There’s only so many people who get into good enough shape to participate in a triathlon. And there’s no denying the amount of practice and training someone puts in in order to do so.
Now, imagine trying to compete with just one arm.
That’s what New Yorker, Evelyn Rodriguez aimed to accomplish for a while.
Rodriguez was born missing most of her left arm, due to unknown circumstances.
Though she can now wear a prosthesis, one can imagine the limitations of growing up with just one arm.
Growing up, she was bullied and wasn’t allowed to participate in gym class because of her condition.
Being excluded on multiple fronts can take a negative toll on anyone, and Rodriguez found herself lacking self-confidence in her youth.
Rodriguez also became a mother at the age of 16, and as if being a teenage parent wasn’t hard enough, she still found that she wasn’t happy with herself and the way people perceived her.
“Even just going to the park with my son—I didn’t feel comfortable,” she told Inside Edition.
But eventually, she gained enough courage to join an amputee support group, which helped her get into activities such as physical training and sports in general.
Her confidence slowly but surely grew over time.
“Before I met the group, I felt very bad about myself,” Rodriguez said. “After I met them, I had a better outlook about myself and the future. I dealt with things differently.”
Her training got to the point where Rodriguez felt confident enough to attempt a triathlon—it turns out that she could hold her own in one.
And by July 2018, Rodriguez had competed in her third triathlon.
This kind of competition is one where people train for months to be a part of it; if anything, Rodriguez had to push extra hard due to her condition.
Swimming laps, indoor biking, and night runs are a part of her daily routine leading up to the event. And the training isn’t just physical, it’s mental as well.
She doubted herself during this triathlon in particular, but her second-guessing didn’t last long.
“I felt that I should maybe get off my bike and walk,” she said. “Instead, I reminded myself that I had trained for this.”
The woman pushed on, completing the running and cycling portions of this race. Thanks to her contributions, her relay team’s finish time was 3:59:22.
The woman dedicated the win to her baby granddaughter, and even wants to be the one to teach her how to ride a bike one day.
“I just want to motivate anyone and tell them that they can do it,” she said.
There’s any number of ways that Rodriguez could’ve coped with her condition, and it looks like she chose the right path.
Hopefully, she can continue to be active, and act as inspiration for anyone who thinks that they aren’t “good enough” because of a condition they have.