Ginny Cataldi: My Kona Journey
12 October 2017
“One day I woke up and realized I was not living the kind of life I wanted to be living. My life was incomplete. Passionless. Despite being married (at the time) and having two children I knew I needed to make a change. However, taking the steps to make that change would be painful. I no longer wanted to play with society and go along for the ride. I needed more. I just did not know what it was. It was scary and made me sad. ”
As I was going through the motions to take control of my life I had a friend suggest that I compete in a triathlon. I did not even know what it was, but reluctantly I agreed. In college I was a swimmer and vowed never to get into a pool again after my last swim meet. I had no bike, nor had I ridden a bike since I outgrew my baby blue Huffy when I was 11, but I did dabble in running races.
Flash forward to August, with 2 months of “training” under me, I went to my race. It was an Olympic Plus distance. I was nervous, but also excited. In transition figuring out set-up, what sticker went where, and how to rack my bike had me feeling slightly overwhelmed. Everyone else looked so confident and moved with purpose. As I pulled my wetsuit on (for the first time) and walked down to the water a calm washed over me. I could do this. I entered the water and moved to the front. I had no idea what would happen, but I was at home in the water. The horn sounded and I went. Coming out of the water I had a smile ripped from ear to ear as I ran to my bike. I put on my shoes and mounted at the line. I had learned to love the bike and felt confident. Coming back into transition I was not aware of anyone else around me. I was in a zone and loving the day. I quickly changed into my running shoes and hit the pavement. The strides came easily and my heart was pumping. I heard the sound of my breathing in my ears and was pushing myself to go harder and faster. It hurt so badly, but I loved it. As I neared the finish line I heard somebody yelling, “Here she comes! The first female!” I did not really understand what that meant until I heard the announcer saying, “Congratulations Ginny Cataldi! Our first female finisher from Phoenxiville PA. With a time of….. ” I was flying high, but not because I had won my first race. It was because I had accomplished something that made me feel alive and free. I had pushed myself to a place I never thought capable. My passion was born. I was happy, hungry and I wanted more. Finally, I saw a glimpse who I wanted to become.
As I look back on how it all started (the 12 x’s 70.3 [most recently just placed 5th in my AG at Worlds] the 4x’s 140.6 [one of which was Kona and number 5, which is quickly approaching, will also being Kona]) I vow never to forget my roots. I did not understand what living a life of fulfillment meant and I found myself through this sport. When I set out to race an Ironman in 2014 my goal was to inspire people. I set up an IG page and started making connections. Everyone has a story. Everyone has something they battle. My goals were to give hope, advice and motivation. Everyone deserves to be happy no matter how that looks. I met this sport and have been “successful” with my results, but isn’t everyone? I train to win, but race for the passion.”
Ginny’s model of choice: Gravity 6