Monday, December 12, 2011


The following is a post I've been asked to contribute to the Team Evotri website on the origins of each team member in the sport of triathlon.

My entry into the sport of triathlon was now ten years ago.  I was 23, out of shape, and missing the competition that I got growing up as a swimmer, a fastpitch softball player, and a musician.  In all of those disciplines, I competed often, and was never the best or most talented but definitely was driven to make myself better.  It resulted in some little perks that largely mattered only to me; like a hard-fought third place medal in the 50 freestyle in 1988 summer league, several scores of "I" at my district Solo and Ensemble contest in very difficult pieces, or batting cleanup on varsity as a sophomore.  Seemingly silly little things that no one else would really notice, but to me, were proof that working hard could sometimes make up for a lack of amazing talent. 

After college, I entered the so-called "Real World."  Not the MTV version.  The REAL ONE.  The one with bills and 168 students and rent payments and WOW-this-is-not-what-I-thought-it-would-be's. 

I drank a lot of coffee.  I called home quite a bit.  I consumed quite a bit of junk calories in the form of Skyline Chili and Graeter's Ice Cream.

I wanted to push hard again.

I think I read about triathlons in some fitness magazine that I read while probably eating ice cream in the summer sometime.  Something called a "sprint distance."  Well, I thought, that can't be TOO hard...I know I can swim that distance.  I can probably ride a bike that far if I really try.  And I have completed a 5K--once.  I called up my buddy Shannon, who was totally hardcore and usually up for anything in the form of a challenge, and we picked out a race.

We did it, and little did we know we were well on our way to a new hobby.  A new sport.

And really, a new life.

I dropped 35 pounds within the year.  I was on such a high from my local sprint triathlon that it led to other things:  ending an unhealthy relationship, backing away from the ice cream (oh, who am I kidding--backing away from a DAILY habit at least and introducing a little thing called moderation), and really changing the way I dealt with stress into one focused on fueling myself with positive stuff and exercising away the negative stuff.

I signed up for a marathon, trained, and completed it in 5:14.

I then did a MS150 Charity Bike Tour.

And after that, I got a really crazy idea to do an Ironman.

Since that first race in 2001, I re-met and married my best friend, had two children, ballooned up to over 200 pounds each time and back down again, all while training and racing through every step along the way. 

I'm still not the best, but I'm still getting better.

I'm proud that my children know what I do and "do exercises" like Mommy does.  I hope that my love of triathlon and of fitness and health will help them deal positively with whatever challenges come their way.  I've helped train students to get to the finish line of their first triathlons, and love watching where it takes them.  This summer, I will be starting a Mom's group to train for a local triathlon, and I am literally giddy with excitement.

And through Evotri, I've been lucky enough and feel honored to be introduced to some of the most positive, inspiring, amazing individuals in the universe, all while being supported by unbelievable sponsors and opportunities. 

So to that tired, stressed, overwhelmed, out-of-shape 23-year-old girl who clicked "REGISTER" on the Fairport Harbor Triathlon website in 2001?

Thanks for everything.


Karen said...

Love this! I read so many blogs of people I admire in the sport of triathlon and often wonder what their starting point was like. I think I always assume they might have been some superathlete in school or have some freakish ability. Turns out, most are just "normal", focusing on putting one foot in the front of the other. Thanks for sharing your story :)

Carolina John said...

Very cool! We all come from humble beginnings, and the real world kicks everyone for a while when we first get in it. That's what makes the fun parts so much fun!

JP Severin said...

You are a really good writer and I like you a lot!

Marv said...

I think you are right on about the example you set with your lifestyle for your children. I believe we are setting an example for those that look to us for something good or bad most of the time whether we realize it or not.

Anonymous said...

On the road to a lifetime of fun and fitness! yeeha!

Alili said...

Love this!