This is gonna be a big one. If you're new around here, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Melissa Franklin Kahn. Nice to meet you. I'm going to be sharing a few diary entries with you as I begin what is the biggest, hardest, and scariest adventure of my life. It's something I want. Something I want more than anything. Something that I'm obsessed with. And something harder than anything else I've ever attempted. Harder than losing 110 pounds. Harder than birthing four children (ouch). Harder than training my dog not to eat my running shoes.
If you've been around a while you know I've done one triathlon. Read about it HERE when you have an hour to spare and need a hearty laugh.
I wasn't trained properly. Looking back, I see that now. Ah hindsight. It's always 20/20. I had never stepped foot into open water prior to the day of the triathlon (whaaaa?) and I had never done a proper brick workout. Don't even get me started. Breathe out and release.....
So.... I knew I'd be back for more. I knew it. I have to. I have to redeem myself. Let's call this post:
BLOG / DIARY ENTRY ONE:
I've done it. I decided that I need redemption. One final triathlon. Only one more. After this...never again. Why? Because the last one left me feeling empty. I was not trained properly. I wasn't INTO it. Which makes sense because in my mind, I"m not really an "athlete." I see all you people out there, all fit and fabulous, in your tri kits (for non-triathletes - the "kit" is your outfit. No clue why it's called a kit, but whatever...) I see you out there on your aero road bikes, hunkered down in 3rd gear cruising down the road preparing for your Ironman. We're not the same. You're motivated. You're focused. You're INTO this.
I'm motivated, yeah...I'm focused, sometimes. But mostly I'm on that bike, feeling like a kamikaze pilot without a helmet (figuratively speaking - I ALWAYS wear a helmet when biking and you should too)... but my point?? You guys look LEGIT. Street cred is oozing out of your finely tuned calf muscles. Me? Not so much. My visual would include a heifer on a bike, with cookie crumbs falling off in the wind as I pedal feverishly to reach 11mph. Like I said before - don't judge.
I feel like a fraud sometimes, attempting to do this stuff. I feel like the younger, insecure Melissa comes out and says "BUT YOU CAN'T DO THIS, BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT WORTHY OF THE TITLE. You're not worthy of being called an "ATHLETE." Do you know how hard it is to stifle that? Years and years of stifling it, yet sometimes it comes up to the surface again, a coldhearted reminder of the person I used to be. A reminder of the life I used to lead. I push it back down.
I'M DOING THIS.
Not sure if I'm convincing myself or the people who I think doubt me. And really the only one who doubts me is old-Melissa of years past. New brazen Melissa thinks "SCREW YOU, inner voice of doubt, I CAN DO THIS!" But then the haunting thoughts and insecurities of a lifetime of obesity and unworthiness come barreling down at me. Stifling them takes work. I am a pro though. I stifle like I eat cookies: LIKE A BOSS.
I hired a coach. A real triathlon coach. She trains Kona finishers. She's the real deal. Does she KNOW that I'm "not an athlete?" Does she sense that I'm scared out of my ever-loving mind? Maybe. I've told her as much but she nods and keeps going, because I think in some crazy alternate universe - she BELIEVES I can do this. She BELIEVES in me. She's nuts. But if SHE believes I can do it-maybe I can? Maybe? Just MAYBE she's right.
Maybe Terrance is right (he's my trainer, I've worked with him for 3 years and he's telling me he thinks I can do this too) Maybe THEY ARE RIGHT.
Maybe I should believe them and when they say they believe I can do it- I'll allow myself to think for just ONE minute that I can do it. I PREACH all the time that the body goes where the mind leads it. I'm crazy enough to buy into my own theory on this one. I CAN FINISH THIS THING. I can cancel out all the other noise in the background and focus on my goal.
Coach sent me my first week's training plan yesterday. CUE. THE. TEARS. I'm not an emotional person. I'm also not technologically savvy. It took me a year to learn how to play Candy Crush properly. Don't judge. This program is new to me - it's complicated when you look at it and I THOUGHT I saw one workout per day (no worries, piece of proverbial cake... mmmmm...cake...) then I looked again. Two workouts per day. That's on TOP of my daily routine (running/cross training every other day at 5am) So suddenly, my world comes crashing in. It just turned into a part time job to train properly for a triathlon. I'M NOT AN ATHLETE is what I stifle every minute of every day, replacing it with thoughts of "SHUT UP KAHN, YOU ARE AN ATHLETE NOW." One day, I think I might believe it. Until then, I'm content to repeat it over and over, kind of like that SNL affirmation that "you're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people like you!"
I looked closely at the first swim. I don't even know what half of of this stuff means (thankfully my coach 'splained it all to me after I emailed her in a fury of 6 messages within 2 minutes all full of despair). She talked me off the ledge (mostly) But here's the thing. The job of DOING this is still up to me. The job of stifling the haunting, inner ghosts of decades...the job of stifling the memories of comments thrown at me like rocks "you're not good enough, you're too fat, you'll never amount to anything, you're worthless..." that job belongs to me, in addition to my "new" job, training for this event.
What's the event? It's (obviously) a triathlon. But not just ANY triathlon. And not an Ironman (because I'm not that crazy). It's a triathlon deep in the hills near Mount Everest. It's at altitude. I don't breathe well in thick air, let alone thin air.
For someone like me - this IS my Mount Everest. This IS the pinnacle of what my life has been leading me towards. And that scares the crap out of me.
Why? Because if someone like ME... someone who spent her whole life (up until a few years ago) morbidly obese, immobile, unhappy, insecure, alone... could think for one MILLISECOND that this is possible, and I put my adventure out there for the rest of you to join in, to follow along, to maybe even cheer me on....maybe even ONE person will be inspired to not give up. To think for one minute that there's a glimmer of hope (and there IS) that they, too, can get healthy, get motivated, get inspired... then it's all worth it. Then I'll know I helped make a change in someone's life, for the better. I'll know that my effort isn't in vain and that in making a fool of myself (which we know is bound to happen, let's be honest...)...someone out there, reading and following along, will have the courage to get off the couch and say ENOUGH. The courage to take control of their own life and make positive changes....
THAT'S what this is about. So please, leave a comment if you're inclined, and let me know that you're out there, cheering me on, because this is the biggest, ballsiest, scariest thing I've ever done in all of my 29 (work with me) years on this earth. And I'm scared.
If you're on twitter and follow me (@MelissaKahn7), I'd LOVE everyone to use the #iKahn hashtag in any situation where you'd like extra support and encouragement. As a community we can make a difference. We can help support, encourage, and motivate each other. Tag your posts #iKahn so that we can encourage each other!
I'll be sharing more blog posts about this and I also have some VERY exciting news coming soon about who I'm partnering with on this journey. It's gonna be pretty UUUUUUUUGE so check back often.
In the meantime, leave me a comment to know you're behind this insanity. Support will make me feel better. Having #theHerd behind me makes a big difference in my life, as it does in many of yours.
Love you all!