Triathlon How it started By Mayrena Hernandez Posted on November 20, 2017 10 min read 0 0 633 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr In 2013 I was sponsored to run my first marathon by my good friend Celina Romney. The marathon was to support St. Jude’s children. I was honored that she believed in me enough to think that with this mere past year of running I had done that I was now ready to do a marathon. In 2012, I graduated high school and I was no longer an athlete. I felt a little lost. I went from constantly having varsity and club swim practices to being so burned out from the pool and wanting nothing to do with the water. It was until I saw an Ironman commercial that I realized that there might be a sport out there for me. I was so intrigued by the determination that these people had and how unfathomable the thought of swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles was. I thought “Are they freaking crazy? Who in the right mind does that to themselves?” I knew I could swim that distance but I couldn’t even imagine cycling and running that much. Being a swimmer, running was our punishment! Don’t even get me started with cycling. I didn’t even own a bike nor have been a spin class. Yet, something in me had the desire to want to do an Ironman one day. I knew if I wanted to accomplish this long-term goal I needed to learn how to run. In 2012, I signed up for the run club at the gym that I worked at as a swim instructor. I spent that whole summer learning how to run 5 miles. There was the common “5-mile loop” that would always leave me defeated when I could not finish it. By the end of that summer I could conquer it. I felt so proud. Running was unlike anything I had ever done. It truly involved mental toughness. So, when 2013 came around I had barely done my first half marathon that my friend Celina sponsored me to move up to the full marathon category. 1 year into my new found running career and I was about to pull the trigger on the twenty-six point two distance. I was terrified. I fortunately had a great group of people to train with. Prior to this my longest training runs were just 10 milers. With this group, I was able to train entirely for the 2013 Dallas Marathon in December. Unfortunately, that year Texas experienced a very cold winter where ice was the determining factor to cancel the race. I was devastated. My heart was broken. I picked up the pieces and decided to sign up for the February 2014 Fort Worth Cowtown Marathon. My marathon training was now extended by 2 months. My body was exhausted and mentally I was not prepared to hang on to that rigorous training for that much more amount of time. February came and I suffered through my first marathon. It was gruesome and hot but I caught the marathon bug. I wanted to do better and I specifically wanted to do Dallas. That same year I kept training and I finally got to meet the Dallas Marathon course in December. My time had improved from a 4:27 to a 4:03 marathon time. I knew after that marathon that I was ready to learn how to become a triathlete. This next year of training involved focusing on triathlons. I needed to learn how to ride a bike and not be terrified on the road with cars on it. I needed to learn how to train for all three disciplines. This involved doing my first couple of sprint triathlons, then moving up to the Olympic distance and then getting to the huge goal of doing my first half Ironman. 70.3 total miles with a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run. Almost three years passed by and I have done about 10 sprint triathlons, 6 Olympic triathlons, and 2 half ironman distance races. Three years ago, I was left feeling ready for triathlons but a little defeated from just running races. My second marathon at Dallas was a PR but not the best experience. A lot went wrong in that race and I think that resulted in a fear of doing another marathon since then. I decided this year would be the year I would attempt a marathon. A whole summer of training resulted in me completing my third marathon in a time of 3:58. It hurt and I let it all out there. Weather conditions got to me but I didn’t let it take away my sub 4 goal. I needed this third marathon to prove to myself that I am mentally stronger than I think. Besides being a huge advocate for physical activity and being very engaged in this hobby of endurance sports, I am so a graduate student. I am an athletic trainer for a D1 collegiate cross country and track and field team all while I go to school for my masters. Some may think that this hobby is a distraction, and perhaps it may be but I am constantly surrounded by physically active people who want to stay healthy. To me, health involves many aspects of life. For me to do my job well and keep my athletes healthy, I must be healthy as well. Physically and mentally. I knew trying to stay active in graduate school would be a hard task. I have 82 athletes on my teams to look after and a plethora of grad school work but I want to be able to prove that if you set a goal for yourself, you can accomplish all other things in your life. With that being said, I believe I am finally ready for a full ironman. Cheers to training for this 140.6!