Meet Katie. Most of us in the triathlon community in Oklahoma City know her as the one who is always beating everyone - including the boys - at swimming. This girl is lightening fast! She grew up as a competitive swimmer since the age of 9 in Santa Cruz, and continued competing all throughout college.
Now a mom of 4, Katie hopes to be a voice of encouragement to her children, and to never deter them from following their heart and pursuing what brings them joy in life. She is helping shape for her children what success and strength look like.
Even if you aren't an athlete, I encourage you not to cast Katie's story aside. I love how Katie chose to change the narrative her kids would hear. She vowed not to let the voices that dragged her down in the past, drag down her own children.
What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting started with exercise?
Find what you want to do. Find what YOU enjoy. That's what you're going to be successful at. After I had the kids I did lap swimming by myself. But I wanted to be with other people. If it's just lap swim, I'm not going to go do it by myself. It's boring. It's not going to get done. I started swimming with the Norman Masters team last year. Then they invited me to come to the lake for open water swimming, and I said yes! Open water! I like distance. That's what I prefer. Then there were several instances where relay races needed a swimmer, and I knew I could do that. So for the first time I really felt included.
Tell me about your jump into triathlons.
By summer's end a few the Norman Master's team were saying You can run! You can do this. Just start out doing a mile with us. And I was very reluctant because of the narrative in my head from my mom saying I can't run.
I tried to do track after I'd already gotten a swimming scholarship, during the spring of my senior year of high school. My mom came to one meet and she left halfway through my event. When I got home I asked her what was wrong and she said, "You are never running again. That was an embarrassment."
All I wanted was to do something different.
But my friends here - they rewrote that. They included me even though I was really slow at running. And they did that on the bike too. I thought that was a bad idea too, but it looked like so much fun. And then I really enjoyed it.
Now I'm discovering all of these different things to enjoy. Like crit racing, or dirt biking, or gravel riding, endurance running, trail running. All different kinds of races. There's more than just one thing in triathlon. This is really my year of try everything and see what I like. I'm still a newbie so I can do it all.
What would you say is the most important thing, for yourself, to remember with training/exercise?
I don't want to become too serious. I don't want this to become unfun. I'm very anti coach, anti training. That would suck the fun out of it for me. It would be like going back to middle school. I'm a grown up now, I'm going to pick what I'm doing. Will I be the champion at any of these races? No. But I'm having fun, and that's what matters.
**Side Note - Pretty sure she's actually come in first in a few races. She's speaks humbly of herself.
**Also Side Note - Katie signed up for a full ironman before ever even attempting to do a triathlon. She signed up a year in advance and decided to take the training in little bits at a time. Talk about freaking brave!
I'm so grateful Katie was willing to share about her life and training. I chose to feature her story not because she's an amazing swimmer (although she is!), but because she really is just like you and I. She overcame doubt and disappointment from her mom. She chose not to quit when she was made to feel like a failure. And she's a busy mom of 4 little ones yet she still makes time for exercise to happen. Let's be inspired and empowered by the every day women around us who are doing hard things!