With this post I’m opening a new part of the blog – interviews with cyclists I met on Instagram. Some have a lot of followers, other only a few hundreds or fewer. But what is common for all of them is passion and determination in everything they do. And they all are beautiful.
Let me invite you to an interview with a great person, full of passion, strength and motivation to go where the heart leads her. I give the floor to @martha_fit_tri
wob: Hello Martha. Please introduce yourself.
Martha: My name is Martha Ramirez
wob: Where are you from?
wob: Where’s the passion of cycling from? How did it start?
Martha: It was 3 years ago, first time I was spin class.
wob: When I’m going through your Instagram profile I feel you’ve made it to support all those who are not sure whether to follow the passion or if they are able to fight the obstacles to reach their dreams. I see a lot of passion and positive vibes in you.
Martha: What I have learning through this journey is that you are you at times limit yourself mentally. But your passion to cross that finish line only drives you to push your limits. When you look back on the journey that got you there from the support to the sweat and tears only makes you want to keep going to the next.
wob: OK, Let’s come back to your hobby. When did you buy your first bike and what kind was it?
Martha: I bought my bike in 2013. It was Specialized bike Dolce
wob: We’re talking about bikes, but you are an triathlete. How did you discover triathlon and when did it happen?
Martha: One day, three years ago, I was at the gym, trying to teach myself to swim when I saw this women swimming laps next to me. Her movements were so elegant and flawless that I was hypnotized. Unlike me, she didn’t splash as she swam. She glided over the waters, like a swimming ballerina. When she had finished her laps, I asked her how she learned to swim like that, which led her to give me pointers on how I could improve my own swimming. I took those tips to heart and focused on what she told me. The next time I saw her, she invited me to a spin class that she instructed. I immediately fell in love with the class and, by the end of that week, I was commuting to and from work on my own bike. After work and on weekends, I would ride my bike around town. Through that, I met some triathletes who were training for the upcoming competition. I spent a year riding alongside them and getting to know what the triathlon was all about. From there, I would start running and swimming in the pool, dreaming of a day that I could also compete in a race.
wob: So triathlon was something that could connect cycling, running and swimming into one, right? But the hobby became passion and you decided to take a chance in competition. How was your first race?
Martha: One year later, I felt like I was ready to compete. And, with the race coming up quickly, I decided to sign up and ready myself for the grueling competition ahead. One week before the race, a trial race was held for the competitors to see if they were physically prepared to take on the race. Well, the first leg of the mock race was a 500-meter swim in the river and my anxiety started kicking in.
wob: You were training hard for the last two years. I suppose you were really well prepared. Were you nervous, overexcited?
Martha: Not because I felt nervous about the race being around the corner, but because I had yet to practice swimming in the river. The fear of the currents, the fish swimming around me, not knowing where the bottom of the river was, being surrounded in murky, green water, and not being able to see my hands in front of me all pushed me over my limit. It was the hardest swim of my life. I felt that all of my training had gone to waste as I could barely make the lap. I was so exhausted by the time that I reached the shore that I just laid in the grass, disappointed and out of breath. Although the other competitors came up to me and did their best to cheer me up and help me, I couldn’t bring myself to accept the situation, so I left heartbroken and in tears, leaving the mock race and triathlon behind. That failure made me decide that I needed to do better and try again the next year.
wob: It was in 2014, right?
Martha: During that next year, I began training harder than ever. Unfortunately, the training didn’t last long as I underwent major surgery and got pregnant. And because my pregnancy was high-risk, I couldn’t train, whatsoever. Then, I gave birth to Noah, my beautiful baby boy. Unfortunately, because he was two months premature, he had to stay in the INCU for a month before he could finally come home. In November of 2015, when Noah was 6 months old, I began training again, determined to compete and finish the 2016 Triathlon. But, let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. I had to work around my work schedule, my husband’s three jobs, keeping the house clean, cooking, and being a good mother and wife to my family. And it felt was hard working off all of the baby fat that I had put on from my pregnancy. But I knew I couldn’t give up.
wob: Wow! I’m full of respect that you could bear so much weights on your shoulders and still had time and strength to think about your own goals and dreams!
Martha: I started at four miles on my bike, a mile on the treadmill, and only two hundred meters in the pool. Now, I can proudly say that I am up to twenty-two miles on my bike, five miles running (a feat that I have never been able to reach previously), and 1,500 meters in the river. The Texas heat did not make my training any easier, either. Texas is very unforgiving. And, yes, I did say that I swam in the river. It was the hardest part of my training, but I had finally come to peace with the river. Whenever I would turn my head during my laps, I would look for the Sun, knowing that God was watching over me.
wob: Are you training by yourself already? How do you find how to do a workout to get most of it?
