My name is Courtney Connolly and this is my "Dig Deep" story...
It begins in 2011 when my husband and I relocated to Georgia from Maine. I was extremely overweight and I guess you could say unhappy with the person who I was. I remained this way into early 2013 when we purchased our home in a small neighborhood in Kennesaw, Ga. Turns out this little hood was full of runners and Ironmen.....the luck!
In May of 2013 I began running with a neighbor lost some weight and signed up for my first half marathon. It hurt and took forever but I did it and was hooked.
2014 saw me running a half marathon each month and January 2015 my first full marathon. Shortly into 2015 I "fell off the fitness wagon" and put weight back on.
Later at a neighborhood BBQ a couple had on Augusta 70.3 t-shirts, I had no clue what they were, I asked....thought they were nuts. Who the hell swims 1.2 miles, bikes 56 then runs 13.1? Crazy people that's who.
Later on I talked to that crazy neighbor and she managed to get me to sign up for a sprint triathlon. I started training, couldn't swim, biking hurt, running well...running was the devil. I completed my first sprint in August 2015. Again..HOOKED. I knew I would become one of them...those Iron people. I signed up for IM Augusta 70.3 and completed it barely in September of 2015. Horribly undertrained, still overweight and completely clueless. Love it though, was determined to get better.
2016 saw me have some serious sidelining health issues, primarily DVT after a surgery in September of 2016. I gained weight back from lack of exercise and began the dreaded backslide again. The end of 2016 I knew I still wanted to do this triathlon thing. I needed to, it was always on my mind.
I joined a club, it wasn't the club I needed. I made it through IM Chattanooga 70.3 in May 2017 but it was torture and I barely squeaked through cut offs. This type of training was not what I needed. Good for some, not for me.
That's my back story, here begins where we begin to "Dig Deep".....get ready, it's deep....
In July of 2017 my mind was set. Ironman. I wanted it. I need it. First I need a coach, one who will push me, provide the plan and not be a hand holder. I needed the real deal. I began looking and looked at many clubs and coaches. No one seemed to be checking the boxes I needed.
One night I was actually on Instagram (shocking, I know) and received a message from some guy named Slayerwatts. He had seen I was from Maine and shared a story about that. I had no clue who he was until I checked his profile than it clicked that he was the head coach at TriCoach Georgia. I had looked at their website, seen their "reapers" at races and thought they would not want some overweight, 40 year old wannabe triathlete. I was wrong.
I spoke with Coach Slayer he agreed to coach me. I was shocked. This dude was a bad ass. He himself has the ultimate dig deep come back story. He's a multiple IM finisher etc. and he qualified and raced Kona. Why would that guy coach me???? Whatever, I wasn't going to argue. I knew one thing. I didn't care what happened I wasn't going to let him down or waste his time.
I started with TCGA and "Slayer" (we all have nicknames, his real name is Harvey Gayer) on July 16, 2017. That's the day I became "Wicked". I had a little over two months to get ready for Augusta 70.3 in September 2017.
I began training, real training. It hurt, I had no free time but I never missed a work out. I do not miss work outs. I listened to Slayer, I learned. I still learn everyday. Augusta came and I managed to PR by about 90 minutes from my previous time. No longer fighting cut off, was under 7 hours. I felt great. Completely obsessed now. Had lost about 45lbs by then too. Things were working.
I continued to train through 2017. Found myself signed up for IM Maryland for 2018. Amazing. I'm going to get it. Lots of time and work to get there. It's happening. So beyond excited!
Time to really "Dig Deep"... scary deep. I had never heard of USAT National Challenge Competition, now I'll never forget it.
My club and family at TCGA began chatting about NCC and how it was coming right up. I asked what it was and it sounded fun. What the hell I was training hard anyway might as well help the club , log a few miles. It started in December. It set my training world on fire, I loved it. My miles started to add up. I checked the tracker and I was close to the top figured few more rides here and there run a bit more swim a bit more. Well it all added up. I was sitting as 2nd female in the Country. I dug deep daily. Hours of training. 2:30 am sessions, work all day, another 3 hour session in the evening. Century bike rides every weekend. I was bringing this home for my team and most of all my coach. I trained relentlessly December through February. Swim, bike, run. I did it though, competition closed last day of February and I was 2nd female in the nation. Logged 5,240.7 miles.
I now sit approximately three months out from my first full Ironman. I am the fittest I have ever been, more determined than ever and owe it all to my team at TriCoach Georgia who take anyone in and make them a "reaper". I could never have achieved what I have in under a year without Coach Slayer. There will never be enough thanks to him. I will get my IM in Maryland and it will be because of him.
That is my "Dig Deep" story....
Have A Dig Deep Story To Share? All you have to do is think of a particular time in your life when you had to dig deep (it doesn't necessarily have to be about racing or training, it can be about anything). Make your story as long as you want and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject : Your Instagram name if you have one). Don't forget to include a picture :) . I look forward to featuring your story! Cheers, Hugo