It's been just over a year since the day I became a triathlete. Just over a year when I realized how much I believed in myself. I can pinpoint the moment when the change happened.
Unlike many, I didn't become a triathlete as I crossed the finish line of my first triathlon. I had done almost everything necessary to earn the title, short of one: I didn't believe it. I had it in my head that I needed to do an open water triathlon to be worthy of that title (my first triathlon was a pool swim). Of course, when I did that one, would I then decide that a sprint distance wasn't enough? What other limits was I prepared to put on myself?
The moment that I became a triathlete came the next day. It was Monday night, which is the evening of my coached swim sessions. In the locker room after the swim, Angie (coach) was talking to a couple of us. When she realized that I'd just completed my first triathlon, she asked me to say four words: "I am a triathlete."
I felt awkward and a bit put on the spot. Even so, I managed to squeeze out the words. "I am a triathlete."
But, I wasn't. Not yet. Not quite.
The moment I became a triathlete came a few minutes later, all alone, on the drive home.
I tentatively tested the words out again. "I am a triathlete."
I tried them out again. Over and over. Each time with a bit more confidence.
As I drove, I considered the year before. I thought about the person I was becoming. How doing something that I once considered impossible had changed me. Letting go of my limits. Believing in myself.
"I am a triathlete."
I was still testing the words out. Each time they became more real to me.
"I am a triathlete."
And, in that moment, the words became true. In that moment, I believed them. In that moment that I became a triathlete.
It's easy to think that being a triathlete is all about the physical work. All about training your body. The hours spent on the bike, pounding the pavement, moving through the water. Those things are necessary. But they aren't what makes you a triathlete.
What made me a triathlete is belief. Belief in myself. The changes that have happened to my body are tiny in comparison to the changes that have happened in my head. Without that belief, I could just be someone that works out a lot. With it, I am a triathlete.
I am a triathlete.