My decision to become a triathlete, more specifically a desire to become an Ironman, developed as a result of the most painful 6 months of my life. In 2017, I went from being an avid runner to facing surgery to remove the tail of my pancreas and my spleen seemingly overnight. I woke up one morning with some weird stomach pain that led to an emergency room visit. After a series of tests in the ER the doctor told me that a mass was found on my pancreas. As soon as he left the room, I burst into tears because it felt like my world was unraveling. 5 days later I was discharged from the hospital with a surgery date to re
move the precancerous mass. The tail of my pancreas and my spleen were removed in February 2017. My recovery was sidelined that April because my pancreas was leaking. After 10 more days in the hospital, 3 procedures to place and remove stents in my pancreas/stomach, and 6 weeks of activity restriction I was finally cleared to start running again. (For the long version of that story - https://
Due to my intense gratitude for being healthy again, I decided to set an ambitious goal of becoming an Ironman. I decided
that the following year, 2018, I would do a Half Ironman and in 2019 I would tackle a full. I registered for my first Ironman 70.3 when I didn’t own a bike and couldn’t swim. Other than taking swim lessons as a kid, I had zero swimming experience, so I signed up for an adult swim clinic at the Y. I knew that I needed a “road bike” (although at the time, I just knew that meant funny looking handlebars and skinny tires), so I went to Dick’s and bought a red bike that had “road bike” on the tag. I found a great coach to work with because the only thing I knew about triathlons, was that I didn’t know anything. I started training and slowly taught my body how to swim, bike, and run.
My triathlon journey has brought me to completing several sprint triathlons, Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, Crystal Coast 70.3, and on September 28th, Ironman Maryland, 140.6 miles. I spent so much time dreaming about hearing my name called followed by, “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” I spent the majority of the race with a huge smile on my face because I knew what I had been dreaming of since 2017 was going to become a reality. When I crossed the finish line, I can’t explain all of the emotions I experienced. An Ironman finish line was my goal for the past two years, but I think the most beautiful part of any race isn’t the finish line - it’s the journey it took to get there.