Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Tamarynn - Meet Vulnerability & Accomplishment

This post has been so difficult to write. I’ve been thinking about what I would say for several days, and I can’t seem to come up with anything without making myself completely vulnerable.


First, I feel like I need to give some insight into the life of me, Tamarynn.

I’m a jock.

Athletics and outdoor activities are my thing – they always have been. It’s funny, because I would never in a million years have thought of myself as creative, so it’s sort of ironic that I have a “craft” blog. In fact, a lot of people who really know me are surprised at the content of my blog. They wonder why I don’t have some sort of “fitness” blog instead.


I think it has to do with the fact that fitness is too close to my heart. I can’t adequately capture in words what it means to me. It’s what I’m passionate about. It is a HUGE part of who I am. Sometimes I think it’s easier to share parts of yourself that aren’t as close to home, you know?


Nevertheless, I’ve written about it before and I’m going to attempt to write about it again today.


Because this past weekend I did the Triathamom triathlon.


I’ve done lots of triathlons before, including the Boise IronMan.


So what made this one different?


It was like starting all over again.

As many of you know, I had my 4th child in July. With each of my other children, I’ve been able to start working out after 6-weeks and it’s been fine. Challenging – but it worked out ok.



Once the 6-weeks were up, I was eager to get going. After all, it had been over a year since I had last ran, biked, or swam. I worked out during my pregnancy, but with my risk of pre-term labor, my workouts were very limited. I had a little over one month until the race. I knew that wasn’t enough time to train the way I would like to for a race, but Triathamom was a noncompetitive race so I figured this would be the perfect one for me to do before winter hit.


It seemed like the cards were stacked against me from the very first workout. Swimming felt great, slow – but great. The race was 300 meters, and I was able to swim 1 mile (1600 meters) fine.


Running was a completely different story. Running has always been my weakest and hardest event. I’m not a runner by any means, and I struggle to get myself motivated to actually do it. I jumped on the treadmill and couldn’t even run for 7 minutes without having to walk.

7 minutes!

Are you joking? How is it that one year ago I could run a half marathon (13.1 miles) AFTER swimming 1.2 miles and biking 55 miles, yet now I can’t seem to run more than 7 minutes?!


Then I wanted to bike. The only time I could bike was Saturday. By the time my husband got home at night during the week, it was too dark to go out, so I tried to go Saturday morning. After feeding my baby, I had 30 minutes to bike before we had to go to my kids’ soccer games. If you know much about biking, 30 minutes isn’t very much time to bike. Especially if you haven’t biked in over a year.


Labor Day weekend came and we went out-of-town to my parents’ house. I brought my bike. I was able to fit in a 15-mile ride. It was so hard. Like everything else, I was slow. By the end of the ride, my legs were in spasms.


School started for my girls and for the first time in over 3 years, I could use a jogging stroller because I would only have 2 children. I was so excited to be able to run outside (I don’t enjoy treadmills). However, another obstacle was waiting for me. 1.5 miles into my run I got a flat tire. I sobbed. I stopped right there in the road and bawled my eyes out. Frustration doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. Let’s just say that was a long walk home with a lot of tears.


Since the jogging stroller didn’t work, I tried to run on the treadmill at the gym again. Want to know what happened? 4 minutes into my run I got paged to the playroom.


Now you might be wondering what about other days? Surely every day wasn’t this bad?

The answer is I teach group fitness classes 3 days a week, which means that’s 3 days a week I couldn’t train for the triathlon. Saturdays seemed to be filled with soccer games, Primary activities, birthday parties, etc.


The week of the race was here. To date I had swam 3 times, biked twice, and ran outside once and that was my flat tire incident. In 5 days I was going to have to run a 5K (3.1 miles) and the furthest I had run was 1.5 miles.


I decided to give one last shot at running. I went to the gym and ran for 3.5 miles!!!! Hooray!!! I was beyond ecstatic.


