In The Spotlight: Meet Tera M.

THE FIT LIFT’s In The Spotlight category will interview active, inspiring women from all walks of life who demonstrate strength in many ways. Whether you've made small steps to lead a more healthy lifestyle or train like a beast, we want to celebrate YOU. We believe that by sharing our stories, we can help others to both start, and continue on the path of living a healthy lifestyle by leading by example.  If you would like to be featured on our blog, please email us.  

I met Tera through my husband and I have known her for around 4 years.I feel as though our friendship is blossoming to one that will last a lifetime.  I have an abundance of respect for her as a mom, in her career, and as an athlete.  Through discipline, determination, growth and faith, she has successfully trained and completed one full and two half Ironmans. Unbelievable! She persevered through hurdles during her training that ultimately led her to believe in herself more than she ever had before, and the example she has set for her family and friends is undoubtedly, strong and beautiful.  It is truly amazing what your body is capable of once your mind is on board.  I encourage you to read Tera's Spotlight below...

1. Provide us a brief introduction about who you are.

Hello! I'm Tera, I live in Calgary, Alberta. I grew up in Edmonton and took a leap of faith to move out to Calgary when I was 25, not knowing anyone and for a temporary part time job with the city of Calgary As fate would have it I continued on in that job and it grew to so much more, eventually succeeding and securing a permanent position & meeting my husband as well. I have a 5 yr old daughter and 19 month old son, 2 dogs and a cat. I love being outside, I love the mountains,I love camping, I love being active , I love food, I love the sport of Triathlon, I love to travel and want to see the world and I love helping people.

I have always been active, growing up playing soccer, track and field, snowboarding, going to the gym. I work in a job that is physically demanding and my fitness is what helps me safe.

 2. What does STRENGTH mean to you?

Strength to me is so diverse, I see so many forms of it being in different areas such as physical, mental, emotional and faith. It's what keeps you going, what drives you and what motivates you until you get there , but strength is also getting past those hurdles no matter how hard they are or how long it takes, it also make a person stronger.

When I was training for Ironman, which is a 3.8km swim, 180km bike, 42.2km run (full marathon) , swimming was a real challenge for me, physically it was the area I was the slowest, mentally it caused me anxiety, emotionally it caused me stress and made me feel weak, for faith I struggled with it letting me ever reach my goal. I trained long hours in the pool and took class after class to help with the physical part, I did guided imagery to help with the mental & emotional part and for faith I prayed that I would finish. The morning of the race I stood before the lake looking at the buoys & the 3.8km route I was about to swim, I was was overcome with feeling of calm & peace. I felt I could do it, I trained hard, I knew what to do to keep my anxiety down and I had faith that I would get through it, most of all I new had strength to do it and that my family was waiting for me...and I did it. When I got out of the water, it was a life changing moment for me, I knew the rest of the day I could enjoy and I was going to make it, this was the epitome of strength as I knew it.

3. What does BEAUTY mean to you?

Beauty is seeing the good, the love and passion in something, it's so much more then skin-deep. Beauty is all around us in nature and whether its' seeing the beauty in someone's or smile, actions or words, beauty can be found in all forms . I love seeing beauty in things that others don't, I feel that our society is so judgmental that a lot of beauty goes unnoticed because it's so quick to judge or stereotype.

4. What inspires you? What is your driving force?

The need to be here for my children inspires me, I look at them everyday and they drive me to to be a better mother, more caring and appreciate the little moment's and things in life that make me smile. They drive me to be active, be healthy, to be a good role model and show them the great things in life. They have taught me patience (which I started with none of) and how to take the hard times day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.

5. What is your proudest accomplishment?

It is becoming and Ironman (or Ironmomma.)

