Thanks Audrey for asking me to guest blog over here at Rewired Life. I’ve gone through several stuck phases in my life and have always turned to the honest and authentic written word in personal blogs for inspiration. Something about the shared journey, complete with pitfalls and triumphs has worked wonders and dragged me out of dark places. I’m honored to share a little bit of my path.
I currently compete in Ironman triathlons; 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and 26.2 mile run, back-to-back-to-back. They are my passion in life, a perfect juxtaposition of play and progress. I swam, biked, and ran for the last 5 years with a singular focus, my laser beam set upon acquiring a “wooden bowl,” given to the top 5 women in each 5-year age category at the Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (AKA “Kona”).
Getting to a point in my life where I could set a goal so high was in and of itself a monumental accomplishment. In 2006, a year after having my daughter, I was knee deep in depression, unhealthy eating habits, a loss of self, and I found myself looking in the mirror wondering where the heck I had gone? I always saw myself as this outdoorsy girl, a lover of adventure, travel, and meeting new people. That girl wasn’t looking back at me in the mirror. Instead there was a girl who commonly stuck her tongue out at herself as she walked by that mirror. A girl feeling heavy in her body, and unhappy in her soul.
I had gotten to a point where the sting of asking for help was less than the pain of looking at my lost self in the mirror and I bit the bullet. I asked. I asked for help with nutrition, which lead to help with becoming an athlete, which lead to help with swimming and biking and running, which eventually lead to help racing triathlons and in 2009 I completed my first Ironman. In 2010 I qualified for my first Kona and had an outstanding debut coming in 15th in the world, 10 places short of the podium. A dream was born. I wanted a wooden bowl.
Another solid year of training under my belt, in 2011 I raced to 10th place in my age group, 5 short of a wooden bowl. At this point I can taste it. Buckle down, make more sacrifices, give up more personal time, eat less ice cream, train more, train harder.
In 2013, I felt strange. I felt fit, but I also felt sad. The “sacrifices” I had made were not in line with my values. I was afraid for the race to go well because I was scared that the emotionally unhealthy steps I took to stand on the start line were what was required for success. I remember thinking “if this is how you get successful, I don’t want success.”
What you believe you will achieve! I finished the swim and bike legs in record time for me, I tied my laces and hit the ground running in 5th place in my age group. Bowl Territory! Several miles down the road my new and improved nutrition plan dealt me a huge blow with GI distress, and at that point, due to the emotional baggage I carried through the year, I gave up on the bowl, walked/jogged/stumbled my way through the marathon and watched as 14 women in my age group passed me and my coveted wooden bowl disappeared far far down the road.
But a seed had been planted in the pit of my stomach and it started to grow. I hired a new coach and during a heart to heart he confided in me that “my problem” was that I didn’t BELIEVE in myself. This resonated deeply with me as only truth can do. Our goal became to find the fun, reinforce the deep belief in my capabilities, and see where that got us.
In 2013 I was 6th in Kona in a time of 9:54 which holds the record for the fastest time to NOT EARN A BOWL! Still, I continued to work on my belief that “it” was possible through meditation, therapy, and letting go of limitations that no longer served me. In 2014 I raced to 2nd in my age group, and a beautiful wooden bowl sits on my headboard.
As I look back on the past 5 years I can find countless instances where I achieved exactly what I believed I could achieve. No more, no less, direct correlation, perfect alignment. And with each passing day, I now think very deliberately about what I believe to be true, attainable, possible. For I now know that I am crafting and building my future reality.
Follow Sonja’s adventures at gosonja.com and definitely check her out if you are into swimming, cycling, running, or ALL THREE!
Thank you Sonja for sharing your heart! Follow us every Friday for more inspirational women, and click here to read previous stories.