Any dream can be a reality!

Any dream can be a reality!

by Lia Z.

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams a reality.” – Greg S. Reid

This quote has offered so much inspiration and motivation over the past couple of years. It began with a lifestyle change that led to not only a physical transformation, but a mental one. It opened the door for me to have the courage to try something new.

This story starts with an indoor triathlon. All I had to do was keep moving at whatever pace was comfortable for me.

I was on the phone with my brother-in-law, who asked, “And what is THIS going to turn into??”

“Nothing, nothing!” I assured him, “I’m only doing this to support a friend.”

He laughed and all-knowingly said, “Ok…”

I could hear his smirk all the way from Wisconsin. Little did I know, that friend was about to become my training partner.

The ET indoor triathlon came and I had a blast! It was so much fun and I ended up pushing myself harder than I planned. It was easy to get caught up in the moment with an Experience Triathlon (ET) Coach yelling encouragement, telling me to dig deep and go faster the last two minutes on the bike. The following three words summed up how I felt after that event: I. Am. Hooked.

A month later, I bought my first road bike and had a registration email for the ET Naperville Sprint Triathlon in my inbox. I signed up with my very own ET Coach and met with the one and only Jada Butler of ET Personal Coaching to talk about my training.

“I have two goals for this race,” I told her over coffee. “To finish in one piece and to get to the start line injury-free.”

Any race I’d ever done in the past was with an injury. My first 10k: I threw my back out the DAY BEFORE the race. Some may say I persevered, while others may say I was crazy for participating. My first half-marathon: I ran with tendinitis in my foot.

The logical side of me said, “Don’t race.”

But the determined side of me, who got my butt out of bed on those Saturday mornings when I’d rather be sleeping, screamed back, “But you did ALL THAT TRAINING!”

The determined side won that argument, and although there were consequences, I finished the race.

Jada’s support meant, and continues to mean, everything. From random questions about logistics to what equipment I would need to pack in my bag, Jada had an answer – even on how to ride in the rain. The day Jada, and her husband Russ, joined me and my training partner for a ride there were gray clouds in the sky. She assured us the radar was clear; it was just overcast. As luck would have it, about 10 minutes into the ride it started to rain. Then it started to pour.

“You guys want to head back?” she yelled through the downpour.

“I’m good to keep going!”

I always feel like this kind of question is a test – a test of your grit and how determined you are to finish that workout. The competitor in me wanted to keep up with the experienced athletes.

“This is a great opportunity in case it rains… nothing new on race day!” Jada shouted over the storm.

Great, something else to worry about.

Fast forward a few months and I’m standing on the sand at Centennial Beach with a thousand other triathletes for the ET Naperville Sprint Triathlon – my first official race. I felt great! It was Coach Joe’s favorite forecast: 80 degrees and sunny! There wasn’t a rain cloud in sight and my support team was there. I was ready.

I gave it my all while having a great time! Doing a race like this never crossed my mind as a real possibility. This dream, that I didn’t even know I had, would not have happened without the support of my training partner, my friends, my family, and my amazing ET coach, Jada. They all offered endless words of encouragement along the way and helped me wake up at 4:30 a.m. to train. Jada got me to the start line injury-free and over the finish line in one piece. She transformed my dream into a goal and came up with a plan to make it a reality.

The very next week I told Jada I wanted to do the ET Pleasant Prairie Sprint that was about a month away. I packed my bag, made sure I had everything ready. I even made sure I got in a ride with my new speed and cadence tracker that came just a few days prior. I kept hearing her voice in my head, “Nothing new on race day!”

And just like that, the rain started pouring down. Racing through the stormy weather ended up being ok. I simply adjusted my expectations and before I knew it, I had another race under my belt!

My triathlon journey is just beginning. I don’t know what lies ahead. I don’t know when my next race is. I don’t know how big I’ll dare to dream. But what I do know is that along with my wonderful coach and this amazing community – any dream can be a reality!

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