My Road to Age Group Nationals: I Never Thought I Would Inspire Others, But That's What I'm Doing

By Michelle Christine | Aug. 08, 2018, 12:50 p.m. (ET)

Michelle Christine

My name is Michelle, I am 36, an Air Force veteran, a nutrition scholar, a wife, a mom of two, an Ironman and now a competitor at 2018 USA Triathlon Ag Group National Championships. 

My journey with triathlon started like most others, to keep the weight off and stay fit. However, what I’ve experienced though my journey this past year is not just being fit, becoming an Ironman or standing on a podium, but something so unexpected — I am inspiring others.

I never set out to inspire anyone, just to compete for me and have fun. The LAST word I would ever use to describe myself would be inspiring.

But through my training and competing, countless friends, co-workers and family members have told me how my journey inspires them. They think about me when they don’t want to get a workout in, or taking extra time to make a healthy meal for their family or when something gets tough, pushing themselves because of me.

Me?! Never in a million years would I think I would have that effect on anyone. It is overwhelmingly humbling and far more rewarding to me than standing on a podium. 

The most unexpected inspiration is my kids. While the "mom guilt" sets in that my training takes away from quality time, they continuously show me that it IS quality time. There are many good morning kisses from the bike trainer, evening stroller runs at tempo pace and foam rolling while going over spelling words.

My son knows what hard work and sacrifice looks like, so when hockey practice gets tough or he doesn’t understand a math problem, he knows getting better takes work. My daughter proudly runs laps around the cul-de-sac.

“I’m an athlete, too, mom," she says.

Avocado toast is her favorite lunch, and making those choices makes her proud. My greatest success as parent will be to show them you have control over your own path; they are my biggest fans and my greatest inspiration.

I am humbled and grateful for this life and the ability to do what I do. And whether I like it or not, my journey is no longer my own, and I am up for the challenge.

To my fellow Triathletes, YOU are inspiring to those around you. Embrace it and rock it!

See you in Cleveland! Michelle Age Group blog