By Chrissa Hardy for HelloGiggles.com
“Ugh Mom, I hate it here. I mean, I love Tony and obviously I want to support him, but at what cost? It’s 5 in the freaking morning! I’m surrounded by people who keep mentioning gels and energy cubes. How can these people be SO into this? Are they insane?????” I said on the phone to my mother in the wee hours of the morn on my boyfriend Tony’s race day. The verdict? Yes, these triathletes and runners may just be insane. Little did I know, I was about to enter their crazy world of energy cubes and gels, with a smile.
I was never an active kid. I played softball, but for the most part, all of my energy was spent trying to get out of physical activities with fake ailments. I preferred the comfort of my couch with “Saved By the Bell” reruns playing on a constant loop via an endless stack of VHS tapes. Feeling sweaty and hot never seemed worth the fun of any sport. So, a couch potato I remained until August of 2010.
Tony is just the opposite. He’s always loved sports. He’s such a natural talent in any sport he tries that it ruffles my feathers with envy. Tony was a track star in high school and decided to get back into running as an adult. He started with a 5K. Then another. And another. Then he tried his hand at triathlons. I could see his hunger for longer distances and tougher races increasing in front of me. In thirteen months, Tony went from a 5K race to an Ironman distance race (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26 mile run). Insane, right? He did this quicker than is recommended, but he’s a hungry over-achiever so there was no stopping him.
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Tara Costa first caught our hearts during The Biggest Loser season 7, and she’s gone on to do some great things, including training for her first Ironman. Her favorite part of the grueling race? “It’s definitely the camaraderie amongst the athletes. Ever since the first race I participated in, I realized how giving and inspiring all the athletes are,” Costa said. “I am so blessed to have the opportunity to participate and be pushed by elite athletes.”
If you would have told her a few years ago she’d be competing with world class athletes, Costa wouldn’t have believed it. She sees the race as a testament to how far she’s come. “I also love when I see the finish line. Each time I have the finish line in sight, I realize that I am doing something that I would never have been able to do years back. The finish line reminds me of how far I have come and how you can do anything you set your mind to do.”
Aside from continuing to push herself physically, Costa’s been hard at work creating her own foundation Kicks4Kids. This program, designed to supply under privileged children with new sneakers and a playbook, will provide the child different exercise games/activities to help them achieve the daily 60 minutes of exercise that is currently recommended. Kicks4Kids is set to launch in Hawaii in October, coinciding with the Ford Ironman World Championship that Costa will run.
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"Iron Nun" Sr. Madonna Buder
Many people begin to slow down in their 70′s, but Sister Madonna Buder, “The Iron Nun”, has done just the opposite. The Roman Catholic nun has garnered much attention for her athletic abilities, and she’s indicated that she will be running in the Boston Marathon next month.
The author of “The Race to Grace”, her autobiography about her journey to running, Sr. Buder is well known for competing in more than 40 Ironman Triathalons, a grueling race that consists of 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26-mile run. The Spokane, Washington nun is a member of the Sisters for Christian Community.
Sr. Buder began training more than 30 years ago at the age of 48 after hearing a priest speak on the benefits of distance running. “The priest told me ‘You’ve got to keep this up, it takes at least two months before you know what the runner’s high is,’ ” Sr. Buder said. “20, 25, 30 years later, do I know what the runner’s high is? No, but I sure know what the lows are.”
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