Finding My Place as an Athlete
Some believe that participating in a triathlon/run/cycle, etc. race is only made for those involved with sports from an early age or with an aptitude for it. We can't deny the fact that this definitely gives you some edge, but regardless of your background the truth is that you only need to WANT it very much!!
I was a regular kid, involved with sports at school but nothing major. As I grew older, I discovered the love for swimming, running and being active. Sports was the best therapy to balance any challenges in my daily life, but my priority was always to study or work. My career in financial markets demanded quite a lot of my time and energy and I would have never expected to be able to develop my love for sports any further than going to the gym three to four times per week. I would just think: “Ah...that's only made for those working in sports or amateur athletes since they were a kid…not for me, I can't do it”.
Living in London's fast-paced environment for a few years, the wake-up call came when I was transferred to Brazil for work in 2014. Brazil is an amazing country and within its positives is that they are very fond of sports! There are amateur sports teams all over very open to beginners and easy to adjust to working hours. I started by joining a running club, I was at the slowest pace group by then. Sports allowed me to meet so many new friends with common interests outside of work and through them, I learned about triathlon. It was great to start swimming again!
In 2015 I joined a triathlon team thinking I was out of my mind since I didn't even know how to ride a road/triathlon bike. A few months afterward, I had my first taste of Sprint and Olympic triathlon competitions and I was amazed by those doing half or full Ironman. I set my target on it and by the end of the year raced my first 70.3 Ironman in Miami. That was the kick off for me, I discovered a passion in triathlon and started breaking some barriers I had put there myself. Believing in myself and seeing that working hard towards a goal was working for sports as well as it worked for studying/work encouraged me to want more. I didn't need to be a sports revelation or work in the field, I just needed to follow my training diligently and results started to come!
In 2016 I kept learning and improving across different races and it paid off…I won my age group at 70.3 Ironman in Rio de Janeiro and qualified for my first 70.3 World Champs in Chattanooga (2017). In 2017 I decided to take an extra step and challenge myself to a Full Ironman…I loved it, hit my target sub-11h and I learned lots towards preparation. By the end of the year, I was placed second at a 70.3 Ironman and qualified again for 70.3 World Champs (2018). The progress continued along 2018 where I managed my first sub-5h on a 70.3 Ironman and a 4th place (8th overall) at a full Ironman.
I am now dreaming about Kona and hope to continue improving to someday accomplish that. I have faith in hard work and dedication and hope I can soon add this to my story.
I would like to leave you all with my story to trust yourselves more and know, that no matter your background you can get wherever you want to be if you work for it. Don't let anyone tell you that you “are not made for that”, you are the only one to set your own limits. The path isn't easy, but it sure feels great when you make your dreams true!!
Written by Mireia Masip, Siren Luminary
Follow Mireia on Instagram! @mimaca_cat