Living Instead of Existing: Creating a Triathlete

RhondaAs the year has gone by I’ve become a mentor to Rhonda guiding her way into triathlon and becoming a triathlete.  She will be the first one to tell you that is hasn’t been easy and she’s even hated me several times.  What started out as me just wanting to be there for questions has turned into something more than either of us expected.   One day Rhonda wanted me to write about what it was like to mentor her.  I was planning on doing it so here is our story and what it was like for me.

I met Rhonda through her Facebook page Living Instead of Existing.  I found her story of weight loss truly inspirational and I found myself wanting to follow her journey.  I didn’t know she lived in San Diego at the time, and I certainly didn’t know she had wanted to do a triathlon.  As I was wrapping up my running and triathlon season myself I noticed she posted about wanting to do a triathlon.  I felt compelled to be a support resource for her.  She wanted to do the Mission Bay Triathlon in October.  She had plenty of time to train for it and since triathlon has helped me with weight loss and fitness I knew she could do it.

See to the outside people triathlon can be intimidating.  When you hear the word triathlon the first thing that typically comes to mind is the Ironman World Championship held in Kona, HI.  They immediately think thin people with 5% body fat that can do super human things.  No there are shorter triathlons out there and sprints are the shortest held around the nation with few super-sprints available.  As I got into triathlon as a beginner I wanted to make it my way of giving back to a sport that helped me find where I belong and helping beginners is it.

One day I was looking at her workouts and I sent her a message I think that was along the lines of… You can do a triathlon in May.  At first she didn’t think she could (little did she know that she could and she would find that she could do a lot more than she “thought” she could).  In March though I met her in person at the Hot Chocolate 5K while I was doing the 15K.  Here before me was this probably 5’2” woman who could barely say a word to me.  I didn’t think I was too intimidating but come to find out that’s just how she is.  She still to this day doesn’t speak many words to me in person.  We do 99.9% of our talking through Facebook.  It doesn’t bother me one bit.   It can be challenging at times getting the full meaning of things but if that’s what is easiest for her I’m not going to force it.   Finally the Sprint Sprint was here and she got out there and did her first triathlon 5 months early.  I was doing a relay at the same time as I do now with some of the shorter triathlons and I was able to cheer her on.  She caught the bug and before I knew it I was mentoring her.  Since that first race she has improved in every race getting a 3rd place in the San Diego International Triathlon and 2nd place in the Mission Bay Triathlon Aquabike.

During that time it wasn’t always easy.  She always had questions about everything which is good.  She also had to deal with self doubt in which I had to promptly give her a pep talk that wasn’t always nice but she needed to hear it.  See I wasn’t just trying to mentor someone into become a triathlete.  It had blossomed into showing her that she is capable of so much more than she though.  She just needed someone to believe in her and keep her from entering that comfort zone that she had been in for so long.  In the long run I knew it would pay off and when I look at how far she’s come in just 1 year it’s nothing short of amazing.  She’s now a brand ambassador for Pedigo E-Bikes and doing stuff she never thought she could.  She’s now a triathlete, and she’s now an even bigger inspiration to many others.

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