A year ago, after I completed my first IronMan 70.3 I wrote a blog just like this one about how I went from Zero to IronMan 70.3 in 8 months. I shared my struggles, how I learned to swim and cycle, trying to manage my time with kids and work and how if I could do it, any one can.
Today, as I reflect on the IM70.3 Dubai 2018, one thing that stands out the most is a lady I met a year ago. She messaged me on Facebook messenger, said she had been reading my blog and wanted to see if we can meet. She, also, is a mother of 2 and dreams of doing the race but does not know how to swim or run and had just started cycling.
That message made my day. I felt like if I could change someones mind-set or help someone achieve their dreams, then I am doing something right.
Now, I must admit, I get quite a few people messaging me, asking to meet and I always leave the ball in their court. If they make an effort, I am more than happy and willing to spend as much time as possible to help them achieve their dreams.
We arranged a time to meet and in walked this beautiful lady and in her eyes was determination and fear. She really wanted to complete an IronMan 70.3 but was too scared to even think about it. We talked. I did my best to share the simple side of the sport. The tricks and tips that I had learned and offered my support. We kept in touch and I continued to check up on her and her progress.
I was amazed.
- She was quiet
- She was consistent
- She was fierce
- She was strong
- She was dedicated
Every day, she got stronger and stronger. But more than that, nothing stopped her. She was afraid of the sea and got stung by a jelly fish on her first sea swim. But a few weeks later, we went out to the sea together, we did a short swim and she did fantastic.
We went running one day, and she was worried about her heart rate going too high — I tried to calm her nerves and explained that she shouldn’t compare her heart rate to anyone and to just go with how she feels.
Over the year, she became the consistent athlete. She became more confident. More fit. Faster. She followed her training program to the dot. She did everything perfectly. And as things in my training and life got complicated and busy, the tables turned.
When I was down, she encouraged me to continue.
When I considered dropping out of the race in Dubai this year, she kept checking up on me to make sure I would do it. A big part of the reason why I did the race was her. She sent me our bib numbers and they were close to one another, and I told her I might not do the race because of personal reasons. And whether she knows it or not, our conversations after that day are what encouraged me to do the race.
The morning of the big race came along, and as she racked her bike, calm and collected, we said our good lucks and headed in for the swim.
While on the bike, I was worried about her because she should have been on the course, I was wondering if something had happened to her on the swim. But then I screamed out to her as I saw her across the street on the bike. I knew she’d be perfectly fine.
She came up from behind me on the run and ran by my side because she saw I was in pain. The joy I felt when I saw her running consistently strong was indescribable. I was certain right then and there that she was going to get that medal and she was going to make herself, her daughters, her husband and her family very proud.
When I look around for stories of inspiring people (and women) I think of women like Maya. There are a lot of people who make a lot of noise but don’t really do anything extraordinary… but then there are the quiet ones, who put their mind to something, day in and day out, train hard, work hard, give it their all and achieve great things.
As I ran down to the finish line with tears down my face because of pain in my leg (I’ll leave that for another day), Maya was standing there, with her medal around her neck and I had an overwhelming sense of pride in what she has accomplished. The student had become the teacher, and I was happy.
Maya, as someone once told me, its easy to put in the hours and train to do a race like this… but getting over fears, learning new skills, being consistent and achieving what you set your mind to is very special and takes a certain kind of character and person… it takes an IronWoman. And that is what you are.