Sometimes You Surprise Yourself


Hello there!

I promised you my thoughts on our try-a-tri race and I finally was able to sit down and write this post. If I had written it yesterday, it would have gone something like this…

Duhhhhhhh…… :blink:

It took me several days to wrap my head around the open-water swim. It was like nothing I have ever experienced in my life. If you would have asked us if we would do another triathlon during the swim, we would have looked at your like you were nuts.

Following the race, we didn’t talk about doing another triathlon. We enjoyed the moment and allowed ourselves to just feel proud of our accomplishment. I think there should be a grace period after each race where you just enjoy the post-race glow for a while and not think about anything in the future. Don’t think about other races, training, workouts, nadda. Just breathe. Eat. Rejuvenate. Reminisce.

Eric and I talked a lot about Sunday’s race and we ‘re-lived’ certain moments. It is always fun to look back on some of life’s less than ideal moments and laugh, after the fact. For instance, Eric told me that I had the funniest look on my face when I was in the open-water swim (freaking out) and of course, he proceeded to imitate my expression in the water –> :cwy: + :shocked: and we broke into a fit of laughter.

The struggles we encountered with the swim left us wanting to improve. I for one, don’t want my last memory of an open-water swim being one of panic and fear. It also affirmed to Eric that he loves swimming in lakes. I have never been a fan of swimming in the lake (I get creeped out easily as you know), but now I find myself craving to go back out there myself. Very strange. We already have plans to go back to the lake this weekend!

For my entire life, I was never one to try things that were out of my comfort zone. I have always had a lot of anxiety and I preferred to keep it as minimal as possible. My mantra was to avoid anything and everything that provoked this anxiety. However, I started to view my fears differently when I quit my job and started up the bakery. I started to build confidence and face my fears. This led to my first ever 10k race in June 2009, and since then I have found that the more risks I take, the happier I am.


I used to be that timid girl who watched others from the sidelines and told myself that I could never do what they did because it just wasn’t me. I was somehow different than those people. What I have realized is that I’m no different from you or that girl out there in the water who was rocking the open-water swim and zooming past me on Sunday. Each and every one of us start somewhere in our journey. In 2008, I would go down to the park and look at my watch and tell myself to run for 1 minute without stopping. I would get to 59 seconds and stop in my tracks, gasping for air and walking for several minutes to catch my breath. I absolutely hated every second of it. I’m not going to kid myself and pretend like I enjoyed running, however with practice, I did just that.

Today, I headed out for my first run since the race on Sunday. I decided to do a 10k run to prepare for my 5-mile race on June 23rd. On today’s run, I noticed that I carried myself a bit differently. I felt powerful and I told myself, you just did a try-a-tri so this run today is in the bag. You can do whatever you set your mind to. I felt proud of what my body could do for me and I had a kick to my step!

On this run, everything became clear. I realized that I didn’t want to let my fear guide me, I wanted to guide my fear.

I would like to decide for myself just what I am capable of.

Surprisingly, I discovered that my husband felt the same way. We both didn’t want the open-water to beat us like we felt that it did on Sunday. We began looking at the events over the summer and we found a race that we would like to do in about 5 weeks time…

The Belwood ‘fat Tire’ Try-A-Tri on July 18, 2010.

  • 375m swim
  • 14km bike
  • 3km run


It is the same distance for the swim, but the bike leg is 4km longer and the run is 0.5 km longer.

The bike leg is also on a gravel path, which is why they recommend having ‘fat tires’.

Eric asked me what time it started at since it is a fairly long drive from us, and I said 1:15pm, and he goes ‘SOLD’. :lol:

And that was that!

This Belwood try-a-tri in July will be a great warm-up for the Women’s Sprint Triathlon in Milton that I am hoping to do in September. This sprint triathlon will be in the same body of water as was Sunday’s race. It is going to be my redemption day!

Sprint Triathlon:

  • 750m swim
  • 20km bike
  • 5km run


Each leg is double the distance of Sunday’s try-a-tri.

In upcoming days, I am going to talk about how I plan on fitting my training into my already crazy schedule and whether I will be following a training plan this time around. I will also be talking about whether I have plans to improve my gear for the sprint distance.

Wow, this took a loooooong time to write. It was quite cathartic though.

“Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.”

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{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amber June 10, 2010

I am also in the process of really trying out the triathlon scene. We have a half Ironman in town this weekend that I am volunteering at. I am hoping that watching my friends finish and volunteering will motivate me to improve my swimming. I wish you the best of luck and can’t wait to see what you can do!


