Rocketman Triathlon: Pushing past your limits

Candace Triathlon
Candace at the finish of her first triathlon, the RocketMan Half Ironman.

The girl in seat 22D is happy today. She just completed her first half IronMan. The Rocketman Triathlon in Titusville, FL yesterday. 70.3 miles. Because of it, the world has changed. No, actually the past year of getting up and training by 5:30 AM nearly every day has changed me. It’s changed the way I look at a sunrise, a clear blue lake, the way I look at choices and most of all my confidence. Having my two sons, Evan and Michael, joining me for the last 6.5 mile finish and being proud of me proved to me that we’re stronger pulling together as a family then apart.

It feels so good to be fit. To be able to go out and do something active all day long. It’s been just over a year since my first 32 mile cycle ride that changed my life. Rocketman is another life changing event for me. I’m hooked. I want to train more, meet more friends when I’m out there. People who are ready to embrace the world, their physical limits and feel the wind, sun, dirt, adventure, fatigue and push past mental and physical self imposed limits.

How do we even know what we can really do unless we bump up against it, keep going, bump up against it and just keep going. It’s a mental thing, these self imposed limits. I’m convinced we were born to move. And move a lot. That after a 100 mile bike ride, 13 mile run/walk, or a 16 mile hike in the woods, you are able to uncover unconscious thoughts, stresses, hurts, joys, and memories of your life and deal with them there.

A year and four months ago, I was diagnosed with two ruptured discs in my lower back. I struggled so hard with just the simple daily: walking, sleeping, sitting… To take a plane trip was almost unbearable. Doctor after doctor had their “fix.” But none of it worked for me and I was NOT going to go the surgery route. I finally listened to John Sarno’s book Mind over Back Pain, a book that was recommended to be by a couple of friends. In essence he makes a case that lower back pain originates in the mind. Basically, stress and negative self talk cause muscle spasms leading to back pain.

I was a pretty darn good athlete growing up with my competitive waterskiing and show skiing. I’ve always had a gym membership and never went more than two weeks without “working out” but until I pushed past this, it never really mattered. It was just a checkmark in the to do list. But push three times past a normal workout and do it every morning for a year and it will truly be a life changing event.

You never know what tomorrow will bring, but this girl heading to Chicago to speak on a panel at the ASPS meeting, hopes with confidence that next year this time, she completes the Rocketman Triathlon, meets new friends, is faster, stronger and more in love with living life than ever before.

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