I know who I am now. I know where Im going. I know my purpose. by Shannon McGrew

I am in no way a writer but a tired mom, veterinary technician, triathlete just trying to do better each and every day. Which is why this program was one of the best things to happen to me. Its a little long, but its my journey.

It started 4.5 years ago. I was in a horrible marriage, miserable and filling emotional voids with food. I had gained a lot of weight. My husband at the time had been deployed, and I was a single working mom just trying to function day to day.

In the Spring of 2012, I decided it was time to get healthy. I started doing a spin class and TRX on my lunch breaks, watching what I ate, I even started to do some light running in the evenings. Then I started throwing some swimming in there, and thought, hey, I want to do a triathlon. When I told this to my, now ex, husband, he immediately shut me down, telling me I couldnt do one because I was a mom. Well, those few words, while they hurt then, have not left my head, and have helped to dive me onward.

I left a month later and started a new life with my son, and found someone who has been more than supportive of my journey. I started training for my first sprint triathlon fall of 2012, but little did I know that it would all be put on hold that winter. I became pregnant with my daughter. I continued my routine, hanging with the “A” group on the bike 6 months pregnant, commuting to work and doing spin class until 37 weeks, and swimming a mile the day before she was born. 3 weeks after my 2nd c-section, I had my bike on the trainer, spinning my legs while she napped. And while on maternity leave, we came up with my plan. 2014-sprint triathlons, 2015-olympic and half iron, and 2016-full iron distance.

January of 2014, I got a call that my mom was very ill, and in the hospital. I rushed home to Louisville to be with my family. She died the next day. I had just talked to her a few short days before, and told her my plans to become and Ironman. We were never very close, but her not being around to see my first race was hard. After that, it was a no brainer that I would be racing in Ironman Louisville 2016, and sticking to my plan. I did several sprint triathlons in 2014, an olympic and Miami 70.3 in 2015, and have been training all year for Louisville 140.6.

My journey has been full of ups and downs, from family problems, to injuries, to self doubt. This journey has been about healing myself, physically and emotionally. I have learned more about myself in the past 4.5 years than the 29 previous. I know who I am now. I know where Im going. I know my purpose.

The Equally Inspiring program connected me with Chris Martino, whom I have never met, yet he believes in me more than I believe in myself at times. If it weren’t for the program, and having a coach to push me through, I would have quit this journey several months ago. In just 6 weeks, I am going to hear those famous words. And I am going to be that much stronger, physically and emotionally, not just for myself but for my children. And I will have proven to myself, there are no limits as to what you can do if you are willing to work for it.


Shannon will be competing in Ironman Louisville on October 9th with her coach Chris Martino. We’ll be thinking about you two!

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