Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to Conquer Your Fears and Try Something New

My 7 year old son learned how to ride a bike without training wheels before I learned how to ride a bike. Go ahead and take a second to laugh.

I grew up on 10 acres with three horses and a gravel road in the country in western Pennsylvania about 45 minutes from Pittsburgh. I played Barbies, did ballet, did gymnastics, and did a lot of reading growing up. After my parents divorced, my mom and I moved to a plan of homes. I was 16 so I got my driver’s license. I never had the opportunity to ride a bike around the neighborhood because a car was much cooler.
 
So, I never had the chance to ride a bike.
 
Fast forward several years. After having my third child, Hayden, the weight was not coming off as quick as it did with Preston and Ella from walking, so I decided to try running. I hadn’t run since I did one year of track in high school. I wanted to quit track but my mom made me stay with the sport until the season was over. When Hayden was about 6 weeks old, I started alternating walking and running for a few minutes of each on the treadmill several nights a week.

I told my friend and college sorority sister, Rachel, that I started running, and she suggested we run a 5K on Labor Day. I took on the challenge and finally mid-August, I could run for 3 miles straight. On Labor Day, I ran my first 5K in 33:20, 12 weeks after having Hayden.

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I caught the running bug! I began doing some 5K races, did the Pittsburgh Marathon on a relay team in 2010, did a 10K, etc. In the spring of 2010, my husband decided to do the Akron Marathon, and I decided to do the half marathon along with him. Soon after I decided to do the half marathon, I found out about a group of women called the Mighty Tri Girls who trained for triathlons at all levels. I emailed the coach, Sue Waldrop, and she told me about a fall half marathon training group. I began training with them in August. Sue encouraged me to join the Mighty Tri Girls in the spring. I had to break the news to her that I had never ridden a bike before. In Sue’s positive fashion, she encouraged me to do it and told me she would teach me.

In September of 2010, I ran my first half marathon in 2 hours 11 min, running the first 8 miles with my husband. It was a great experience! Now onto the hard part…..riding a bike.

letty1

In October, Sue gave me my first “lesson” at a local park. She ran alongside me holding onto the back. I felt like it was a possible feat for me to ride a bike.

I joined the Mighty Tri Girls in February 2011. Sue did a 6 week swimming clinic for us every Sunday. It was so much fun to meet the different ladies coming from all different backgrounds, all with different goals and reasons for doing a triathlon.

Sue and I met behind the Sheraton where we lived one crisp March day for a bike lesson. We could have been on America’s Funniest Videos. Sue was running alongside me, hanging onto the seat. The lesson went well. We planned to meet the following Thursday. The next week was warmer and more productive. Sue began to let go of the seat. At one point, she ran up beside me, which scared me and I crashed! I told her not to tell me if she was going to let go!

The following week, we met again. I could actually do it alone! Starting was the hardest for me. I couldn’t have done it without my coach, Sue. She was so patient with me. The positive encouragement from her meant more than she will ever know!

Now I can ride all alone. I started doing “bricks,” biking then running, in May. We started “open water” swimming this month. I am so proud to be a part of the Mighty Tri Girls and all the amazing women involved!

I am feeling much more prepared. I am facing some of my fears biking, like turning and passing runners on the trail. I still get anxious the first few minutes of each ride, but the anxieties lessen each time that I get on the bike.

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In the midst of triathlon training, I also did the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 15th and had a PR of 2 hours 10 minutes. It has been an amazing year so far for me personally, learning to ride a bike, training for the triathlon, and doing my second half marathon.

In about eight weeks, I will do my first sprint triathlon in Columbus, Ohio. It is an all woman Iron Girl triathlon. I can’t wait! I can’t say I am not nervous about biking 12 miles, but I am feeling much more prepared.

What comes next? I see a full marathon in my future.

I definitely think Letty will have NO problems killing a marathon and how good does Letty look with that bike!?!?  WTG girl, you look like a pro!  Leave a nice comment for Letty.  I mean seriously what an accomplishment! 

11 comments:

Sue W. said...

This is wonderful Letty. It has been such a pleasure working with, and getting to know you. You are truly a breath of fresh air.

Maria said...

Good luck in Columbus! It's gonna be HOT!!!

tracey smith said...

Very impressive! Love the bike! Where do you train? I would definitely be interested in a group like The Mighty Tri Girls. Good luck on your sprint tri and you can definitely complete a marathon. Go for it!

Spinningitall said...

You are amazing! You will love the IronGirl event. I do the IronGirl Duathlon in Bloomington, MN every Sept. They put on a great event and you will be surrounded by strong and inspiring women. Great job!

Juliette Harmon said...

That is sooo awesome! I have so much respect for you!

Ronald Obringer said...

Very Cool. Have a great time at the Sprint!! Congrats on taking on something new!!

amy_niklaus said...

Great blog. Just goes to show you can try anything at any age!

Tri4Success said...

Cool story and a great bike to learn on. You'll do fine at the tri in Columbus. Enjoy it!

Mom said...

You are a source of encouragement to anyone who meets you. I'm so proud of you!! So sorry about the lack of bicycle training. But you're making up for it now!!

Mom

Anonymous said...

Letty.. not many people are beautiful both on the outside and inside, but you are! I am so proud to know you and your inspiration is contagious!! I can only imagine how your children adore you!! Miss you and love you xxoo

Amanda Schaefers said...

Thats so awesome! I can't imagine learning to ride a bike now. What is this Might Tri Girls group?! I want in!

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