After running for over 20 years completing many marathons, half marathons and shorter races I was asked to participate in Augusta 70.3 in 2015 with the Scott Rigsby Foundation as a Gold Star Family Member. A Gold Star is someone who has lost a loved one who was serving in the military. In my case my son, SPC Jason Edens, was wounded in Afghanistan on April 15th, 2012, and passed away from his wounds on April 26th, 2012.
After looking up Scott’s story and accomplishments I agreed to be a part of a relay for the run portion. If you aren’t familiar with Scott he is the first double amputee to finish the Hawaiian Ironman. The whole Augusta experience was so amazing and I participated with many veterans who suffered from PTSD and who had lost limbs during their service time. They so inspired me that I knew immediately that I had no excuses and that I would participate in the 70.3 on my own in 2016.
I couldn’t swim, and hadn’t ridden a bike much since childhood but I was determined and once my mind is made up not much can stop me. I bought a road bike in December of 2015 then took 8 swim lessons in January 2016. I started going to the pool 2 – 3 times a week and started riding as soon as the weather allowed me to get outside since I didn’t have any type of indoor trainer. I followed an aggressive plan and did really well finishing under 7 hours. I enjoyed the cross training of the triathlon but I was totally burned out after all of the training that I had put in to this one race.
I decided to take 2017 off from triathlons and concentrate on just running. I did a couple of marathons and didn’t bike or swim at all. I found that I really did miss triathlon and made the decision that I would attempt a full Ironman in 2018. I hired a local coach and followed another aggressive training plan. A plan that was probably too aggressive for me and my athletic abilities and lifestyle. I found myself worn out and exhausted by the time October rolled around.
I traveled to Louisville and the day felt “off” from 4:00 a.m. when we got up to pouring rain and 52 degrees. The rain continued throughout the set up time in transition through the swim, which was shortened, and through most of the bike. I had been training in 90 degree temperatures with mostly liquid nutrition and was not prepared for the conditions. I completed the bike, many did not, but missed the cut off by 10 minutes. I felt disheartened and broken but I knew that I couldn’t let my failure to finish make me a failure. I learned some valuable lessons that day that will serve me well going forward.
I debated for several weeks but then in December 2018 made the decision to again try for the elusive IM. I signed up for IM Chattanooga. I was searching and debating on a training plan and knew that I had to find something quite different than last year’s approach. I had heard about TriDot through a couple of Facebook groups and when I saw the offer to try the PSP I thought what do I have to lose? I signed up and started the plan the beginning of January. After 2 months on the plan I have never felt so strong and feel like I am making progress like I have never been able to achieve before. I love how supportive all of the TriDot coaches are even though I am not using the coaching plan currently and I love how supportive all of the other athletes are. Another amazing thing about TriDot is the fact that in over 3 months now not one workout has been the same. I look forward to my workouts and assessments because I can’t wait to see how far I have come in the short weeks between them.
TriDot is definitely changing the way that I look at triathlons and training and I am loving the journey.
This September I will complete the Chattanooga IM and I will do it for my son Jason. The last time we saw each other was in Chattanooga. We met and spent the day together before he deployed to Afghanistan. For me it’s not just about the race it’s for Jason and keeping his memory alive. Along with TriDot, my faith in God, and my son’s inspiration I will complete the race that is laid out before me.
You don’t know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have
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