Grace Miller, Pittsburgh, PA
Why triathlons? In a word, I compete in triathlons for the catharsis. It's not about the challenge or the competition, or the accomplishment. It's about expending myself physically in a way that rejuvenates me emotionally.
My story: Having been a competitive swimmer for 13 yrs, I left the sport frustrated because I never attained the podium glory that shrouded my older sister, & disappointed that I had given up so much of my youth to a sport that never made me happy. In college, I tried to redirect my attention but ended up just losing all focus... and then losing myself... in a dehabilitating eating disorder. All the support groups & familial interventions helped me realize that I needed to create both a sense of self-worth, & self-discipline for myself in order to get better. I can only begin to describe how triathlon has helped me to do that. Conversely to competitive swimming, competitive triathlon gives me sense of purpose regardless of times or podium finishes. Each finish line is a tangible reminder that I can accomplish greatness, 1 small feat at a time. And each journey to that finish, in training & and in the actual race, helps channel my energy positively. Triathlon is an immediate reason to stay healthy, with long term & wide reaching effects. I not only have motivation to maintain a healthy diet & keep my weight up, but I also gain the motivation to succeed in other facets of my life, because triathlon reminds me I have the capability to do so. School, family, friendship, interests like reading & writing and cooking, are all validated by triathlon.
The next chapter: Having regained confidence in myself, I have found much joy in sharing my experiences in triathlon w/ old friends from swimming, current friends from school, & new friends from my brother's cycling club. As happy as I am to cross each finish line, I am even happier to do so alongside a peer or acquaintance, newly introduced & excited for the sport.
Best Tri experiences: My 2 best experiences in triathlon occurred in the past 3 yrs, 1 during the 05 Pittsburgh Triathlon which I competed in as part of a relay w/ my very first friend Matt, a cross-country runner, & my most current best friend Neil, an avid cyclist. The other was the 07 Pittsburgh Triathlon, which I completed individually, but alongside 3 great friends, new to me and new to the sport.
Thanks goes to: The triathlon community has been overwhelmingly supportive, seasoned vets & novices like me all lending their experience and advice to make sure I enjoy myself as safely and fully as possible. It's my favorite and proudest part of the sport to be a part of this great community, to maintain the commradery & expand the message of health and fun through competition.
My next adventure: I am so excited for the Nation's Triathlon in D.C., which I will compete in with a great friend from the University of Pittsburgh Cycling Club, and in front of friends from my freshman & sophomore years at the University of Maryland in nearby College Park.