I got involved with South Bay Squad as it was my new local club, but the inclusivity, the activities (socially distanced, of course) that carried on during the pandemic, the enthusiasm and welcomeness of the group itself really drew me in. I have belonged to other tri clubs before, and they always felt clicky, and there was none of this with the Squad. I was excited to see a new club blossom after so many others had failed in the South Bay, and wanted to be part of helping it grow in any way possible. Our club board was open to suggestions, and open to hearing about my past experiences as a leadership member in a previous club. I was ecstatic to be one of the first to represent our club at a team Ironman weekend.
After growing up an athlete through high school, it dropped off in college and thereafter. When a friend challenged me to do Tough Mudder with him, I accepted and decided to get myself back into shape in 2012. I decided to start running to build my endurance, and truly enjoyed it. When the Tough Mudder we were planning on racing was cancelled, I decided to set my goals high and run the LA Marathon. During this training, some injuries followed, and forced me to take other approaches. I started riding my bike on a daily basis to maintain and still build my cardio endurance. No route was too short or long. I would ride my mountain bike from the South Bay to Newport Beach and back for my long workout. It really brought back the enjoyment I had of mountain biking as a teen again.
In March of 2013, I ran my first ever LA Marathon, and managed to complete it in under 5 hours! From there, things only progressed forward. I continued to build strength, speed and a desire to improve further. I became heavily involved with workout groups at my gym, and continued to train for my second marathon. In 2014, I ran my second LA Marathon, besting my original time by 45 minutes. Excited, yet disappointed as I should have done better, but it turned out to be one of the hottest marathon days in the history of the LA Marathon.
Shortly thereafter, a friend suggested I try a triathlon. Reluctantly, I said I would, and in October of 2014 I did the Hermosa Beach Triathlon. I fell in love! I had found what I wanted to do. From there, I immediately signed up for the Malibu triathlon in 2014. It spiraled from there. In 2016, I did my first Ironman 70.3 Vineman. Exciting, exhilarating and challenging were the first thoughts before and during the race. Cramps were the biggest part of the run. Not happy with what I thought could be a better finish, I signed up for Santa Cruz, which was 2 months later. If you're not happy with your original time, sign up for a harder course and set a PR, I said to myself. So I did! Did my second Ironman in Santa Cruz with a 20 minute PR!
With all the excitement that had built, I felt it was time to challenge myself further. I signed up for Ironman Canada in 2017. Boy, was training for a 140.6 a challenge. I trained tirelessly, building my biking and running for the monster hills that awaited in Whistler. Went in with a glow and the most excitement I had had yet, when it all came to a crash around mile 65 of the bike. I ended up with a grade 3 AC separation that put me out of commission for 4 months. It was difficult to accept a DNF, almost humiliating for me. I begrudgingly lifted myself out of my dark place. I decided I needed to challenge myself and get redemption, so on a whim, I signed up for IM Chattanooga in 2018. I pushed and trained harder than I had before, determined that this attempt would be successful, and what better way than to pick a course where the bike is 4 miles longer than any other. The time had come, and I had never been so better prepared for a race. I landed in Chattanooga, only to find out they had cancelled the swim due to the recent rains that caused the river to swell to unsafe levels. Disappointed that I would not get to do all three disciplines (again), but I carried on anyway. The finish line was sheer enjoyment, but it was still lacking.
Figuring the third time was a charm, I joined a large group of friends and signed up for IM Maryland. This time, my close friend and now coach, Jeff Sullivan, took me on as one of his athletes. Boy, was a structured plan and training much different and more time-consuming. I prepared like no other and awaited the glorious day I got to jump into the bay at Cambridge, Maryland with all the jellyfish and with 8 other friends that joined in. I got through the swim unscathed, and headed for the bike. I put down my best bike to date and proceeded to the run, which was hot, humid and joyful to see my coach and friends all throughout the run. Finally reaching the last turnaround, and only a 1/2 mile from the finish, the emotions set in. This would be my first finish with all disciplines completed. The sheer joy of seeing my parents cheering me through the finishers' chute was overwhelming. I had finally done it! Then the thought set in...what course will I do next?
You know the rest of this story!