Bicycling (South Africa) - - FIT CHICK -

In 2007, I signed up to do an Iron­man. It was my first iron- dis­tance triathlon (a 3.8km swim, 180km ride, 42km run), so my goal was just to fin­ish. I hired a coach who scanned my past cy­cling and run­ning re­sults, and ut­tered the words that would change my life: “You could qual­ify for Kona.” ¶ By the mid­dle of the year I was rou­tinely clock­ing 17-hour train­ing weeks, con­sist­ing of work­outs that in­cluded hour swims fol­lowed by six-hour rides fol­lowed by 90-minute runs. I didn’t miss a sin­gle one – barely a sin­gle minute of one. Along the way I set per­sonal bests, won some train­ing races, and got strong enough to do 15 pull-ups. I won my divi­sion in the ini­tial Iron­man I en­tered and headed to the Iron­man World Cham­pi­onships in Kona, Hawaii, six weeks later. It felt like I was watch­ing a movie of my own life. ¶ The rip­ple ef­fects of that ex­pe­ri­ence reached much fur­ther than that one sea­son. I cat­a­pulted my fit­ness to a level I didn’t know I could achieve. I learned how to fuel, re­cover, and train ef­fi­ciently and ef­fec­tively. These lessons have helped me re­main in top shape a full nine years later. ¶ I would never do it again. My quest tested my fam­ily’s pa­tience as greatly as it built my en­durance. But I have no re­grets. – Selene Yeager, con­tribut­ing writer

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