Swim, Bike, Run, Donate!

The power of saying, “I can” instead of, “I can’t”

Today at 8:04 AM, I became an (un) official triathlete. Completing a triathlon is something four months ago, I would have never imagined (seriously, not in my wildest dreams), but like so many things four months ago, a lot has changed.

When I was in 3rd grade, I switched schools, and with that new school came fewer sports, and a less active lifestyles. During this time, I ballooned to 213 lbs, and it took some time to get back to a place where I felt comfortable with myself. Even throughout high school and parts of college, I never saw myself as an athlete. For some reason, I had a narrative in my head that, “This is not you, and it never will be.” I ran 5k’s, 10k’s, and even played on the Babson Rugby team, but I would have never considered myself as athletic. Goes to show that it can take yearsssss to get over even the smallest things from our childhood.

During my Junior year of college, things began to change, and I found activities I truly enjoyed. Because I loved these activities so much, I was able to do them consistently, and I saw myself improve. It was seeing this improvement that I believe proved to myself that I was a different person, someone who was athletic, someone who could do these things I had always seen as impossible. This was huge for my confidence and grit as it showed me my ability to tap into the power we all have inside of us to push forward and overcome. I know, doing a Flywheel class is not overcoming a huge obstacle; still, my ability to overcome those small challenges allowed me to overcome many more significant barriers I would be faced with. When you experience yourself struggling, and come out the other side ok enough times, you build confidence for the next challenge that comes your way. But I never could have imagined the challenge that was coming my way.

In March, like many people, my life changed in countless ways. But because I had built this self-confidence over all the years prior, I knew I would be ok, and I knew that I would be able to handle this new paradigm, and anything I would need to overcome.

In addition to bracing for any challenges that might come my way, I also knew that I needed to find new outlets for my time, energy, and thought, and that’s how I got into back cycling…. Yes, like a Peloton that moves.

When I was younger, I loved to cycle. Growing up in Northern California, I was from the place where mountain biking was created. But like many things we do as kids, I stopped keeping up with it as I grew older. When I started going to indoor cycling classes, I don’t think I ever really made the connection between this new found love, and a childhood hobby, but being back home for the foreseeable future, I knew I needed to give it a try…. Turns out, it would become an obsession. Planning routes, watching cycling videos, and going on rides became my life. For the 1–4 hours I’d be on a ride, I would have a totally clear head, and especially at a time like this, having 4 hours of peace was such a special thing, and such a privilege. Going on these daily rides was amazing, but I wanted to do more, I knew I could do more.

It was after a couple of months of these daily bike rides that I knew I needed to do a fundraiser….. But then I asked myself….

How do people raise money riding a bike?

I first thought about a 100-mile ride, a century, or maybe biking down to Santa Cruz, but many of my friends could easily do that on a Saturday. I knew to get people interested in the event and in the organization, it would have to be something more special, and frankly more of a challenge. It was then that I decided to make it a triathlon. This would be something I never thought I would do, something I knew very little about, but I knew it would be a challenge. I was able to find some friends who were on their college triathlon teams (who even knew that was a thing), and we began training. This included swimming in the San Francisco Bay, something I definitely didn’t think I would ever do. Having their support through this process was crucial to my success, and I am so grateful we were able to do this together.

Now, possibly the most important part of this story is that this triathlon was to benefit a charity, No Kid Hungry, which provides meals to children in need. America has a lot of issues and many areas in need of structural change, but child hunger is something I feel we often overlook. I was horrified when I found out that in a normal year,

According to the USDA, more than 11 million children in the United States live in “food insecure” homes.

In 2020, due to COVID 19 and schools being closed, this number could be closer to 18 million children. As a country, we love to pretend that basic issues such as hunger, homelessness, and poverty are issues of the past. Unfortunately, these problems are impacting millions and millions of Americans, especially at a time like this. I ask, if you have made it this far into this post you check-out No Kid Hungry and consider donating to them directly through their website or through my Go Fund Me, where the ALL money will go directly to them.

Another link to my fundraiser- https://www.gofundme.com/manage/no-kid-hungry-triathlon

Finally, as I said in the start of this post, for so long I would only tell myself, “I can’t”. Looking back, I feel as though I held myself back from so so much and so many opportunities. Now, I know there will still be times I can’t quite get myself to the point of giving something a try or taking the risk of saying, “Yes”. But I know that the times I am able to go for it, whatever the outcome, I’ll be ok.