Why I Tri? by Sherry Heyman
I was introduced to running races in 2008 and I enjoyed this new adventure with my twin sister. We were approached by a mutual friend who asked if we wanted to try a triathlon in 2009. At first we were little skeptical that we could conquer a ½ mile swim or even a 12 mile bike ride. How do we train for this? Our friend assured us that we could complete this race and live to share the story over and over again. We were told that there were ladies out there of all shapes and sizes, along with different athletic levels. Since she believed in us, we signed up for our first race.
Training for me was all swim. I knew that my 12 year old brain could bike 12 miles and I could always walk if I had to. I purchased my bike from Wal-Mart the day before my race and I swam with no triathlon suit. My 12 mile bike ride across I-90 felt as if I was on a Sunday drive. I was inspired by the ladies that could fly past me and climb a hill with no pain. Even when I self-doubted my training plan, I had a lot of cheerleaders out there who believed that I could do it. I crossed the finish line with some tears of happiness and the biggest smile. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have shared my story. It’s definitely a race where I learned a lot and now I laugh every time I relive my bike adventure across I-90.
Three weeks later, my twin sister and I both completed our second triathlon with the same gear. I knew I was hooked on this new journey. Fast forward nine months, we committed ourselves to our first HUGE purchase, a triathlon bike and a triathlon suit. It was a pretty exciting day for us. We also made a commitment to one another to inspire at least one person every year to attempt a triathlon and in 2010 we had three. If they only knew how much they inspired us during their journey.
I have always dreamt of becoming an Ironman. Not to finish the race in first place but to finish with the most amazing story. This year was my first attempt at CDA 70.3. It probably took me 3 months to get a grasp of my new training program. How do I balance out my life and still enjoy everything I love; CrossFit, train for CDA, hike, travel for work and still plan lots of adventures with my family and friends? I trained for CDA 70.3 for 8 months. In those months, I gained a tremendous amount of memories, several self-reflections, many adventures, triathlon gear purchases, Raise the Bar and new road friends, shared inspirational stories, lost weight, had the support of my family and friends, improved my diet, lowered work stress levels and gained a lot of confidence. The outcome of “Why I Tri” is beyond positive. It has changed me into a better person and I love how it makes me feel.
What has been one of your greatest accomplishments as an athlete?
I have always dreamt about standing on the podium for placing in a race, so one of my greatest accomplishments as an athlete was when I placed 3rd in my age division during my latest triathlon at Lake Meridian. This truly has inspired me to train even harder for the 2017 season.
What is the most challenging thing for you to do in a triathlon?
The most challenging thing for me to do in a triathlon is biking up hills. They are truly my weakness and I haven’t figured out how to get my brain to tell me to not take a break and/or back off on my gears.
What was the scariest thing you have had to do? Are you glad you did it?
The scariest thing I have had to do was to swim with my face in the water and see a fish without screaming. In June of this year, I finally conquered this fear. Yes, I’m still scared of fish but I have just learned to swim faster.
What is your biggest challenge and what do you do to manage this challenge?
My biggest challenge was how to train for CDA 70.3 without my twin sister. I knew it was her dream race as well and I didn’t want to do it without her. I managed the challenge by knowing I had her support 110% and she truly did show it.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
The best advice I’ve been giving was to join Raise the Bar. It took me 3 years to make that commitment and now I’m not sure why I waited this long. The people I have met in the group are amazing athletes and full of inspiration. I have shared this experience with so many people around me. This truly was the best advice I have received in a long time.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Do what you love, love what you do!
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My inspiration is drawn from others around me. I surround myself with friends that live an active and healthy lifestyle. I take pleasure in reading and/or listening to stories about races and doing other hobbies I enjoy. I always thank my friends and family for sharing their stories with me and I make sure to let them know that they also inspire me over and over again.
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