When my daughter was born I lived in a small town just outside of Calgary and was really bored while on maternity leave since there was nothing to do. She was born in the winter and it wasn't easy to just drive into the city all the time. I decided that I needed to do something and had wanted to complete my first triathlon, I had already been a runner and loved biking recreationally but had not swam a length since I was a teenager. So I would run on the treadmill and bike on my bike trainer while she was napping. I hit up the pool before my husband left for work in the morning, attempting to finish as many lengths as I could. I finished my first sprint 5 months after she was born, I got through the 500m swim by doggy paddling/ back stroking till it was done, it definitely was not pretty. After this I finished one more but still struggled with the swim, I contemplated quitting racing in triathlons and took a bit of a break completing a couple of duathlons & focusing on running instead, for the rest of the year. The following year after going back to work, I decided I really missed and loved racing triathlons and would make it a goal to do my first open water swim triathlon (no matter how much I hated swimming) and also made a goal of my first half marathon in the fall. I finished 2 open water swim triathlons that year and hated every minute of the swim and the anxiety it brought me and still wasn't sure if I wanted to continue on. That fall I finished my first half marathon and loved every minute of it.

Shortly after the half marathon, I was speaking to a friend that had decided she was going to do Ironman, her husband had done it the year prior and I had a few other friends that had completed it. It was on my bucket list to do one day but figured it was a 10- 15 year plan or so. Anyways, she pointed out that there was still online spots available which was unheard of (most people volunteer the year before just to get a sign up spot) I started thinking about it, one thing about me is when I start thinking about something I want to do, I will make all attempts to do it no matter what. I hesitated because I knew I had a HUGE hurdle to overcome with the swim, but this also made me want to do it more. I talked to my husband & my family about it and from the minute I said I wanted to sign up for Ironman, they believed in me and were behind me all the way, I never once heard from them " you are crazy!!! are you sure you can do this? it's a such big commitment? " This made me believe in myself more and the fact that I could do it so that night, I signed up for my first Ironman.

I knew I had a lot of work to do in the next year, after all I had only after completed a sprint triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike, 5km run) which is no where near the distance of an Ironman and half marathon (21.1km). I took the next year training and completing my first Marathon (42.2km run) , Olympic distance triathlon (1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run ) and half Ironman (1.8km swim, 80km bike, 21.1km run) all before my goal of racing Ironman Canada. My husband made sure my training was priority, pushing me to train on the days I was too tired, he made sure I always had healthy dinner to take to work on night shifts or breakfast when I got home. We would make it a family day and he would bike pulling my daughter in the chariot beside me while I ran. They would come to the pool and play in the kids pool while I did laps.

Then the day came, I trained hard, I was strong, I was mentally prepared, I had faith and I did it. When I crossed that finish line, I changed as a person, I knew that anything is possible. I finished the swim I hated so much, I became stronger mentally and emotionally, I was an Ironman, I battled the days challenges but also kept a smile on my face, after all this was my day to enjoy , the training of the past year was the hard part. All my family were at the finish line, they were there just as they had supported my decision to sign up and through the whole journey and I know they all changed seeing me cross that finish line. They knew that anything is possible and I was living proof of it.

6. What is your biggest challenge?

Trusting people, it's hard most days to not be overprotective of my life & children's lives because of my employment. It was a huge leap for me to write this it brought up a lot of trust issues for me of how much I should say, what I should tell, what can I keep private. But I have realize since having children, it's taught me to trust more, open up more, enjoy more in life and trust the people around me because I need their support. I have a long way to go but slowly my circle of trust is getting bigger and I'm loving it. My faith has grown a lot in the past couple years which has also opened my heart to trust others, I am excited to see where else it takes me.

7. What is your mantra? What are your favorite words to live by?

I have a few that I live by...

"Wish it , dream it , do it" 

This was my mantra training for Ironman and I had it tattooed on my foot after I became an Ironman. I hope to motivate others to follow their dreams & wishes and do the things in life that they want to do. Life is too short to not live it to the fullest! After all, If I can learn to swim and go on to complete an Ironman, Anything is Possible!

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