2 Nancy June 10, 2010

I’m glad to hear it! Soon you’ll be addicted to tri’s!!!!!!!!! :)


3 Marian June 10, 2010

Good luck! the Belwood race is in my area and a very cute, quaint little town. I was at the conservation area it’s being held at over the May long weekend too! The trails are very nice, not too wide but fairly well-maintained.

I hope you enjoy it! p.s. if you’re looking for a delish, cute, vegan meal afterwards, check out in Elora. About 10 minutes out of the way, but well worth it. The nachos are amaaaazing


4 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

ohh looks nice!


5 Claire June 10, 2010

Wow, what a great post Angela! I love reading about how you feel mentally stronger and open for new goals and experiences. I too have always had such a fear block that I have needed to break down and you are so inspiring.

That quote is wonderful.


6 Michelle @ Give Me the Almond Butter June 10, 2010

Great job on getting back in the saddle! errr I mean getting back in the water :)


7 Blaine June 10, 2010

Angela, you are such a freakin’ amazing inspiration to me. I love the idea of ‘not letting fear guide you’, and you especially spoke to me when you said you felt that twinge of “different-ness” when watching other people doing awesome things.
It’s my own life to create however I want, I like to remind myself of this every day – it’s time to release these self-imposed boundaries that are keeping me from being whoever the hell I want to be. So there!
Good luck in your next tri, girl! ;)


8 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Glad you enjoyed the post!


9 Callie June 10, 2010

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You know I have been anxiously awaiting this news! I’m so excited that we will be training for more triathlons “together”. :)


10 Kristin June 10, 2010

Hi Angela!
What a great post tonight! I wanted to tell you that I loved your pics from the tri, your looked so tough, like true athlete. I’ve been doing tri’s for 10 years! When I started I never would have imagined I’d have come this far. This Sunday I’m doing my first olympic distance tri. You will love sprints I just know it! And who knows what the future holds? I do know I’ll enjoy reading about your journey!


11 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Wow serious props to you for signing up for an olympic! That is amazing. Good for you :)


12 Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies June 10, 2010

Love this – it’s so true. We need to make those decisions for ourselves..after all you don’t know what you’re capable of until you risk failing.


13 Jess (Nurse Jess the Blog) June 10, 2010

Ha! Sounds like you guys found a new addiction!


14 Robyn @ Frugal 'n' Fit! June 10, 2010

I love your motivation for not having your last experience swimming in a TRI to be your only one. A truly admirable quality, to say the least :)

And I LOVE LOVE LOVE your concluding quote by Lao-Tze. That is one for the scrapbook!


15 Jessica @ The Process of Healing June 10, 2010

Awwww I LOVE THIS POST!!!! I was the same way, I never wanted to do anything that would cause me to face a fear or give me anxiety.. but you know, you are right… once you start taking risks, it makes you happier. It’s amazing to see what you really are made of and that you CAN overcome fears. I found this quote a while back and I love it:

“When I’ve felt the most scared, I know then that I’m going to grow the most. When I hit rock bottom, I know that I can only go up, and the the things that I’m scared of aren’t so bad after all!”

I can’t even remember where I found it, it might have been on your blog actually, I’m not sure. But I love it. I’ve really started to conquer my fears and I’ve never felt better. I know that I can do anything I set my mind to, there are NO limits. We only have this one life and you might as well go out there and live to the fullest!


16 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Love that quote!


17 Wei-Wei June 10, 2010

I’m really proud of you, Angela! You’re such a great inspiration to us all – I love how confident you are. I agree; the best feeling in the world is overcoming your fears, and you’ve done just that, and going back for more! You’re awesome :D



18 Stacy (StacyGrowsHealthy) June 10, 2010

I love that you are facing your fears! It is way more fun than just watching from the sidelines.


19 Miranda @ MirandasJeans June 10, 2010

Ooooh! So VERY exciting! Though now you have me wondering if I am going to feel the same way after my Try-a-Tri, but I won’t have the chance to do a second one as I am not doing it until the second last Sunday of August. I might have to look into where this race is in relation to me and give it some thought.

Looking forward to seeing what you will be doing training wise (schedule or no schedule)


20 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Just think how excited you will be all winter…and have extra motivation to swim when the weather is cold? :)


21 Bridget June 10, 2010

It’s crazy how much you’ve grown since you started your blog! I’ve been reading it from the beginning, and I can see the confidence and fearlessness you’ve developed – it’s really amazing! Best of luck on your tri – you will rock it :D Next thing you know you’ll be doing the Ironman race!!!


22 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Aww thanks :) It is amazing to me that I have readers that have been reading since the start..thank you for following me on my journey!


23 Carly @ The Road To Health June 10, 2010

Thank you so much for this post Angela! It is exactly the encouragement I needed. I am the timid girl with anxiety at times, and I will remember this post when I feel that way in future. You rock :)


24 Lin June 10, 2010

You are so awesome, Angela… I have nothing but the highest admiration for you!


