Bella

I am me, hear me roar

By Sophie Baldwin

When Suddenly Single SOPHIE BALDWIN set herself a goal she chose 
one of the most painful possible — turning herself from a brisk walker 
(if it rained) into an Ironman after 226.2 km non-stop in one day

SO NOW I am an Ironman.

Yippee, go me!

Has my life changed?

Ah, I got to say, honestly, no, not really.

I still haven’t managed to win Tattslotto, I still have to turn up to work, I still have bills to pay and yes, I am still a single mum.

But I am also an Ironman and only .1 per cent of the population can be described that way.

So I can hear you all sigh and say it is only a really long swim, ride and run, what is the big deal?

Well, to me it has always been so much more than a race. It was never about a time it was always, always, always about crossing that line for no-one else but me.

It might have taken me 14 hours and 14 minutes to swim 4 km, ride 180 km and run 42.2 km but at the end of the day I did it.

Me, on my own, and even though it hurt I just kept moving forward (in some ways it sort of sums up my marriage breakup really).

My journey to Ironman has been empowering and healing and, above all else, it has shown me that with hard work, dedication and a lot of swearing, I can do whatever I put my mind too.

It has shown me sometimes strength can come from your darkest days — if, and it’s a big if, you just have the courage or in my case stubbornness, to find it.

And I should add it doesn’t have to be something as physically demanding as an Ironman — it can be learning to play an instrument, taking an overseas holiday or running 5 km, it just has to be relevant to you and something about which you feel passionate.

After two years of working your butt off, to achieve the dream is awesome.

Many people will go yep I have ticked that one off — unfortunately I am not one of those.

Now I simply can’t wait for another one — and I want to do it faster.

In fact, based on my current time, I might be able to crack a podium finish when I am 70.

Family and friends think I am crazy (which is probably true) but did I mention triathlon is a very addictive sport?

And did I mention expensive?

Don’t even start unless you would consider selling your children to fund your sports gear purchases or sneaker collection.

I am already planning my next Half Ironman in November and I am hoping I can drag this nearly 44-year-old human tortoise around the calendar for yet another year.

It does take a bit to keep this rig together though — so far this week I have been to the physio and chiro and it’s only Tuesday — I still have three more days of the working week left to go so god knows what will happen by then.

I think my mum was hoping to hear me tell her I had decided to hang up my gear but I am not quite ready for that yet. I have another year left in me at least because I have discovered achieving my own personal goals is actually quite rewarding.

People often say to me do you get lonely but in all honesty I don’t have time to be lonely.

I have a dog that looks at me with absolute adoration the minute I walk in the front door and an 18-year-old daughter living at home who keeps the house untidy and me on my toes.

I have dated a couple of nice guys (yes, there are still some out there) but it hasn’t worked out for me and I am fine with that. I mean I am sure there is someone out there who will compliment me, but until he comes along, I won’t be spending my life waiting on the couch.

I have a life to live and things to do.

And I have learnt that my feelings and my goals are important and I won’t be giving up on them anytime in the near future. 