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¡Las Jefas!

Why I Tri!

By Marisa Rivera

Every beginning of the year, we make plans for what we are going to change in the New Year. We set goals, make plans, but many times we lack the motivation to make them last long enough to change our behavior. The key to achieving your desires and your goals is to understand the benefits to YOU! Not anyone else. I am also a true believer that we must live in the moment and enjoy what life presents to you in unexpected ways that sometimes change your life, your future and your happiness. Seven years ago, a good friend of mine –Denise Perez Lally – challenged me to participate in a Triathlon with the excuse that we could raise funds for an organization we both loved – The National Hispana Leadership Institute (NHLI).

Marisa Rivera is president of Mpowerment Works, a motivational speaker, executive coach and Leadership and Empowerment consultant.

She just asked me a few questions – “Can you run?” I said yes! – “Can you swim?” – I said yes! – “Can you Bike?” I said, I don’t have a bike, but yes, I can bike! And she jumped with excitement and said great!!!! YOU CAN DO IT! I accepted the challenge in the spirit of fundraising for NHLI.
I was completely naive about what I had accepted to do. I did not know then that I had embarked into a life changing experience that would completely change my life, my body, my health and my attitude.

The following months were filled with long hours of training and preparations. Buying my first bike, my first wet suite and getting ready for the triathlon were exciting and exhausting at the same time, as I prepared for something I had never done before. I was more excited and motivated about doing something together with my girlfriends and raising funds for a good cause than the race itself.

When the fear and the excitement of the competition both at the starting and finish lines consumed me, I took out the best four tools I have learned in my Yoga practice. Breathing, meditation, visualizations and affirmations. I have been practicing Yoga for the last six years, another unexpected discovery in my life that has taught me to be centered, grateful and live in the NOW! The night before the race, I meditated and visualized myself successfully finishing the race. The day of the race, I repeated to myself, I am prepared, I am strong, I am a warrior and I will finish the race. And finally, when the race starts, and your heart is pounding and the adrenaline is running and your entire body is shaking with excitement and fear — I took a moment to relax and breath. At the end, it’s all about that glorious moment – after you finish the race – when the rest of the world is blurry, but the smiling faces of your “Hermanas” girlfriends and family members are all waiting for you to celebrate.

Many people ask me why I Tri? And I tell them;

I tri – Because I love training and traveling with my Hermanas.

I tri – Because I have a second chance – I almost lost my foot in a car accident 25 years ago, I am lucky to be able to walk, swim and run!

I tri – for a good cause

I tri – for all the women in the World,

I tri – for all those who can’t

Seven years later, a triathlon a year in Seattle, Orlando, Las Vegas, Florida and many long distance bike races in Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., Maryland and Florida, I am eternally grateful to the motivation of my friend Denise who gave me my health back and to the team of Hermanas who year after year motivate each other to focus on our health and look forward to our getting together. A triathlon is a celebration of human spirit, physical ability and mental endurance; but for the mujeres of the Hermanas Triathlon Group, it is also a celebration of life! Happy New Year!

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