Triathlon has taught me to remember that every time I take a breath while swimming, I am alive, every time I push the pedals while cycling, I have mobility and every time I place one foot in front of the other while running, I am one step closer to accomplishing something that others may never have the opportunity of doing so because certain things have been stolen away from them, which we who have them might take for granted…Triathlon is a journey that places my soul in a happier place when I am alone and it all started with a run.
As individuals we all have our own reasoning why we do the things we do. Any type of activity involving fitness, we can agree or disagree that we do it with a reason behind it, whether it is because we want to be healthy, we want to be in shape, we enjoy it or because it is our time to be within ourselves and find peace.
Personally, I have always been involved in fitness. As a teenager I was part of the basketball, softball, soccer and track and field teams. Once I became an adult I signed up to a gym and became a personal trainer and aerobics instructor, which landed me the opportunity to be part of a few workout videos. I have never been the type of person to find excuses of why I can’t workout or not be mobile.
In 2011 I found myself in a situation that I did not know how to get out of…I was in an abusive relationship. Many of you will read this and might say, should of just upped and left…never that simple. During this time I maintained my fitness goals by running and going to the gym to workout when I was able to. Running became my happiness in my unhappy reality, it was my escape to a world that was only mine and no one could control it, or so I thought. I will never forget the day that he kicked me so hard on my right knee that I was off of running for 4- 5 months. I was meant to be unhappy, in his world and in mine.
On September 26, 2012, my daughter made a decision that changed our lives for the good, (she called the police and he was arrested) and I will be eternally grateful to her and her brave heart for doing the right thing; from that day forward, my children and I have lived in a violence free environment. My children and I have gone through an amazing transition, there have been good moments and bad moments but we have overcome and continue to do so because there is more to life than anger, hate, pain and violence. My children and I continue to live with some of the side-effects from our past. However, we continue to fight for a better tomorrow.
A year from the date I made the decision to reclaim who I was and who I wanted to become, by using my passion for fitness as part of the healing process. In 2013 for the month of October, in celebration of survival and breaking the silence of domestic violence, I decided to run everyday as I represented a victim, survivor or fallen victim to domestic violence. Along with my run I also made the decision to tattoo every individuals name on my arm as a way to give voices to those who suffered in silence. I ran a total of 331 miles in the month alone. In every run I thought deeply of every individual I represented, wondering what they felt and how they suffered to include one who died in the mist of the violence. While completing this personal project, not only did it help me heal part of my heart but also allowed me to love again not only myself but others and, “Believe there is good in the world.”
I will be honest, there is still residue of the trauma caused by the violence. However, I fight it everyday by celebrating that I am one of the lucky survivors because unfortunately, many who are still alive are truly dead inside because their spirit and soul was completely destroyed in the hands of someone they loved. This is where fitness has saved who I am and has made me be who I am and why I continue to fight. The reason why I learned to swim is because I refuse to drown in the waters of negativity, pain and hate. Why I pedal fiercely because I refuse to allow fear to catch up and hold me back from being the best that I can be; and why I run as if I am going to take flight, so I can leap in the arms of the one and only that can save me from the thought that things might not be possible but are, because I believe in me. I do triathlon because in so many ways it represents so much of what life really is. As we live life we transition from one thing to another, and we might move smoothly through it because we love what it is and how it feels and we might fear to transition because it is not something that we are comfortable with. However, we might never know what there is for us on the other side of the finish line if we are afraid to cross it because it is not familiar or because it reminds us of our past… “It All Started With a Run.”