- Gens d'ici -


Christina Rosetti with Barbara Bellingham’s help

Gens d’ici


Vol13no4_fev_mars_2016_28Ever have the feeling you’ve forgotten who you are ? I struggled with confidence my whole life. I grew up in Philipsburg as a shy but happy girl. I have a great family and wonderful friends. I’m a typical 33 year old with 3 beautiful kids, aged 15, 10 and 4. I’m a spouse, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, worker, taxi driver, school teacher, appointment maker, schedule organizer, budgeter, maid, cook, teenager problem solver, speech therapist. I love my kids ; I love what they love, I go where they ask me to go, I do what they ask  me to do, I cook what they like, I’m sad when they’re sad, I’m happy when they’re happy and they are my world. Some days are awesome and some days are overwhelming. It’s a busy life but that’s what I do. Until one morning I woke up and wondered … who is Christina Rosetti and what does she like ?

In December 2014 the schedule started to get to me, becoming overwhelming and irritating. I made it through Christmas and I made my new year’s resolutions, but I realized my resolutions were about everybody else – better mom, better worker, better sister, better spouse… My grandma told me that everything happens for a reason.  Knowing I like to run, a friend of the family approached me to ask if I wanted to try a triathlon. First, I asked what a triathlon was, and how long it took to Vol13no4_fev_mars_2016_29train for one ; I had so many questions ! “Coach”, as his name became, explained it all. There were different distances to choose from, so I agreed to try the sprint triathlon, which is a 600 yard swim, 14 mile bike ride and 3.1 mile run. At the beginning of the race, you are given a number that they write on your arm. They also give you to 2 papers with the same number, one attached to your bike and the other for your shirt. The numbers are to keep track of you and your time. All the racers start together in the swim. After the swim you take off your wetsuit, put your helmet on and proceed on the bike. When your bike part is done, you take off your helmet and start the run. All the events are one right after the other.

After processing all that information I thought, I like to run but adding biking and swimming would spices thing up a little and give me a bigger challenge. I quickly got excited and wanted to try. I wanted to see what I was made of. Because no matter how good of a mother, spouse, and worker you are, you must think of yourself from time to time. My family and friends were very supportive and there was no shame in accepting help from others to do something good. Coach started me on a schedule. We first looked at the time I had in the day. I had an hour lunch at work so we thought that was a great idea to use that to my advantage. I brought a pair of running shoes to work and a stationary bike for my lunch room until the weather got better to bring my bicycle.  My sister-in-law had a great racing bike she lent me to keep at home and another older one I kept at work. My main priority was to not take away time from my family but I had to fit in 2 swimming days so I used the pool in Cowansville. There are all kinds of ways to include your family, but the trick is to be creative. Tuesday nights I put the kids to bed a little early and drove to the pool for 8:00 to practice. On the weekends I brought my children with me because half the pool was for people swimming laps and the other half was for free swimming. After my training I was able to join the kids for some fun family swimming. When it got warmer, I had to overcome a few challenges, like swimming in a wetsuit in open water, but after swimming in a few different lakes, I was ok with it. To get me used to a triathlon, Coach brought me to a low profile one in Stowe, Vermont a month before my goal set triathlon, and I did very well.

Team work is a great way to achieve a goal. My goal was to do my first triathlon at Lake Dunmore in the US on June 20th 2015. I started training in February. Coach made me a schedule and was aVol13no4_fev_mars_2016_30 great help to get me organised. He’s a wise, thoughtful and very encouraging man. With this, support from friends and family, and my own determination, I was able to succeed very well in my training. I was also lucky to have an awesome co-worker to encourage me and keep me going on days I didn’t feel like it. She was great at giving me a little nudge when I needed it. The best part of training was the time I had to think. Having a goal and working on my fitness was a great way to relieve stress. Often training was hard and when I found myself asking why I was doing this, I thought of my goal and  my challenge to see what I was made of ; what I could achieve if I put my mind to something. My confidence grew every day with every great thought I had when I was training. I found myself constantly repeating things in my head like, you can do this, you’re amazing, you’re worth it, you’ve come so far. I learnt that I could be my best support. I learnt how to encourage myself and that I could create my own motivation.  I’ve set many goals in my life that I didn’t always stick to, so this was an opportunity to have a great goal and do my best.

The day before my race, I crimped my neck causing me a lot of pain. I was so discouraged but I wasn’t ready to back out after all that hard work. Race day ! ! ! Coach picked me up at 4:30 am with a big ice pack on my neck. As we drove for a while, he kept my head in the game and kept me positive. We talked about little tricks to help me. As we approached the triathlon I started to forget about my neck. I was feeling better as the adrenaline started kicking in. I got into my wet suit and got my game face on and was ready to go. As I was waiting to start, I saw the best thing ever. My family had come to encourage me ! My parents brought my oldest son which gave me even more drive to make him proud ! I put my feet in that water and off I went. As I started to swim I tried to keep calm, keep my breathing regular so I wouldn’t tire myself out right away. I kept reminding myself what I had to do, and thought of all Coach’s advice. The swim was the most difficult part, so when I got to shore I felt relieved but on fire at the same time. I focused on the next step as I was approaching my bike. I always did well on my bike so my confidence kept growing as I kept going. During the run I kept thinking, I can’t believe I’m almost done and couldn’t wait to finish and see my son. The most amazing moment was crossing that finish line as my family watched me in awe ! ! !

I did very well, and came 3rd in my age group.  I couldn’t be prouder of myself. I couldn’t believe what I just achieved. It was one of the best feelings I’d ever had. Hard work, determination and an amazing support system is the greatest key to success. I’m grateful to everybody who stood by me and believed in me. I continue setting goals for myself and I believe that I continue to show my children a great example. I love including my family in my training as it’s become a big part of me. Now my biggest goal is to pay it forward. Coach did an amazing thing for me and I would love to help other people set goals, achieve them and realize their dreams too.

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