I’ve had some great interviews these past few weeks for The Courage to Tri. The Courage to Tri is my upcoming book which will be part inspiration and part how- to for women who are interested in crossing their first finish line. The inspiration piece will feature many women in our community who have overcome obstacles and learned things about themselves along their journey.
The lessons these women have to share are too good to use only once so I plan to share some of them on this blog as well. I certainly did interview some inspiring ladies these past few weeks!
First up was Kat Gurd. I wanted to interview Kat originally for a couple of different reasons. First of all, I have seen firsthand how well she and Peter seem to juggle parenthood, work, and hobbies. Secondly, I wanted to find out more about why Kat originally entered the sport of triathlon.
A few months ago, I put out a call on facebook asking for stories of women and why they decided to originally pursue their first finish line. Kat had an answer that was meaningful, cycling and eventually tri-ing in honor of a family member.
Kat Gurd never considered herself an athlete. “Growing up I never was really into any kind of sport. I had one season where I signed up for recreational softball because my friend wanted to do it, and I said nope that’s not for me! “ Kat explained. “I was never engaged in anything and I had weight struggles my whole life” she adds. Nothing ever got her attention as far as sports or exercise. As Kat got older, post college she started going to the gym in an attempt to lose weight but it was never “fun” to her. The purpose of exercise for her was to meet the goal of controlling calories and weight.
All that changed the day Kat heard a commercial on the radio for an ovarian cancer fundraising ride. “When I got into this whole world I had lost an aunt to ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed when she was 35 and died 16 years later. When she died I was about 35. I was about the age she was when she was diagnosed” explains Kat.
The fundraising ride was essentially a virtual training program which culminated in a six hour indoor ride to raise funds for ovarian cancer. She went through the six weeks of training and completed the event. But then she found that she wanted more. “I found a side of me that I didn’t know I had and it became a process of breaking my own mental boundaries about what I thought I could do.” That ride led to a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and now a full marathon and IRONMAN race.
When asked what advice she would give to other women who are considered a sprint tri, Kat has this advice. “A sprint triathlon is approachable for pretty much anyone. Then after that, I thought I wonder if I can do a half ironman. It’s just about pushing your boundaries a little further”