Kelly Janowski is Chicagoland foodie blogger turned amateur endurance athlete. She started dabbling in running two years ago before she became inspired to complete an Ironman. With a marathon and sprint triathlon behind her, this summer will hold her first 70.3 half Ironman triathlon…
When I started running, it felt like punishment. I decided I needed to get fit and lose weight. Signing up for a 5K without any running experience seemed like it would motivate me to work out with a purpose. And it did… eventually.
The first time I ran was five weeks before the race. I barely made it a mile, and every step felt like an eternity. I looked for places that I could call my husband from to come and pick me up, and I prayed my shoes would come untied so I could stop. On our way to the race in October of 2010, I asked my husband if anyone ever died doing a 5K. He assured me no one had. But 34 minutes later as I crossed the finish line, I thought I just might be the first.
Running became fun for me when I realized the community that existed around the sport. I made friends to go running with and had a great time at races. I pushed myself to dream a little bigger and go a little further. It was around this time that I saw a YouTube video of an Ironman race recap. Watching this video, I started to sweat. My pulse accelerated. I clicked through to more videos, noting that it wasn’t just chiseled Adonises crossing the finish line. There were moms and pensioners, big athletes and teeny tiny petite girls. There were people in wheelchairs and with prosthetic limbs. And if they could do it, so could I.
I knew at that moment that running wasn’t about getting skinny, and working out was no longer going to be to check a box off of my to-do list. I was going to do something epic. I was going to become an Ironman.
That fall, I completed a half marathon and the next spring, I started shopping for a used road bike. I signed up for my first tri and took a swim lesson to perfect my stroke. I followed an eight-week training plan, logging double workout days and bricks. On race day, I had no idea what to expect, but I snagged first in my age group. The next day, I started training for my first marathon, which I finished with more insight into my body’s limits. I’ve learned myriad facts about myself through these events, and gleaned transferable skills that have improved me as a person. The most important thing I’ve learned thus far is that what I do is not unique, special or superhuman. Anyone can complete a marathon, triathlon or bike ride. It just takes a training plan, time and the perseverance to get out there every day and give it your best try.
This summer brings me to several critical events in building up to the Ironman distance. I’ll complete my first indoor triathlon as a bit of a tune up to assess my fitness. I’ll also dive into long-distance triathlons with the Ironman Racine 70.3 in July in Wisconsin. I hope you’ll join me on my blog, Kelly the Culinarian, as I make the journey to the 140.6 finish line and dream of hearing those magical words: “Kelly Janowski, you are an Ironman!”
And Tri-Eva will be featuring blog articles on Kelly’s journey as well. Stay tuned as she trains towards the next step in her Ironman dream!