In the summer of 2007, I entered into the realm of endurance sports when I started to prepare for my first triathlon, the Steelhead Ironman 70.3. Even though I had a high school background in swimming, the events I participated in were the sprint races like the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard butterfly. I had a background in track and field, but I threw discus and shot put so the only running that I did came from having to jog out 150 feet or so to retrieve the discus after I threw it. To transition from this background to the world of endurance sports was very difficult, and on many occasions, I questioned if I would even be able to pursue this path.
Before my parents and I flew out to Michigan to get ready for the half Ironman race, I was contacted by Powerbar to be a part of their "Powerbar Team Elite." It meant a lot to me that Powerbar saw potential in my athletic ability, and wanted me to be on their team that was full of Olympians and World Champion athletes.
In my first year of triathlon, I gained a lot of experience that helped me with my training. I went on to miraculously finish the Steelhead Ironman 70.3 and then competed in the Hawaii Ironman later that year, a race that gave me the breath of life all over again.
As the years went by, it was nice to see the progress taking place from all the hours that I put into my training. I was used to improving my swim times in high school by a small fraction of a second, and now in triathlon, I was improving my personal best by hours. It was eye-opening for me, and I wanted to go even faster.
As a Powerbar Team Elite member since 2007, I have competed in over three dozen endurance events including four Ironman's, seven Ironman 70.3's, 11 marathons, and one 50-mile ultramarathon. I've qualified for the National Championship at the Olympic distance, and the World Championship for the Ironman 70.3 distance. This week I was excited to discover that I was once again accepted to be on Powerbar Team Elite for the 2014-2015 seasons.
From the very beginning of my endurance career, the motivation that I had to continue on came from the support that I received from those around me. My family, friends and the triathlon and running communities gave me the confidence to push through the obstacles that came along the way.
The greatest lesson that I have learned over the years is that a race may be done alone, but in no way is it ever an individual effort.