My name is Melissa (call me Mel) Haynes and I did my first triathlon in 2008 – the Niagara Try-a-Tri. I still don’t really know what possessed me. I’d seen Ironman on those NBC feature specials and thought “wow, those people are amazing”. It took me a few years to gain the self-confidence to put myself out there and sign up for a race but finally I did and I haven’t looked back.
I finally found the courage to join the summer beginner clinic with the GTC in 2011. My first few try-a-tri’s were “touch bottom” or in a pool. I needed to be able to swim out into the lake and have confidence racing in hillier terrain so I could do Guelph Lake II. Working out with the club was way less intimidating then I thought it would be. I thought I would be the only beginner on a mountain bike, slogging away with minimal equipment amongst all these cool athlete types with million dollar gear and super speed abilities. Instead I met people of all age groups, of all race distances, of all abilities who were willing to give a helping hand, a motivating push, and some helpful advice.
I haven’t travelled too far for races so the Guelph Lake races will always be a favorite – it’s so close to home and I am so familiar and comfortable on the course that I know every crack and pothole on Watson Road with my eyes closed. I’ve done sprint and long sprint and continually work to be a better runner since I don’t come by it naturally. Although I’ve only done the long sprint twice now, I like the distance because it lets me get into a groove and find my pace.
Some things I’ve learned about myself since starting triathlons: I’m stronger than I think I am. I can push myself further than I thought I could. I can’t run without socks. A little shortness of breath is temporary. Running won’t kill me. And Orange Gu is really gross (don’t worry, there are other good flavors).
When I’m not training, I’m in my garden or working on my house. I like to read (but haven’t found a good book lately – any suggestions?). I’ve started a blog. I love chocolate and chips (but not together). And I have the cutest, scruffiest dog in the world.
It’s hard to juggle workouts sometimes and I’m not prone to be active by nature. A race gives me a goal, gets me outside, and gets me working out. And that’s better than sitting at home saying “I wish I could…”.
I question my sanity when I enter a cold lake in May. Or have to run hills (especially on a hot humid night). But the feeling at the end of a workout and the feeling of crossing a finish line beats it all.
And in the words of Dory 🙂