I ran into an old friend’s dad a few months ago who lives on the same road as me and he said, “Meghan, I think I saw you going for a run the other day.” I looked at him like he had 12 heads and said, “if you ever see me running, pull over, something is very wrong.”

Well, here we are not too long after and I am currently in the middle of training for a sprint triathlon that very much involves running. Sigh.

If this was a sitcom, a camera would pan over to my red face doubled over panting in sweat after attempting to run a half-mile and I would narrate, “Yup, that’s me. I’m sure you’re wondering how I got here…”

I am extremely prideful and determined and I love a good story that involves major character development, so I signed up for Maine Cancer Foundation’s Tri for a Cure and I will now be swimming, biking, and running my heart out in South Portland on July 10.

Maine Cancer Foundation Tri for a Cure 2022

The year 2022 marks the 15th year of the annual Tri for a Cure, Maine’s only all-women triathlon that brings in approximately 1,300 triathletes every year to raise money for an incredible foundation. In a little more than a decade, this emotional event has raised more than $18 million for Maine Cancer Foundation and we’re still going strong bringing those fundraiser dollars in.

Tri for a Cure Clinics

A newbie’s saving grace.

SheJAMs, an all-women's triathlon club, hosts clinics starting in the month of May leading up to the big day of the Tri. Run by volunteers, the clinics help athletes get physically and mentally prepared through bike course previews, swimming clinics, tire changing practice, transition clinics, etc.

As someone who knows absolutely nothing about triathlons, these clinics are saving my butt!

My First Triathlon

As you can tell by the intro to this article, I do not do cardio. This entire thing is new to me and is involving a major life change, mentally and physically.

I have been going to sleep and waking up with anxiety over it, not feeling prepared or ready, feeling like I’ve gotten myself way over my head, and just panicking over it all. This past weekend, I attended my first clinic and completed the Bike Course Preview practice, and all my anxieties have washed away.

I’ve been training at Planet Fitness on a stationary bike but finally took my practice on the road over the weekend. I rented a bike from CycleMania in Portland (I highly recommend!) and rode a bike on the road for the very first time in my life. Hell, it was even my first time on a bike in 10+ years!!

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The clinic was an incredible experience that has changed my mentality and confidence in this triathlon and in myself.

I met a group of supportive women, some of who have been doing this for more than a decade, and others who were fairly new like me. We biked the full 15-mile course together to get a feel for it, adjust to our bikes, and build our confidence. I went into it sick to my stomach with nerves and walked away with newfound confidence and a support system that will carry me through training and past the finish line.

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I exchanged numbers with some of the women and I now have a group of newly-made friends to go swimming together, train and practice with. They sent me recommendations for tri suits (I’m clueless about it all) and I’m meeting up with someone later this week who’s going to help me with a wetsuit. I feel so much better about all of this in so many ways.

Why I’m Doing This

I’ve made it clear that I don’t know anything about triathlons and I despise cardio, so I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m here.

Many, many reasons.

First and foremost, I am doing this for the breast cancer survivors in my life. For my partner’s mom and for my precious nana who finally beat breast cancer this very year.

Secondly, I’m doing it as a personal challenge and pride that I can accomplish something on this huge scale with a little foot. I was born with two majorly different-sized feet (an 8 ½ left foot and a size 3 right foot) and a missing big toe; the doctors told my mom I would never be able to walk but here I am training for a triathlon. That, in itself, will make this an emotional day running across that finish line. You can read more about that journey here.

Lastly, I am doing this for my own personal battle and journey with my body image. I have lived in the gym since I was 15 years old, and for many years it was not a healthy relationship. My gym and workout goals, for my entire life, have been focused on body image and the outcome being based on physical appearance, not health. This is the first time in my life that I am working toward a goal that is not based on appearance, but a personal challenge to complete this triathlon. I am no longer training to look a certain way but to reach a goal, gain endurance, and to feel good, not look good.

I usually leave the gym feeling discouraged, even after a great workout, that I didn’t do enough or feeling down because I’m still not walking out with my goal body. But training for this triathlon has me leaving the gym grinning and feeling genuinely proud of myself as I bike faster, run farther, and better myself. I am able to look in the mirror and just be proud of my health and my body and what it is able to do for me.

I am grateful for all the support I am receiving and I am looking forward to the very emotional day of July 10.

Cancer tries, but we TRI harder.

Follow along with my journey here:


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