“Just Keep Moving Forward”
The more time you spend in the world of Swim Bike Mom, the more meaningful her long-time mantra becomes. Meredith Atwood is the unstoppable force behind the addictive and popular blog, Swim Bike Mom, where she’s chronicled her story of nearly 2.5 years of triathlon training while leading a busy life in Atlanta, Georgia as a person/mother/wife/attorney/author. Her adventures include a lively cast of characters (most notably The Expert and Coach Monster), challenging settings (open water, anyone?), and an array of themes from the painful to the victorious to the hilarious, all of which help her push forward in her pursuit of her latest goal (Ironman Coeur d’Alene), and ultimately, the best version of herself.
In her youth, Meredith dabbled in sports, trying many childhood staples including basketball and softball; but it wasn’t until she got into Olympic-style weightlifting that her athletic commitment intensified. She won the Junior National Championships and traveled to South Africa to compete in the Junior World Championships. Then, life and career and kids (and chaos) happened, and Meredith found herself out of shape and ready for change.
“I find that I am focused on what I have in my life because there is nothing like a 5 hour bike ride to remind you how much you want off that bike and into the arms of someone you love.”
Meredith came to triathlon in her effort to reclaim a bit of herself for herself, and in doing so, she now has completed several 5 and 10Ks, several half marathons, a number of sprint and Olympic distance races, and 2 Ironman 70.3 races. After all that, she feels she’s “sort of become an athlete for what really feels like the first time ever.” And she has done all this while continuing to live her busy life, maintain her popular, productive blog, AND do a little thing like write a book. Yes. A book. Meredith’s book Triathlon for the Every Woman recently came out in November. And now? Her eye is firmly on the prize and and all of her training is directed at completing her first full Ironman (Ironman CDA) on June 23rd of this year.
“Blessed. Insane. Busy. Blessed.”
The Swim Bike Mom and Bia connection is one of those that is such a natural, comfortable fit, no one is sure how the two found each other. Maybe Meredith found Bia; likely Bia found Meredith. Regardless of how the connection came about, Meredith was pulled fully into Bia’s big adventure by a love of our dedication to women and fitness as well as by her growing disdain for her Garmin. She’s looking forward to taking her Bia along on her long runs and bringing a little more of the love to her love/hate of the big mileage.
In Her Own Words:
How do you empower yourself & others?
I put myself out there, all of the stuff that is good about me and all the stuff that is embarrassing or horrible (okay, maybe not ALL things, but many things). In being honest and sharing my journey with the world, I think it helps other women say, “Wow, she’s a ridiculous mess, and if she can be positive, ‘just keep moving forward’ and finish big goals while facing some major challenges, maybe I can too.” I see no benefit in sugar-coating how hard it is to be a wife, mother, lawyer, working woman and triathlete; and I think others find comfort in my insanity. At least I hope so.
What personal transformation has most influenced your perspective/sport/work/life? Realizing that I can be whoever I want to be: If I work hard, I can finish races. If I want to change, I just need to change. If I set my mind and heart to something, I can finish it. For a long time, I felt victimized by the legal profession, by my place in life, by the insanity of parenthood. In coming to grips that I had one life and it was up to me to make it mine, I quit complaining and took action. Triathlon has helped me realize that the sky is the limit and it helped me realize that I have a lot to be grateful for. I’m going to keep shooting for the sky. Period.
In what ways do you fit, break, or defy the mold of the “Female Athlete”?
I think I pretty much King-Kong-style obliterate “the mold.” I’m 200 pounds; and I can swim and bike faster than some of my 140 pound counterparts. Now, running is a little different story, ha ha. But I’m working hard NOT to be 200 pounds. Still, I have finished several half marathons, dozens of triathlons, including 2 half Ironmans weighing more than that and I didn’t finish last. The proof in my pudding is that: anyone can get out there and become their own best version of an athlete.
“It’s not reserved for the uber-fit and skinny and beautiful; but it is reserved for the brave.”
What’s among your favorite or biggest athletic accomplishments? What are the top 3 things that made it/them possible?
Finishing my second half Ironman was my favorite and happiest and biggest accomplishment to date. The first half Ironman was special, but the second was sweeter because my mom, dad, and one of my best friends were there to cheer me and the Expert (my husband) on, and it felt wonderful to see them on the course.
The top three things that made that possible?
1) Love (of the sport, love from my family)
2) Hate (for my profession, generally; for things ‘wrong in my life’ -makes me train harder!)
3) Enduring pain (physical and mental).
What’s your best piece of advice for a busy person contemplating a new athletic goal?
Make the Decision to do it. This is exactly what my book says: Decide to become a triathlete. Decide to become who you want to be. Want to try a half marathon, but you “aren’t a runner”? Well, decide to become a runner. Make the Decision, and go after it.