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Ironman at 30

10 Mar


I am going to put it out there for the world:  I will do an Ironman at 30.

This basically means that sometime in the Summer of 2016, I’ll be signing up for a very long day of swimming, biking, and running.  I’ve been dreaming about doing triathlons for years, and ever since I did my first sprint triathlon last summer, I feel totally hooked.  It is an amazing community that satisfies my competitive nature and need for long-term fitness goals.  I haven’t felt this way about something since college basketball, which feels amazing!

This summer I’ll be doing two events as baby steps toward becoming a better triathlete:  a Olympic distance triathlon in Steamboat Springs, CO as well as a Long Course Aquabike in Aurora, CO.  I decided that when I turn 30 years old next year, I should give myself a birthday gift – the gift of being really badass.

When people tell me that they have completed an Ironman, I immediately have a high regard for their fearlessness, fortitude, and discipline.  I feel jealous.  I’ve found that jealousy is a really good way for me to understand what I really want. Finishing an Ironman is obviously not something you accomplish overnight. Luckily, I love the process of getting to race day.  The days spent swimming and biking outside are amazing…even some days I enjoy running!

Does anyone have any suggestions of Ironman locations that we could also turn into a post-Ironman vacation?

“No one’s gonna wait for you, no one’s gonna wait for you. So do it now. Do it right now.” – Ingrid Michaelson, “Do It Now”


Tanzania or Bust!

16 May

ImageAdventure is knocking on my door!  Spring semester is officially over, which means that the time has come for me to take my month long trip to Africa.  I’ll be working on a mHealth pilot project with my professor, Dr. Deborah Thomas, to help connect Prevention of Mother to Child Transmisstion of HIV (PMTCT) services through cell phones and geographic information systems (GIS).  Needless to say, I am really excited about this opportunity as it will be my first time in Africa.

I will predominately be located in Mwanza, which is the second largest city in Tanzania.  I am excited to be able to go and experience everything that I have learned first-hand.  Additionally, after my month long practicum, Eric and I will be taking some time to travel to other areas of the country. Throughout my stay, instead of emailing everyone, I’ll be posting to my blog so that my friends and family as well as other global health advocates can learn and benefit from my experiences.

As I prepare to leave for Tanzania and walk in my commencement ceremony this following week, it’s hard not to think about the future and how my life will change in the following year.  So much hard work and effort has been put into receiving my Master of Public Health.  I am looking forward to the opportunity to take action and use my education to better the health of under-served populations.

I’m sure my trip will be a life changing experience, and I appreciate Dr. Thomas, Eric, my parents, and all those along the way that made this possible for me.  Thanks for your interest in my travels, and I will post updates as often as possible!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

In Health and Happiness,


Run like a Penny dog.

14 Sep

 The trials and tribulations of a non-runner deciding to run

I am not a fan of running.  There, I said it.  I have never been a fan of running.  In fact, I can honestly say I loathe it.  And I really try to not overuse the word “loathe”, but, in this case, it is absolutely accurate.

As someone who spent a significant amount of her child and young adult life running around a basketball court, this may come as a surprise to some of you that don’t know me well.  If I had to run to catch someone making a break down the court – I love running!  Let’s go get her!  I don’t want her to beat me!  Basketball makes running a competitive exercise, where the ability to get from Point A to Point B faster doesn’t make you a better basketball player.  It CAN make you better, but if you can’t dribble the ball to save your life then you may want to try a different sport (like track).  Basketball made me feel strong, confident, and I became a full-fledged adrenaline junkie.  I’m not sure anything has matched the excitement I felt before a big game.

For me, the idea of going out and running at the same pace for an extended amount of time makes me crazy.  Throw in four knee surgeries and a doctor’s suggestion that not only I never play basketball again, but that I really shouldn’t use running as my major form of exercise.  Thanks, Doc.  So for the extent of my 20’s I have been searching for a way to get the same exercise and competitive adrenaline that I used to get from playing basketball.  Running? Who needs it?!  Well, apparently, I do.

Choosing to go with the idea of “baby steps”, I asked my friend and marathon survivor, Haleigh, to help me develop a training plan for the Race for the Cure.  I told myself, if my cousin Jennifer can fight breast cancer with a smile then I should be able to run a couple miles in her honor.  So for my first run, I just started out with 1 mile.

So I plugged in my iPod, cranked up the tunes, and started my first run.  As loud Eminem and Pink songs blasted in my ears, I heard myself start to think negative thoughts, like “I must look so stupid running”, “I wonder if anyone watching me now would even know that I used to be a college athlete”, and “I am so bad at this.  I hate that I am bad at this”.   The negative emotions cascaded down telling me I wasn’t good enough and would never be good enough.  I finished the run feeling worse about myself than when I had started.  And I had successfully finished my run!

I came inside feeling self-conscious and depressed.  After talking with Eric, he suggested I try to run outside with no music.  He told me to go out for my next run with the idea that I’m going to go take some time to just be with myself, move my body, and enjoy being outside.  He asked me to not look at it as a competitive practice but as a way to meditate, feel the sun against my skin, and reflect on my day.  This was a new concept for me.

So for my second run (1.25 mi) a day later, I set out with nothing but my running shoes and my thoughts.  As I jogged in my neighborhood, I felt more connected to both my community and Mother Nature.  I found that I talked myself through problems I’d been having.  I gave myself a break when I couldn’t make it all the way up the hill without catching my breath.  I even thought about the look my basset hound, Penny, expresses when she’s running in the park – PURE JOY.  So I smiled.  When my run got hard, I put a big smile on my face and enjoyed the feeling of moving my body.  I had a great run.  I ran like a Penny dog.

Maybe running will never be a competitive outlet for me, like I originally thought it should be.  I’m really okay with that.  Somehow I found a way to enjoy running.  With baby steps, hopefully someday I’ll be running longer than a couple miles, but if not, oh well.  At least I will always have something where I can go out and be quiet for a while.

In Health & Happiness,