Then the week unfolded and I didn’t get another workout in. The night before I was beating myself up, wishing I hadn’t even signed up, dreading the morning.


I got to the race and set up my transition area.


The old race feelings started creeping in. I missed my brother. He’s the one I did the IronMan with in the picture above. We do almost every race together, so I felt like part of me was missing.

Then I ran into my friend Becca.

I was so happy to see a familiar face and we hung out together until the race started.

Pool start

Both my girls had soccer games that morning, so I wanted to be one of the first to start so I could finish in time to make it to the games, so I said good-bye to Becca and went to the front of the line.


The race began. Suddenly, I felt so alive. My body took over and just went. Adrenaline was flowing through me and I felt great. I’ve always loved the swimming part of the race. Your body just glides through water and you feel light as a feather. No worries, no loads to hold you down. I can clear my head and just glide.


I got out of the water and jumped on the bike. I also thoroughly enjoy biking. The first 5 miles were a steady climb. I did my best to keep my cadence up and kept plugging along. My legs were burning, but I knew the remainder of the race was downhill and I could rest them then. Again, the adrenaline was surging and I channeled that into my ride. I felt strong.


Then came the run. Thank goodness we were able to use music. I had put together a playlist the night before and I blasted it in my ears. I tried to empty my mind and just let the rhythm of the music keep my body going. My one goal of the race was I didn’t want to walk on the run. I’ll admit that I came so close to walking. Then I remembered my mantra:

“I am stronger than one more mile.”

“I am stronger than my lungs being on fire.”

“I am stronger than this hill.”

“I am stronger than 5 more minutes of cardio.”


Guess what?

Saturday I was stronger.

I ran the entire run. I crossed that finish line and my husband was there with my 4 kids ringing cowbells and cheering me on.

My girls had their faces painted and had made me signs. The pride in their eyes as they gave me their signs made my heart melt.

My 2-year old son ran up to me with the biggest grin on his face saying “Mommy!”, then didn’t want to leave my side.

It’s moments like these that make all the hard moments of being a mom worth it.


I had forgotten how good it felt to finish a triathlon.

I had forgotten the feeling of accomplishment as I crossed that finish line.

I had forgotten what a stress reliever it is for me to get in a good workout. To channel all my aggressions, frustrations, worries, fears, etc. into my workout and feel the stress melt away. To feel in control of my life, if only for a brief moment.


This is part of what fitness means to me. Thank you for reminding me Triathamom.

Thank you for giving me that.

Thank you for helping me feel like I gained a piece of me back.


Remember, that the hardest step is the one out the door.


If you want to do Triathamom next year, visit their Facebook page for a chance to win a free entry!

I know I’ll be there!


Oh and if you want something a little more light-hearted today (and a tutorial), come say “hi” over at Skip to My Lou, where I’m guest posting as part of the Handmade Holiday Craft, Bake, & Sew Along.



  1. Holy crap! Way to go sister. I've never thought of doing a triathlon before but you make me want to. I've done a half and full marathon, but I am NOT a swimmer. Anyway, thanks for the motivation to try something new.

  2. Holy impressive, Tam! I'm not athletic by any means and the thought of doing anything like this seems so unreachable (and, since I don't enjoy doing most things like running, I think, "why do that to yourself? that doesn't sound like fun!"). I'm so glad that you were able to push past the difficulties and get back into doing something you love, though. As a mom, it's so important to find an outlet and to be able to do something we enjoy. Go you!

  3. congratulations! what an amazing accomplishment especially since you had so much to overcome to get there! i completely sympathize with how hard it was for you to get into your groove. after i had my little guy, i had gained so much weight with him that i could only walk on my treadmill for 8 minutes :( and it was crushing. i needed to work the weight off to even feel normal, and yet it seemed that my body wouldn't let me. it felt awful!

