3 Years Ago

3 years ago this last week I started my journey in to weight loss and triathlons. I can’t believe it’s been 4 years. Since then I’ve gone from a size 24 to a size 6.

3 years ago I looked like this:

Me at 275 lbs.

I weighed in at 275 lbs and wore a size 24 jeans.

Alot of people have asked me what motivated me to lose weight and start doing triathlons. It took a LOOOOONG time for me to get motivated to do a triathlon. It all started a long time ago when I saw Team Hoyt on Oprah. I knew after I heard his story that if Dick Hoyt could do an Ironman with his son in tow, so could I.

My inspiration,

I didn’t know how to go about doing a triathlon. When I saw Team Hoyt on Oprah, I didn’t know that they had Sprint distance triathlons or anything like that. I think I was overwhelmed with how to get in shape to do a triathlon.

Well, in January 2009, my dear friend Tawni that I went to high school with had put up on Facebook that her husband was organizing a triathlon for August and invited me to do it. She had just sent out a general invitation to all of her friends. For some reason this hit a spark with me and it was like an aha moment of now was my chance to do a triathlon. I thought for 1 1/2 months on whether or not I wanted to do this triathlon. I honestly didn’t know if I was capable of doing a triathlon.

On March 1, 2009 I paid the $40 to do the Bountiful Triathlon. $40 might not be alot to some people, but $40 is alot to me. Paying that $40 was my motivation. I wasn’t going to lose that $40. I was going to make sure I got my money’s worth. That’s what kept me going and training for my first triathlon.

First thing I knew I had to do was get in shape and lose weight. I looked up online what my correct body weight should be for my height (5′ 10″) and it said it was anywhere from 135-165 lbs. So, I picked that my ideal weight would be 150 lbs. Right in the middle. So, that gave me a target goal. Since then, my ideal weight has changed, but that’s a whole different topic.

For breakfast EVERY morning, I had 1 packet of oatmeal and a yogurt. I really started watching what I put in my mouth. I didn’t eat ANY fast food. NOTHING. I had to go all or nothing. I didn’t even have cheat days like I have now. For lunch I would have a Smart Ones frozen meal and that’s it. I wouldn’t have a salad like I have now. For dinner I would have a Smart Ones. I would have a snack here & there if I got hungry, but that’s it.

Then, every day I would go to the gym and do what was required for the triathlon. I’d wake up every morning and swim 350 yards. After work, I’d go ride a bike 12 miles and then walk 3 miles. I couldn’t run. That was just out of the question. I just hoped that by the day of the triathlon I’d be able to run part of the 3 miles. I did this 7 days a week. Thankfully my brother was on the swim team when he was in high school and almost set state records, so if I had questions about my swimming, he was able to answer them.

Once we got in to summer, I took my mountain bike out and started riding my bike outside. I found out the course of the triathlon and that’s what I would ride every day. Very quickly I smartened up and knew if I really wanted to do this and get serious about this triathlon stuff that I would need a road bike, not a cheap, crappy $70 mountain bike from Wal-Mart that had already been in a wreck. So, before my triathlon I did go buy a road bike. It wasn’t an expensive one by any means, but it was better than my road bike.

I saw the pounds shedding off on the scale. It was AMAZING. I’d never felt like this before. I started to see some confidence in myself. I had the support of my friends and family.

Two weeks prior to the race, the race director (Tawni’s husband) and other participants put together a practice race. Thank God they did that because otherwise I would’ve been screwed. I was going in to this new world of triathlons blind as a bat. I had NO clue there were special bike stands for the transition area, I knew NOTHING. I look back at it now and find it quite comical. It was good to practice the bike route though. There was one hill on the bike route going over an overpass that I was worried about. I was able to climb the overpass, but oh man, my heart rate was up there.

The day of the triathlon came. I went in to the triathlon with NO expectations. All I wanted to do was finish the triathlon. That’s it. It was a reverse triathlon, so it started with the run and ended with the swim. It was awesome. My coworkers came to the race, my aunt came to the race, they made signs along the route, my brother & his family came to the race, everybody came to cheer me on.

Even though I went in to the race with no expectations but to finish it, I was SHOCKED when I finished the race in 1:45:05 and some change! I thought I’d definitely be over 2 hours. I had to walk part of the run, I did the bike, but not very fast and the swim was tough.

I'm in the blue headed off on the run.

Headed back from the bike.

I finished!

Honestly, as I was getting ready for my first triathlon I thought, I’ll never do an Ironman triathlon, after I finish my first triathlon, that’ll be it. I’ll go home and I will have accomplished one of my goals. Boy was I wrong. I remember going home after my first triathlon and immediately getting on the computer and signing up for 2 more triathlons that year!

Since then, I’ve done countless sprint triathlons, 1 olympic distance triathlon, I’ve done three 1/2 marathons, I’m getting ready to do my first full marathon, and many many more Olympic distance triathlons. I’ve also set a goal to do my first full Ironman in 2014!

Today, I look like this, 100 pounds lighter:

What would my former self say to me now? I don’t know the exact words, but I know one of them would be “Wow!!! Look at what you can accomplish girl if you just set your mind to it.” I know one thing I repeatedly say to myself is why didn’t I start doing this stuff earlier? I wish I would’ve known I would enjoy this stuff so much. But, there’s no more looking at the past. It doesn’t do any good. 🙂

All I have to say to anybody who doesn’t think they can do anything is, if you set your mind to it, you can do ANYTHING you want. It’s worth it.

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2 thoughts on “3 Years Ago”

  1. YOU.ARE.AMAZING. The End…

    No seriously I am SOOO impressed that you just decided you were going to do this – all by yourself and DID and have only moved onward and upward. I’m SO inspired by you Ara and I’m SOOOOO happy that I got to be there and witness your FIRST TRI!!!

    1. Seriously Tawni, if you hadn’t invited me to do that triathlon, I don’t know if I would’ve done it. Thanks for always having encouraging words & cheering me on. It means the world to me.

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