Shortly thereafter, in Mary Eggers' spin class, I asked her -- "Can you coach me to a triathlon?" She was a local triathlete and coach of Team Train-This! .
I spent that entire summer training for my first triathlon, the Finger Lakes Sprint Triathlon. I followed her program, which had me training about 7-8 hours per week. I found it tough to fit in the workouts, but I got most of them done.
I had so much fun racing that day that I wanted to do even more triathlons! But I decided I wanted to do them well. Circumstances in my life were difficult around that time. A few months after that first triathlon, I went through a divorce. It was about as amicable as something like that can be, but when you lose someone that important in your life, it leaves a hole.
I filled that emptiness by striving to be a stronger athlete. During the winter in icy Rochester, NY, I would get on my treadmill in my bedroom and do "Soccer Workouts". To this day, I don't know why that is their name, but they are mile repeats at progressively faster paces. When I finally broke a ten minute mile, I rejoyced! I continued to swim, bike, and run, planning on races that spring in Rochester and then for the upcoming summer and fall as I plotted my uncertain future alone in Boston, where I would be moving for my interventional cardiology fellowship.
I achieved a long-time goal that spring, to run a 5k faster than 29 minutes.
I moved to Los Angeles a year later to begin my career as an interventional cardiologist. Triathlon has continued to be a big part of my life -- it's been my hobby, a way to meet great friends, and a terrific outlet for stress. Through hard work and excellent coaches, currently Gerardo Barrios of Fortius Racing Team, I've continued to become a stronger athlete.
In the meantime, I've achieved and surpassed several goals that I've set for myself -- finished an Ironman, gotten my marathon time down to 4:05, ran several 5k's in under 25 minutes, and many others.
This weekend's race is much the culmination of all of that. While I won't be winning any medals this weekend, or qualifying for Team USA for the ITU Worlds race, I can celebrate all my hard work, and I'll be happy and honored to be able to race amongst such talented athletes.