In honor of Women’s History Month and our initiative of bringing awareness to female athletes in Triathlon…Now presenting our featured athlete, Brandy Garland.
I have been fascinated by triathlons ever since I saw an Ironman race on TV when I was 20, but I really only stumbled into the sport in 2018 when a coworker asked me if I'd ever considered trying one. I told her I'd love to try the sport but I didn't have the gear needed to try one. Her response was to give me everything I needed (bike, helmet, shoes, etc) and then told me there was a women's sprint in 12 weeks. It was plenty of time to train and that I needed to sign up. I couldn't believe it!
I had 2 steep learning curves to overcome in preparation for race day: clip in pedals and open water swimming. So I spent an afternoon in a parking lot doing circles with my new bike learning that I wouldn't fall over on such skinny tires and practicing clipping in/out (and falling) until I felt comfortable enough to leave the parking lot. Next I spent back to back weekends at the lake crying and hyperventilating while convincing myself open water swimming was no different than pool swimming; that I don't need to see the bottom of the lake to know that it's there; that there isn't anything in the lake big enough to eat me and that the buoy could in fact work as a life saving device long enough for me to scream for help and be rescued.
Then two weeks before my big race, I took a tumble down some stairs and hurt my ankle pretty badly. Even though I was injured going into my 1st race, I loved every second of it and knew I'd tripped (pun intended) into a sport l loved. It took me no time at all to sign up for my next race and find the Atlanta Tri Club so I could have training buddies and friends in the sport.
I've been sidelined most of this past year recovering from back surgery. While FOMO has been a constant for me watching everyone else training and racing, being sidelined has given me the chance to learn some amazing lessons: 1) Listening to my body is so important. When it says it needs rest or is hurting, I listen to it now rather than train through injuries because 2) I trust the process. Missing a training day because my body needs something else is actually a part of the process that gets me to the starting line race day and 3) Cheering for and celebrating my friend's races and accomplishments really is the best medicine for FOMO!
And now .... watch out! I've finally been cleared to participate and I've got some patches to earn!!!