It's been almost one month since I participated (and won) the South Beach triathlon. As I prepare to run (and hopefully beat my co-workers in) Thursday's Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run, I am reminiscing about my short journey in the tri world and why this victory absolutely had to happen.
Two years ago, Tom—one of my co-workers who is an incredible cyclist—asked me to be the runner in his relay team for the 2015 Escape to Miami triathlon. We had talked a few times about how much I enjoy running and how, that year, I was vying to run an average of one mile per day, or 365 miles total. Unfortunately, the week before the race I returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic severely weakened by a possible parasite from exposure to unsafe water. The ordeal had cost me 10 pounds and the ability to eat solid foods up to a few days before the race. There was no way I could run the 10K on race day.
Motivated by the commitment I had made to my relay team, I guilted my sister Lucy—who is not a runner and who does not believe in working out because "if you stop working out, you lose your muscle anyway"—into running the race on my behalf. Needless to say, Lucy didn't make a good time the day of the race. (I was impressed, as was she, that she even finished.) Alas, the team didn't place and I didn't think Tom would ever invite me to join one of his relay teams again.
Last September, I finished the Tunnel to Towers 5K at a record time (25:57) and, like every good millennial, I posted my race results on Facebook. Tom "liked" it. The next week he was in my office congratulating me and pitching the 2017 South Beach triathlon. I accepted the offer immediately, knowing this was my one chance to make up for what happened back in 2015 and to prove I'm invaluable to his relay team. I was already training hard for the 2017 Key West Half Marathon in January, but I started pushing myself a little bit harder. After all, the training was also leading me toward the tri race in April.
I woke up on April 2 with butterflies in my stomach. As the runner, the last person on a tri relay team to perform, it was up to me to make the hard work of our swimmer, Brittany, and Tom worthwhile. (Not to mention, I felt the pressure of delivering the race speeds of which I had been boasting on social media. Humble brags be damned.) Unsurprisingly, Brittany and Tom killed it. They gave me such a head start that I was surrounded all four miles solely by elite male athletes and was the third woman overall to cross the finish line.
Okay, so I didn't break any world records and I certainly wasn't the fastest relay runner. But, I held my own, completing my portion at a 8:30/mi pace (despite the unbearable heat and fact that I was the only person wearing long pants that morning...don't ask). Most importantly, we placed first in our category!!!! I was certainly proud of myself for reaching my goals, but there was no validation quite like Tom approaching me at the end of the race to ask if I'm free September 24 to compete in the Escape to Miami triathlon...
Are you a runner or a triathlete? Have you competed in any of our local races? Which is your favorite? What motivated you to start competing? What race(s) will you be participating in this year? Leave a comment below or send us a tweet @ThankYouMiami!