My 7 year old son learned how to ride a bike without training wheels before I learned how to ride a bike. Go ahead and take a second to laugh.
I grew up on 10 acres with three horses and a gravel road in the country in western Pennsylvania.I played Barbies, did ballet, did gymnastics, and did a lot of reading growing up. After my parents divorced, my mom and I moved to a plan of homes. I was 16 so I got my driver’s license. I never had the opportunity to ride a bike around the neighborhood because a car was much cooler.
So, I never had the chance to ride a bike.
I told my friend and college sorority sister, Rachel, that I started running, and she suggested we run a 5K on Labor Day. I took on the challenge and finally mid-August, I could run for 3 miles straight. On Labor Day, I ran my first 5K in 33:20, 12 weeks after having our third child.
Me, Rachel, and her sister-in-law Megan before our first 5K EVER!
I caught the running bug! I began doing some 5K races, did the Pittsburgh Marathon on a relay team in 2010, did a 10K, etc. In the spring of 2010, my husband decided to do the Akron Marathon, and I decided to do the half marathon along with him. Soon after I decided to do the half marathon, I found out about a group of women called the Mighty Tri Girls who trained for triathlons at all levels. I emailed the coach, Sue Waldrop, and she told me about a fall half marathon training group. I began training with them in August. Sue encouraged me to join the Mighty Tri Girls in the spring. I had to break the news to her that I had never ridden a bike before. In Sue’s positive fashion, she encouraged me to do it and told me she would teach me.
In September of 2010, I ran my first half marathon in 2 hours 11 min, running the first 8 miles with my husband. It was a great experience! Now onto the hard part…..riding a bike.
My husband and I before Akron Marathon. He ran the whole 26.2 miles; I ran the half marathon.
I joined the Mighty Tri Girls in February 2011. Sue did a 6 week swimming clinic for us every Sunday. It was so much fun to meet the different ladies coming from all different backgrounds, all with different goals and reasons for doing a triathlon.
Sue and I met behind the Sheraton where we lived one crisp March day for a bike lesson. We could have been on America’s Funniest Videos. Sue was running alongside me, hanging onto the seat. The lesson went well. We planned to meet the following Thursday. The next week was warmer and more productive. Sue began to let go of the seat. At one point, she ran up beside me, which scared me and I crashed! I told her not to tell me if she was going to let go!
The following week, we met again. I could actually do it alone! Starting was the hardest for me. I couldn’t have done it without my coach, Sue. She was so patient with me. The positive encouragement from her meant more than she will ever know!
I am feeling much more prepared. I am facing some of my fears biking, like turning and passing runners on the trail. I still get anxious the first few minutes of each ride, but the anxieties lessen each time that I get on the bike.
In the midst of triathlon training, I also did the Pittsburgh Half Marathon on May 15th and had a PR of 2 hours 10 minutes. It has been an amazing year so far for me personally, learning to ride a bike, training for the triathlon, and doing my second half marathon.
My running partner, Anne, and I about 5:30AM before the 2011 Pittsburgh Half Marathon
Seconds after Pittsburgh Half Marathon 2011-taken by Justin Merriman, an award winning
photographer for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review
At the end of August 2011, I did my first triathlon in 1 hour 49 min.