This is a blog for the strong, the determined, the wild. In the past ten years more than 100 have joined the triBE on a journey to BE strong, to BE fierce, to BE triathletes. We are dedicated to the belief that anyone can BE a triathlete and support each other in every endeavor. Our team members are all sizes, speeds, and ages. This is our story.

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening any more." ~Florence Griffith Joyner

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Reflections:Michelle Hartog

Michelle near the finish! 
Battling the Beast

I was pretty sure my short triathlon career was over.  After completing 4 sprints I really did not think I would participate in another, after all I am not much of a runner, my swim was not great, but I was a decent cyclist and at 52 years old it does not get easier.  After a hysterectomy sidelined me from the 2010 Danskin after several months of training, I did think about 2011, but I was not optimistic.  However the year was not over.  I recovered quickly from the hysterectomy only to find out I had breast cancer in September 2010.  WTF? I had no risk factors, not a smoker, no family history, exercised daily, have not eaten red meat in over 35 years, and here I was after a routine mammogram (they do save lives!) discovered an abnormality which we later discovered was a malignant tumor.  It was small and early so the prognosis was good, but it still involved bilateral mastectomies, chemotherapy, and reconstruction.

After my last reconstructive procedure in September 2011, a year to the day from my diagnosis, I began to do what I could to get stronger: pilates, barre class, yoga, weight training, spin class, I became a bit stronger but it was slow, my endurance was non existent, and the anti-hormonal meds I was taking made my joints and muscles very sore and caused incredible fatigue, not exactly what one needs to complete a triathlon.

I ran into Deb at TPS and she asked if I want to join her group, and in a momentary lapse of reason, I said yes.  I was in, plus I got to swim in the Trinity pool. The training was great, no pressure, just encouragement.  I began swimming, 3-4 days per week, and I gradually increased my distance.  Maybe I could do it!

I did not register until a month before the race, and it was then that I noticed there was another option, a super sprint! Shorter run, Yayyy!. 

I did the race with my best swim time ever.  I was honored to be surrounded by all of the amazing tribe women in all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities.  I feel stronger and feel like I have finally conquered the beast.  It is a daily challenge, but I feel like the worst is over and behind me.  I am so glad I said  “yes” to Deb that day and had the privilege to meet and train with all of you!
“More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin.” ~Unknown

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