Angela Naeth

PROFESSIONAL TRIATHLETE

Update Oct 7th! - 6 days out from Kona Ironman World Championships!

It’s been a while since my last update, and I’m now on the Big Island of Hawaii to race the Ironman World Championships!  I am so excited to finally race in Kona! I had been hoping to get a spot, and when I heard the news I was just so amazed that we were able to salvage one of the most difficult seasons of my career. So, it is a bit bittersweet to have the opportunity to head over to the Big Island to race. I’m not even looking at it as a race. This time around it is going to be a celebration, a big one!

Quite honestly, being hit with Lyme’s Disease, and its co-infections, and going undiagnosed for several months, really threw me for a loop. I felt horrible for about four or five months, with unexplained deep fatigue, muscle soreness, weakness, depression, and who knows what else. I thought that I was going nuts! And sometimes, I was. The treatments have been a journey. They are pretty aggressive, with several months of multiple antibiotics, which while helping to make me better, was leaving my body wasted. So, to have the opportunity to race in Kona, despite all of this, is both a blessing and an honor.

It also comes with a great deal of gratitude. This truly has taken a village, and it wouldn’t have been possible without those who have supported me along the way, including my sponsors, my family, my friends, my manager, my doctors, as well as my boyfriend and his family. Going from not being able to walk down the stairs to racing in IRONMAN World Championship, it is their support that truly got me through some of my most difficult times, both mentally and physically. Just thinking about the effort and support, I have nothing but 100% focus on doing my best in honor of that.

I have done a number of Ironman’s this year (4 if counting!), and it is a testament to the journey that I have been on. Each race has been an improvement, and a learning experience of how to train and race while on all of these different antibiotic medications. There were times when my body’s response to the different medications seemed quite unpredictable, and I just never knew what to expect, from one day to the next.

Throughout this process I have learned what, and how, normal should feel. I have had to adapt to a different version of normal, and it has taken a lot of getting used to. But, I feel like I am starting to really understand it. And, if I am being honest, though I have I done four IRONMANs, in a relatively short time, I am actually quite fresh. I really just started logging any real run mileage over the past few weeks. Because my health was so sporadic, my training from May through mid-August were pretty fractured. I did what I could, when I could, and it was kind of all over the place. We decided to give qualifying for Kona a shot, just because you only get so many chances. So, we mapped out a path, and decided that we would take it one race at a time. It really became one day at a time. And sometimes, one workout at a time.

As a result, the races were hard single day events, but I never got beat up by a full-on training cycle, and IRONMAN build-up. Tim has me hitting Kona in what he would call a mid-cycle of my training. Because it has been such a screwy year, Kona is not going to be the be-all, end-all. I am planning on a full set of races through the end of the year. It is our goal to hit Kona on an upswing in my fitness. I won’t be razor-sharp, but I do feel like I am just now getting into the best shape that I have been in all year. We plan to build on where I am, now, through the remainder of the season. I look forward to seeing what I can do, and continue to gain momentum! 

The biggest challenge has been accepting each day, and what it brings.  At the same time, aside from one minor setback, September has been the most stable period over the past year. When first diagnosed, my symptoms kind of took over my life. I was struggling to get out of bed. Stairs were menacing, at best. The first couple of months were very difficult, because I just never knew what to expect from one day to the next. Some days I felt okay, and others I was sick in bed. The progression was very slow, and often very difficult to see. But, it has gone pretty much exactly as the doctor described it would be.

When I was able to get out of my own head, and see the slow but steady progress, I started to gain some hope. Lyme’s made me feel deeply fatigued, and consistently nauseous, and like I had the flu, for a much longer period than anyone should have the flu. But, it would come and it would go. One of the co-infections, babesia, greatly affected my muscles, making it difficult to stand, walk stairs, get in and out of the car, etc. My legs constantly felt like I had run a half-marathon the day before. The running that I could do, was neither fast, nor pretty.

But, little by little, by little it got better and better, and better. The progression was humbling. It taught me patience, and made me appreciate both a healthy body, and this sport, more and more. I can’t thank Tim enough. He went through the thick of it with me. Going from crying in the middle of the night, because my body ached, and my mind was depressed, to running intervals, on the track with him, last week – It has been quite a journey.  My health is coming back!  

Ironman World Championships is October 13th!  I’m so very grateful with the people in my life who have helped me get back on my feet literally and figuratively, and have supported me throughout.  To enjoy the experience, push myself to my abilities and find that magic and energy that comes when racing a World Championship event - that’s what I’m going to do. 

I hope to bring awareness to Lyme disease and help others learn about Lyme/ I have been humbled by the many people who have reached out to me, just to let me know that I had played a role in their being diagnosed with Lyme’s after suffering, for so long, with mysterious symptoms. That makes me smile, inside and out!

(Thanks to Topo Athletic for the video to help raise awareness for Lyme: https://youtu.be/BDTrly7yarg!

Update on IRACELIKEAGIRL:

We’re just opening membership for our 3rd year! It has been such a great avenue to meet new females, and to help to support them in the sport, and feel their support for me! It has been a great way for me to really dive into what this sport is all about - a community! The support we have for one another and the ability to meet members at races, and to cheer for them on course, has been simply amazing and fun! It brings me back to why I do this sport - the people, the community, the fun, support, and inspiration that you get from others.  My sponsors have supported us all along the way. It is my hope to continue to build these relationships, in order to help our members in all aspects of triathlon, be it education, support, gear, as well as  a global community of women - all connected through the team.  In the future, I plan to grow the brand and team into events and camps. We have our first camp coming this January in Clermont, FL, and it is already sold out! I would love to create a fund for younger athletes in the sport, beginners, and mothers who need that extra support! 

Registration for 2019 can be found here: www.iracelikeagirl.com/membership-info (we are limiting membership and already halfway there!)* 

And finally! 2019 Coaching!  I love this aspect of my career and helping others achieve their personal best in racing and training.  It’s been an honor to race alongside and be part of their own journey.  *limited spots available  www.angelanaeth.com