Maggie Rusch

Professional Triathlete

The Days are Long but the Years are Short

According to Timehop, I raced my first ever triathlon FIVE years ago today! 

I have a few other posts in the queue that my perfectionist self has delayed hitting "post" on but this is an easy one so indulge me for a quick trip down memory lane! 

Back in 2011, less than a year fresh out of college and bumbling through an entry-level position in DC, I was haphazardly training myself using some plan I'm pretty sure I found online. Training was spotty and I'm pretty sure the majority of my bike workouts were done via spin class at my local gym—on a spin bike with toe cages.

With relatively minimal training, I traveled back home to race an olympic distance triathlon in New Orleans, something which has now become kind of a yearly pilgrimage for me—though I've upgraded to the 70.3 distance (Aside: remember the 5150 distance and how that was going to be Ironman's next big "thing"/feeder series? Yeah, not so much.)

When I won my age-group at that first race, I never would have dreamed of where this sport would end up taking me in such a short time. I can honestly say that I am so thankful for every race, win, struggle, learning opportunity, coach (3), training partner, bike (3), position change, hospital visit (2) and every single triathlete I've met via social media along the way (100s). 

Looking back, it's hard to believe that I have only been in this sport for about five years... but at the same time it seems like the years have flown by in no time. For this reason, one of my mantras in training as of late has been, 

Sometime I get frustrated by where I am currently in my pro career. Or at my (perceived) progress. Then I have to remind myself that I'm still relatively new compared to a lot of my peers racing alongside me. That I'm only 28. That I'm lucky to be in a sport where athletes can race well into their 40s and still find success.

But at the end of the day, I need to look back and remember how quickly these last five years have passed—and how the next five will likely feel speed by even quicker.

It's a good thing to keep reminding ourselves, "the days are long but the years are short." Don't take it for granted. 

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