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Triathlon

Allison Moehlis: Why Tri? The Starting Point of the Journey to a Half Ironman Triathlon Finish Line

As Allison Moehlis trains for the Sept. 11 Santa Cruz Half Ironman Triathlon, she’ll be taking Noozhawk readers along for her ride. Click to view larger
As Allison Moehlis trains for the Sept. 11 Santa Cruz Half Ironman Triathlon, she’ll be taking Noozhawk readers along for her ride. (Moehlis family photo)

[Noozhawk’s note: First in a series of reports as Goleta mom Allison Moehlis embarks on her first Half Ironman Triathlon — and writes about her experience.]

I haven’t had a single loved one tell me I’m crazy and discourage me (at least not for this ... yet). They seemed to know I was going to commit while I still felt committable for even thinking about it.

The decision didn’t come lightly. I set and achieved physical and scheduling goals, got the thumbs up from a sports medicine doctor and trainer, assessed the finances, and searched without avail for valid reasons not to do it.

So on Jan. 27, among cheers of joy from my loved ones, I registered for the Santa Cruz Half Ironman Triathlon (1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike ride, 13.1-mile run) coming up on Sept. 11.

I registered not just because I want to physically and mentally challenge myself to an extent that I haven’t before, or because I am turning 40 this year and think I have something to prove to myself, or because I have enjoyed doing triathlons in the past.

It is all those reasons and one more that I discovered during the should-I-or shouldn’t-I stage.

I am acutely aware that this is going to take discipline that I am not accustomed to. I heard my inner voice saying, “That was an ‘Ironman Decision’” while I was going the extra miles to see if I could, and getting to bed early so that I could go a few more miles the next morning, and opting out of a second beer so I felt better when I trained the next day.

It quickly became apparent that this was equally, if not more, a mental challenge than a physical challenge, and that the decisions that will lead me to the finish line are decisions that will strengthen other areas of my life.

I’ve realized that the most important reason why I am training for a Half Ironman Triathlon is because I want to do everything I can to avoid history repeating itself.

You see, when I turned 30, I was, let’s say, flabby and, more important, I was suffering from depression. There was a crippling, dark cloud over me that was blocking out all light and joy.

I have been grasping for ways to usher in 40 as a celebration, unlike my sad introduction to 30. Exercise and participating in athletic events have been among the most effective medicines for bringing me back to balance.

As I train for the Half Ironman Triathlon I look forward to assessing the impact it has on my mental armor and the outlook I have on my fourth decade. I am elated to have made the transition from “She’s crazy enough to be fitted for a one armed jacket” to “She’s crazy enough to attempt a Half Ironman Triathlon.”

Plus, according to Melanie Fink and Don Fink in the book IronFit Secrets for Half-Iron Distance Triathlon Success, the Half Ironman is “Triathlon’s most popular distance.”

This excites me because now I know I will be surrounded by lots of people just like me ... Crazy for tri-ing.

Noozhawk contributing writer Allison Moehlis is proud to have earned many participation medals for completing half-marathons, metric century bike rides and triathlons. When she is not basking in the glow of her medal collection, she is a working mom of two bright and talented daughters and a happy wife of 16 years. Click here to read more columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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