Martha: Thankfully, I also had my friends, Liz Ross and Brenda Jones (Pruneda) there to push me during my training. Liz was the reason that I was able to get into the river in the first place. She helped me get used to the water and swam beside me as I battled my fears and the currents. She also rode bikes with me, helping me increase my miles while decreasing my time. Brenda helped me with form in my running, swimming, and biking, even though she’s a single, full-time working mom. Even though I’ve only worked with her for the last month, she’s really helped me improve every aspect of my training. I’m really thankful to both of these beautiful women for taking time out of their schedules and going on this journey with me, despite them having to work and be with their families. I can’t even put my appreciation into words. But they weren’t the only one pushing me during my training. My 10-year old daughter, Lily, would ride her bike beside me during my four-mile runs, encouraging me to go farther. I’m so proud of her for going four miles and pushing me to try my hardest.
wob: So women’s team is standing behind you?
Martha: In fact, I feel so blessed to have my family standing behind me during this fight, especially my husband. If it wasn’t for him, I would not have started this journey. He’s able to watch the kids so I can train and he encourages my whenever I hit a low point. He’s my life and the reason that I’m going on this journey. I also want to thank my coworkers for supporting me and cheering me on during my training. They’ve been really understanding of my struggles and have given me advice on how to better myself. But, above all, I’m proud of myself for going on this journey, despite the fear, despite the failures, despite the struggles with time, and despite my own negative thoughts. I chose to fight and make myself better and accomplish this goal. I want to show all of the other mothers out there that you can do anything you set your mind to. And, instead of excluding your family from the journey, include them. They will be your biggest cheerleaders and the reason you fight.
wob: You’re a really strong woman! I can see that nothing can stop you on your way to happiness and fulfilment. And with such support from your family and friends you can reach wherever you want to!
Martha: The support from family and friends to push yourself and not give up on your goals was the biggest reason I’m able to do what I love. I’m very thankful for everyone who was help write a chapter in my story.
wob: As the year is almost over, I suppose the race you were preparing to already took place. How did you do this time?
Martha: The night before the race, I was restless from nerves and fear of failure. I was afraid of being stuck in the same spot that I encountered a few years before. The morning of the race, I woke up at 5am and got my thing together before sitting down to eat whatever I could of my food. Afterward, my friend pick me up to go lay out our gear at the race site, where we waited until the race started. Right before the race began , Liz and I sat down and prayed.
wob: I can see that God has a special place in your life…
Martha: When you go through life and you sometimes come face to face with your fears and at times moments of sorrows. You always ask why, but you realize that in the end they are only tests of faith in yourself. God can only show me the path I must take it’s up to me to decide with to go through it in darkness or lightened with the faith that He is there.
wob: The competition begins and…
Martha: The water was the hardest part to get through , for obvious reasons. While I was in the water, I became overwhelmed and started gasping for air, which allowed water to go in my mouth. I started to panic, but then I started to telling my self to slow down and that I could do it. And, even though people were passing me , I kept my pace, telling my self that making it back to shore was my main goal. When I did get back to shore, the cheering from my friends and family pushed me to keep going. I ran up the steep hill to get to my bike and began my 15 mile trek on my bike. Thankfully, the adrenaline was kicking in, allowing me to go up to 21 miles per hour eager my usual 16 miles per hour pace. After my 15 mile on my bike, my legs felt like gelatin but I started figuring out my running pace . the closer I that I got to the finish line, the faster I ran until was running at a full sprint. When I finally crossed the finish line, Brenda met me with a long, emotional embrace. After she released me, I started looking for my husband and my baby, tears welling up in my eyes. I found them with outstretched arm and big smiles on their faces. And it told me how proud they were of me. I finally accomplished my goal and I was on top of the world.
wob: So the second try in one of the most difficult disciplines and a success! Impressive attitude and determination. You have proven yourself that you can do it. Are you going to sit back and relax now?
Martha: This is only the beginning of my journey, my next goal is to do IM 70.3 in 2017 and many more events
wob: What can I wish you for the journey?
Martha: That others feel inspired to continue on their journey to achieve their goals. Everyone is always part of someone’s journey; if you push yourself you will push others!
wob: Martha, thank you for finding time for me. I wish you all this and I hope to talk with you again!