–and qualified for the 2017 IRONMAN World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
The qualification was obviously a huge surprise and incredibly unexpected, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t pictured it happening in my head about 1,000 times before I’d even made it to the start line.
Not only did IRONMAN prove to me that I still loved training and competing, but it reminded me that I could still have a dream and work hard to make it come true; this was truly an epiphany for me.
Because for a long time, I’d sort of stopped believing that.
And it was the qualification that finally convinced me to give this triathlon deal a real go; to fully invest in myself and see what might be possible.
It might be nothing.
But it could be everything.
And it’s the could that makes the journey so much fun.
So while I have so much to learn and so far to go (and another 15 pounds to lose…), I’ve hired an amazing coach and am treating myself to (at least) one year of focused triathlon training to see where things might lead; to give myself another chance to fulfill a few dreams. And I of course plan to chronicle the journey that will inevitably be filled with both highs and lows, ups and downs.
My round about trip from athlete to non-athlete and hopefully back again has ultimately been a blessed one; I loved having a career and I’ve loved becoming a mother, and each experience away from the world of athletics has given me a renewed motivation and a much healthier perspective on the role I want training and competition to play in my life.
And while my story might be about athletics, I think the framework of it applies to most people in a variety of situations.
We all have big dreams when we’re young, but how many of us have quit dreaming?
Whether you wanted to travel or learn a language or become a doctor or a humanitarian, how many of those things will you check off that list? Whatever your unrealized dream may be, have you really given up on it, or could it be worth another shot?
It’s never too late to pursue something you love.
I want to keep dreaming.