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My First Tri - Cheryl Augustine

June 19th 2013

I am sure there are as many stories as there are people who attempt to do a triathlon, after all we all need something to inspire and propel us forward.

My story is probably similar to many, yet different as well. If I could coax or inspire even one person to believe in themselves, their dreams-to not settle for status quo, to get off the sidelines and start living life, then I would consider this effective - if I could get them to be afraid and do it anyway, that would be a success.

People say why a tri; I say why not?!

Overweight my whole life, always an athletic supporter, and athlete wanna be, that is me, and then one day I woke up, hired a personal trainer and decided enough with the fad diets, I needed to start exercising and eating right under proper supervision...best decision I ever made.

I have never looked back, my trainer lit a light in me that I will never extinguish, yes I am still overweight, but I have lost 60 pounds, and continue to lose. Every day I awaken and am excited to see what my body can do, what will I be able to accomplish today.  This is where my story differs from many, and that has to do with my body limitations, or what many would consider to be limitations, to me they were just extra challenges to overcome.

You see, I have a pacemaker in my heart, and I have a plate and screw in my left knee-added aches and pains yes, but by no means a reason not to attempt my first triathlon, so last year I set out to train for the 2012 My First Tri.  It was at that time I blew out my back and could not even walk, I had complicated back surgery with placement of multiple forms of hardware this past September.

Not one to let this slow me down, I instead decided to dedicate my back rehab and the 2013 My First Tri to both my trainer Peter Verstegen and my neurosurgeon Jef Masciopinto MD.  Thus, 8 months after surgery, I will cross the finish line, no longer a patient, but a triathlete!

I will not be fast, it will not be pretty, but I am thrilled beyond words to be able to attempt this athletic feat, something for so many years I thought meant only for “those people.”   Training for this has been frustrating and exhilarating, and every emotion in between.  I can’t wait to get started so I can finish and say “LOOK WHAT I JUST DID.”

Cheryl Augustine 

Editor:  Everyone has a story.  We've all struggled with something in our lives, whether it's weight or bullies or work (or...or...or...).  Leading up to My First Tri, we want to share a few stories from participants and give voice to their reason for signing up to complete their first triathlon.

Click here to read about Melissa Giernoth's road to becoming a skydiver.

Click here to read about Becky Mueske's journey to a possible Bon Jovi tattoo.