25 mary @ what's cookin' with mary June 10, 2010

Congrats on finishing your Try a Tri! What a fun thing to do with Eric. :D


26 sui June 10, 2010

Wow… you know, you are an inspiration to me! I rarely find women I truly respect but you are definitely one of them. It’s refreshing to hear that you didn’t love running right away either– I have a love/hate relationship with running, I love it when I’m doing it but don’t really love it when I’m not (so I don’t want to). That you were able to face your fears and anxiety and now be so successful and running half-marathons(!) is beyond awesome. Thank you for being you :) ♥


27 Amber K June 10, 2010

That is awesome! Jumping back in there.

I’m in a time right now in my life where my anxiety definitely likes to take control. I try and avoid certain situations speficially because of how awkward they are and how much my anxiety builds up and overblows me. It is really hard sometimes to deal with.

But I’m slowly working on it, and I hope to one day be successful.


28 Fueling for Fitness June 10, 2010

Good job on not giving up until you have a great experience. I find we are always capable of surprising ourselves as long as we aren’t afraid to fail, get up, and try again.



29 Amy June 10, 2010

Look at you guys, all brave and perseverant! I love it!! Very inspiring!


30 Courtney (Pancakes & Postcards) June 11, 2010

Great to read, Angela. I have been motivated to try a triathalon next year when I move back to America, but the open water swim is really the thing I am nervous about as well. Plus, I REALLY do not function well in cold water, so I will have to take that part into consideration :)


31 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

the wetsuits really help with the cold! And help you float more too. they are key!


32 Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete June 11, 2010

I used to be the same way you were as well. I never liked taking risks, but the past few years, I have been scaring myself silly and I actually enjoy it! Like your post name, you will seriously surprise yourself doing the things you never thought you would or could do!


33 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

isn’t it fun to just take a leap of faith sometimes? :)


34 Helen June 11, 2010

I think i still am that girl who hasn’t got much self confidence. I really admire you and your journey and your blog is fast becoming my favourite one to read each day. Congrats for signing up for another try / another 2 tris. I can’t wait to read about them and I know you will power through the swim on both of them!


35 JL June 11, 2010

Angela, you’re doing this right! I hope you know that freaking out in the open water portion of a Tri is super-normal! I’ve been doing them for years and I’d say at least one tri a summer I have one open water swim freak out. But when you keep doing them, it gets easier!


36 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

haha I love that ;-) Im sure there will be more freak outs to come! I’ll survive and come out stronger, right?


37 Jessica @ How Sweet It Is June 11, 2010

That is so amazing that you are going to continue to do more. Love it. So inspiring!


38 Lynne June 11, 2010

You are such an amazing inspiration, Angela. :)


39 [email protected] June 11, 2010

That’s awesome that you decided to continue with the triathalons- you and Eric are both so inspiring!


40 Kim June 11, 2010

I love when you do posts like this. I can totally relate to holding back because of anxiety and have also been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone more and more.

Thanks for sharing!


41 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

you can do it! :)


42 Therese June 11, 2010

Geez, I feel like I was just reading myself talking! You sound a LOT like I do these days! I used to live life the same way and now I’m constantly trying to figure out different ways to stretch myself and see what I’m capable of.

You guys are going to do SO amazing and I cannot wait to see how you two rock the next tri!


43 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

it’s fun isn’t it? To just push yourself. I was NEVER like that my whole life, so it is kind of fun to make the change happen.


44 melissa (fitnessnyc) June 11, 2010

I think I read this post three time before commenting. It’s so honest and humble. Great job on the tri. It’s great that you have a fitness partner to share the experience with!


45 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Thanks Melissa! Hope you didn’t see any typos while reading 3 times…hahaha


46 Diana @ frontyardfoodie June 11, 2010

Wow, you guys are such troopers! I love seeing couples do stuff like this. It’s totally inspirational.


47 Triathlonbabe aka Grace June 11, 2010

I knew it…I knew it…I knew it, once you do one triathlon, you gotta do another to see if you can fix anything you might’ve missed in your first! Hahahaha, you and Eric are hooked….nane, nane boo-boo…LOL!

I love that motivation quote you added to this blog so much so, I copied and printed it on a document and have it posted to my cubicle at work and on my fridge!


48 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

haha it is kind of like the feeling, ‘man I don’t want to go out like that!’ I want redemption!


