Derek Smith

Triathlon Since
Washington, US

About Me

In August 2004, in the final minutes of a men’s league basketball game, I came crashing down on the floor of a YMCA gym with a torn quad tendon. I left the Y in an ambulance. While I was no stranger to knee injuries and surgeries, having had ACL reconstruction in high school, I was 33 years old, and, a 33 year old knee is slow to heal. Over the next 8 years I gained 40 pounds due to my love for beer and pizza and my lack of activity. Additionally, I had an additional 5 knee scopes. When I left my follow up orthopedic doc appointment in 2012, he said, “see you in 4 years” as he expected me to be back for more surgery. In March of 2012, I bought a hybrid bike, with hopes of getting active again. As a new(ish) dad, I wanted to be able to be active with my kids, and, set a good example. Additionally, I’ve always been an athlete, and, much of my self identity has always been based on that. I rode over 2000 miles on that bike in 2012. I shed weight and gained confidence. So much so that I signed up for the Rahr 5k in September 2012. I remember the anxiety around running 3.1 miles, as I once believed that I would never run again. I survived, and, began to run longer distances. In March of 13, I accepted a position with the Fort Worth YMCA. The 1st Annual Mayors Tri was scheduled for July. I figured, as the Y director, I “had” to race. I trained hard for that race, as I didn’t know how to swim, and, had lots of doubts about my abilities. I finished that race, and, was hooked. Since then, I've completed 190+ races, including 29 half-marathons, 4 marathons, an ultra-marathon, 4 Ironman 70.3’s, and, now, this past weekend, Ironman Texas. I’ve overcome many fears and tons of self doubt over the past 5 years. I’ve found a space for mental health in my training and racing, have scratched the competitive itch that has always been there, and, met friends and racing buddies that have pushed me to do things I never thought possible. I’m so incredibly grateful for my loving, supportive family, my racing buddies that continue to push me, the ability to compete, and, the recognition that, against all odds, truly, anything is possible. So, what's the point of all this?? The point is that the body and mind can do amazing things when pushed. Even when the odds may feel stacked against you, you can accomplish big things. Do something today that your future self will thank you for. Surround yourself with those that will push, nudge, encourage, and love on you. Prove yourself and the other doubters wrong. Do Epic Shit. Remember, if your goals don't scare you, they're likely not big enough...

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