  4. You rock Tam!!! That is amazing! I am such a lazy you know what... Really. I haven't really worked out since... HIGH SCHOOL! haha. Must do better!
    By the way... I thought those first few paragraphs were interesting. My real life friends don't even know I have a mostly craft blog. And if they did... they'd probably be shocked too. haha

  5. Love you Tam! I can't thank you enough for helping make this event so meaningful to me! This was so beautiful to read! I can't wait till next year!

  6. You did such a great job! So glad it turned out so well especially after the frustrating training. You are a strong woman! Congratulations!

  7. Hi there! I found you through your wonderful interview over at Suzy's place today. I just sat and read this post and wholeheartedly agree with so many points you made.
    I'm not a triathlete - I just run - but getting back into working out after having my kids made me a much nicer person to be around, and allowed me to cope with so much more. I loved reading about your kids cheering you on at the finish line - Our girls do that too - and I keep the posters and signs they make for me and my husband (we both run). Seeing their faces and how proud they are of us makes it worthwhile. A couple of years ago - my eldest read a prayer out in assemly at school that she had written, thanking God for making her mummy and daddy strong enough to run the Pyramid Race! I was so proud of her and of myself too.

    Thanks for sharing this post - it reminded me of quite how much I get out of my running in relation to my kids!

    I'm off now to explore your lovely blog some more!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  8. This is so awesome! I love that last photo! Way to go!

  9. And what she is NOT telling you, is that she seriously, seriously rocked the house! I was there, I know her time.. She blew us out of the water!! Way to go Sister!!!

  10. good job that is a great accomplishment! with 4 kids I can't believe you find any free time!!

  11. What an amazing & inspiring post!!!! Thanks so much for sharing with us! I really appreciate when bloggers share personal bits - it makes your blog more "real" I think....like you have real struggles and victories too :) I'm totally impressed that you did it after a 4th baby in July....YOU ROCK! I'm working to lose baby weight from #3 so thanks for the motivation.

  12. I've never really understood the pushing oneself through thing with exercise. I've not understood the alive thing. I read your post with interest, because exercise is a big part of my daughter's life. In the past it has been a dangerous part of her life - she was hospitalized with severe weight loss through exercise bulimia. I've tried to understand her love for the thing that can get out of control in her life, what it means to her. I may not ever really be comfortable with the role exercise plays in my daughter's life, but I appreciate reading about what it means to you. Thank you for the insight. Barb

  13. Wow, you should be so proud of yourself. I have no children yet so I know I can't fully understand what you went through but I read that and just wanted to cry. You are amazing, I have never in my life been athletic, I can't run for the life of me, I always want to, but I give up after like 5 min so you are amazing to run a triathlon after 4 kids. Go you!


  14. Thank you for sharing this!! So inspiring and it encouraged me so. I only have to step through the door and I am off...I will remember this every time!

  15. I've only been reading your blog for a little while now and apart from that I don't know you...you don't know me from Eve (I've never really understood that saying til now ha!)

    I am so proud of you. I pray that you'll be blessed for your commitment and my heart swelled up when I read your tale of the day. Well done you! x

  16. very inspiring. working on doing my first half marathon in october

  17. I got all choked up reading this post- you really did a great job capturing what you wanted to say! And Congratulations on finishing something so challenging! I love how you mention the sense of being in control. I crave that feeling in my own life and surely only make decisions that keep me farther from it. Thanks for giving me a lot of good to think about today :)

  18. Way to go! That is a huge accomplishment training or not enough training! Major Kudos to you!

  19. Thanks for your post! Very inspirational! I am a working mom of a 21 month old and have had a difficult time getting any workouts in. I ran a half marathon the week after I found out I was preggers and pretty much haven't run since. After gaining a ton of weight, I just need som motivation to get back to it! Thanks!


Where I am no longer blogging, this blog is for reading purposes only. I am afraid I just can't keep up with it anymore, therefore, I may not be able to reply to all comments. Thank you.

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