doing hard things.

In January I began training for the Gold Nugget Triathlon – an all women’s sprint Tri held in May, at a local high school in Anchorage, Alaska.  This event fills up within minutes and if you’re not signed in and ready to hit the register button immediately upon it’s opening, you won’t get a spot in.

Beginning in January – in all new year resolution rainbow fashion – I began training furiously and with eagerness. I was up before 6am to get swims in, I added sprints to my routine and exercises specifically designed to condition me for a triathlon. I even got on the cycling bike a few times (something I’m just not a fan of) and envisioned myself completing this race and doing well. I was on fire, feeling awesome and in high training spirits. I continued this through March….



… Registration opens in March and I was so excited to get a spot “in” this year! (Anyone who does this event will tell you getting into registration is the hardest leg in the race. haha! It’s true – I swear your heart conditions at high levels with the nervousness and anticipation.) Shortly thereafter I recieved my bib number and this is where everything stopped dead in its tracks. I am almost the very last person to go. My bib number was 10 spots away from the last bib number, my start time isn’t until 3(ish)pm. I literally cried when I found this out. People talk about how this is the worst place and time to race. It’s lonely out there all alone, the excitement is gone, tear down has usually begun since it’s so late in the day, you risk being on the trail alone with a bear(s), etc.

What terrifies me the most is being out there alone on a trail I’m not familiar with and then, what if people have to wait for me? Or even worse, what if everyone cheers me on because I’m the last person? I hate that pressure. I want to be in the comfortable spot – in the middle, in the thick of things. I want to blend in with everyone else. I don’t want to be noticed. I want to finish with the pack.

I very seriously considered emailing the race directors and begging for a new bib number. I knew people were doing this already because of one thing or another, they want to go later or earlier or with someone or whatever. But really, it’s the luck of the draw. I considered emailing and asking to join a team that was going earlier (like much much earlier. 10/11am.) but…. I just didn’t feel right about it. I felt like for whatever reason the universe has me at this bib number. Sometimes you shouldn’t mess with chance, the universe, or random assignments.

Fast forward several weeks. We are now a couple weeks away from the big day. I have 95% decided in my mind I am not going to do the race. I have stopped training (I still exercise but stopped cycling and swimming and training with purpose) and I have agreed in my head that I won’t do the triathlon. I don’t tell anyone or make any sort of announcement, I assume I will just let it pass and figure out my answers later. My bike isn’t working that great anyways, my knee has been bugging me a little bit anyways, I don’t feel the best, other issues came up — whatever. I’ll figure it out. I can’t deal with the fear of going out there alone. I am quitting. I am giving up before it starts and that is that.

I don’t know exactly what changed in my mind, but four days before the triathlon I have decided I WILL ACTUALLY DO THE TRIATHLON. This may be stupid, because I haven’t swam in two weeks, I haven’t practiced getting out of the deep end of the pool, I haven’t biked on the bike course, I haven’t fixed my bike seat that is literally falling apart (so serious), my swimsuit is ratty and I never had the chance (I choose not to have the chance lets be honest with ourselves) to buy a new/better one that covered up my lower belly love better, I haven’t practiced transitions or bricks or anything that you really should do before you do a tri.

I am not ready nor prepared but… but…. I know that when we do things that challenges us and scares us, it builds our character. It builds our confidence, it adds to our story and allows us to grow as a person. Sometimes the journey is crappy – sometimes it’s not- but what’s the journey at all if you don’t even show up?  I want to at least show up. If I show up, I have won.

I want to find out why the universe has me starting where it does. Who knows, maybe it will be the most magical day of my life? Maybe I will meet my newest best friend? Maybe I will inspire someone, maybe I will have the opportunity to really help or bless someone?

I don’t want to do this triathlon because I’m scared. That’s just the truth. But I want to show up. I want to do hard things. I want to do what scares me because I know I will grow from it, learn from it, and be better because of that.


As long as I don’t see a bear on the trail I will be totally fine, I’m sure of it.

And now that I’ve decided in my to do it, I am actually really excited and I can’t wait! (Weird how that works, right?) 🙂 It is really such a fun event and I love the community of women!

If you read all the way to the end, thank you!! I didn’t realize this would be so long. 🙂 I will put up a recap of the race AFTER I FINISH IT soon. 🙂


Published by Samantha Mellen

Certified personal trainer & health coach helping women transform their lives through fitness, abundant mindset coaching and internal peace. Mom of two boys, living life in Alaska.

3 thoughts on “doing hard things.

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