49 Ana June 11, 2010

I really like this post Angela, definitely inspiring!
“I realized that I didn’t want to let my fear guide me, I wanted to guide my fear”
I have been working on that issue with myself lately and it is nice to see I am not alone when it comes to fears. What you said is so true, we cannot let fear guide us, ever.
Thanks for this post, and good luck with your future races and swim, we will all be here cheering for you and Eric!


50 Kate June 11, 2010

I am so excited that you are planning on doing at least two more TRIs. It’s so inspiring that you are pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things. We are all so proud of you both :)


51 Cara June 11, 2010

Belwood is like 10 mins from my home! I would love
to come and cheer you on, but I am currently living in
South Korea. Have a blast! I’m sure you will rock it.


52 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

too bad we couldnt meet up…maybe next year ;)


53 Olivia @ Blissful Runner June 11, 2010

Nice! I’m glad you’ve got the bug and want to redeam yourself – that means it couldn’t have scarred you too badly! I’m thinking about signing up for my first Tri and was so glad you enjoyed yours. Did you see the video Frayed Laces posted showing the swim in her recent Kona Tri? OH MY GOD!!! Just be glad you didn’t watch this before your Try-A-Tri!


54 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

I read her post yesterday…so inspiring. The video freaked me right out! So hardcore.


55 Kristin (Salty Tooth) June 11, 2010

Angela, you are awesome!


56 Eunice June 11, 2010

I love reading your blog because I always leave feeling more inspired and motivated! It’s cool to hear you talk about how you felt when you started running. I felt the same way not too long ago. Good luck with your training! You got this!


57 Danielle June 11, 2010

Do you think you are hooked after your first try a tri? Because I was! I felt so accomplished afterward, I want that feeling again. I can’t wait to do another one this year. The open water swim is the worst part, and it is best to just keep calm and just focus on technique. I did not do this my first time around. I panicked becuase of the current and I almost went out of bounds!!! I must have looked hilarious.
I look forward to reading more about your try a tri and sprint triathlon training!


58 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

haha I must have looked hilarious too…oh to have a bird’s eye view of me freaking out. Eric does quite a good impression.
Glad you enjoy them too!


59 k8 June 11, 2010

I still hate running. But I want it SO BADLY. Thanks for this post. It reaffirmed that if I just keep going, I will “get it.”


60 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Yes it takes time…not many people are true naturals at it. Even with all of the cardio training I did for years, I still couldn’t run more than 1 minute at a time. Humbling! Now I can run miles at a time.


61 Alayna June 11, 2010

Hi Angela!
I’ve been a reader of yours for a while now but this is my first time commenting. I was really interested to hear that running didn’t come naturally to you at first–that you had to push yourself to make it a minute without stopping. I’m at that point now in that I really enjoy running and have been at it for about 6 months, but I still can’t make it more than about 90 seconds before I just need to slow down. I’m wondering how you were able to push past it and run for longer and longer periods of time to where you are now. Does it just take time, or are there some things I can do to make it easier? Thanks for such an inspiring blog, I’m working on one of my own!


62 Angela (Oh She Glows) June 11, 2010

Hey! :)

What I had to realize is that I was running too fast too soon. When I slowed down my pace, I could run for a longer amount of time. Try to reduce your pace by 25-50% and you will be surprised at how much longer you can do. First build endurance, second build speed only later. Hope this helps!


63 Melissa June 11, 2010

Thank you for sharing your experience and how you challenged yourself to combat fears. I too would sit at the side lines thinking I could never do this, or that! You really inspired me! Thank you:)


64 Steph June 12, 2010

We are going to rock that women’s race on September! CAN’T WAIT!!!! My 12-week training plan goes into full effect on Monday. :)


65 Lauren June 12, 2010

LOVE that quote.


66 Robynne August 23, 2010

Angela… thank you for such a great blog post. I feel as though I could have written it… only I have not done my first triathlon yet. I have 4 weeks to go till race day. There was a mix up with our wetsuit order, so they came late – just got in the race water yesterday to aclimate with the suits. We’ve been training regularly in the pool, and have done one lake swim, but I didn’t go out very far then. I wanted to go out to the first buoy yesterday (which isn’t very far off shore), but after three tries, I panicked, flopped over on my back and practically hydroplaned back to shore out of sheer terror, ripped off my suit, sat down on the dock and started sobbing. My spouse came to my aid, wrapped a towel around me and held me until I stopped heaving.

I’m now entirely terrified, and thinking about backing out of the race. I think I bit off a chunk bigger than I can chew at this time in my life. Fear has plagued me my whole life (and panic disorder for the past 17 years), and yet I’ve done many things to try and overcome it. This endeavor feels like that one last step to freedom for me, and now I feel like I can’t take it.

All to say, I appreciate your post. Any other advice on how to get through this would be welcome.

[email protected]


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