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The time I didn't drown in Lake Erie & 3 lessons a triathlon taught me

Updated: Jan 13, 2023

This blog post & the corresponding episode of Be Well With Steph, the Podcast are dedicated to "the kid in the kayak".... at least that's what I've always called him because I never got his name, but I probably owe him my LIFE! Or at the very least, an awesome experience.

Today's podcast is a story I've been telling for years... and I'm SO excited (and a little nervous, honestly) to share this with you, too!


A few years back I was running a LOT of races.. 5ks, 8ks, the Ride for Roswell, and was feeling pretty good, honestly. So, when my boyfriend at the time was signing up for a triathlon, I thought, "That's so fun! I could probably do that!" It seemed to make sense at the time, aside from the fact that... I didn't really swim... I figured I would just start practicing and it would be no big deal. So, I signed up!

I started actively training, going to my local gyms and pools and doing some laps at the high school pool. Again, I felt like I was in pretty good shape and was thinking it'd be a piece of cake!


Here's the moment it all hit me like a ton of bricks: driving down to Lake Erie, a place I've been hundreds of times growing up, and approaching the road that drives along the water... I look out the window and see these huge waves crashing against the shore, and my heart SUNK.

"What are you thinking?! Why did you think you could do something like this? Are you nuts?!"

Those were some of the things I started saying to myself, completely overwhelmed with fear, doubt, and criticism.

My mind started racing; I started finding ways to get myself out of this... either skip the swim part, or skip the whole race altogether...


I was already there, and I wasn't going to back out. I dug some confidence... told myself, "What's the worst that could happen? I CAN swim." There were lifeguards. I was going to be fine. Soo somehow, I brought myself to jump in!

I immediately think I'm going to drown. Like, this is it, I should have said my goodbyes, this is literally the end. This is where I go down.

This is how you know I'm not exaggerating: a girl swimming by stops me and goes "Hey, you know you can grab a kayak any time you need to..."

So, long story short (and you can listen to the long story on my podcast below!)... If it weren't for the kid in the kayak escorting ME, and the ONLY other person (an elderly man), I probably would have drowned that day. BUT, I got a great story, and some really beautiful life lessons out of it.

3 Lessons I Learned from a Triathlon:

1. Dive in before you're ready: If I had waited until I thought I was a strong swimmer, taken however long it would take to practice and feel "ready".... I honestly don't think I ever would have done it. Don't wait around for some kind of magical moment telling you it's time! Sometimes you just have to dive in, let it be hard, look for support where it's there for you, but don't let the fear of not being "ready" hold you back.

2. It's not about them, it's about you: Since, of course, I was the last person to start the bike ride portion of the race (even the elderly man was ahead of me at the point), I was completely alone in this.. and I was perfectly fine with that. I wasn't doing this for anyone else, it was for me! I knew there were going to be people faster, stronger, better than me. But the only person I was competing with, was myself. Do it for you, because when it all boils down, you're the only one you can always rely on. Be your biggest cheerleader and biggest motivator!

3. Celebrate yourself! Start focusing on who you are, and what you're already doing, not what you're NOT doing. I finished the rest of this triathlon, coming in very last, but I DID IT. I could have gotten really down on myself, and upset with myself for coming in last (even after a 70ish year old man), but, boy I was so happy with my body for everything it just accomplished it didn't matter!


I've got a few offerings coming up for you to get brave, to dive in before you are ready, to challenge yourself, and to celebrate your amazing self!

  1. Girls on the Run 5k! "Girls on the Run" is a National organization that advocates for healthy eating and exercise, mental health, and wellness to 4th - middle school age girls. Your race fee goes directly to support GOTR & their mission! Join our own team of girls, on the run, Sunday June 5th! Race starts at 9:30am. Register here then let me know you'll be joining us!

  2. Move More Month Miles Challenge! This is a totally free challenge that would be a great way to prepare for the 5k, or if you just simply want to MOVE MORE! This challenge is hosted on Strava, a free app that I just love. Here's how to join:

    1. Get the app Strava & make an account

    2. On the top will be an icon of two people - click it, then search for Stephanie Genco and add me as a friend!

    3. I will invite you to the challenge. You'll get an email - click "add me to the challenge!"

    4. When you walk, jog, run, hike, or elliptical, use Strava to track your movement (make sure it's set to share with everyone or friends). It will add your miles to the challenge!


Want to talk more about anything I shared today? About fear, self worth, confidence, being ready, being your own motivator?! How about celebrating yourself and appreciating yourself?

Discovery calls are free. I'm here for you, girl. I've been through it myself, and now I help my clients work through these areas and so much more. Check out some of my success stories here.

Set up a free Discovery Call!


Prefer to listen to this topic? You can, here!

(I elaborate a lot more on some of these important, ideas, too.)

What did you think about this story? This was a little bit different from what I usually share with you and I'd really love to know if you liked it! Did any of this resonate with you? Let me know in the comments! ♡


If you have any questions about Move More Month or this month's challenges, drop me a comment here or on Instagram and let me know!

You are worthy of living and capable of creating a healthy lifestyle you love. 🤍


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