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Run & Triathlon
How did you find your sport?
Normally, team sports dominate in mainstream media. It never dawned on me that athletes would run to compete much less what a Triathlon was. I was studying one night during middle school and came across the World Ironman Championships in Kona. Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, and Run 26.2 miles all in one day? I was intensely intrigued.
What did you find most challenging when you first began your entry into training and competing?
When I competed in my first dual Cross Country Meet, I won first place for my high school. From that point forward, my biggest challenge was learning and knowing when to satiate the hunger to train. I discovered I had an endurance talent; however, talent is nothing without hard work. Being competitive, I wanted to learn everything I could to improve and challenge myself. Learning how to balance is always the most challenging.
If you could train/race/compete anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
My dream would be to climb the highest peak on each continent. At this point, I have visited and ran in over 20 different countries not because I ever came from money. But because I've learned how to manage my money well and realize if you can live wherever you are, you can visit and live anywhere else because someone else is doing it. Until I can hit my big dream of the highest peaks, I am currently training for my next dream: run across the Swiss Alps this summer. Last year, I ran across the Colorado Rockies in 120 miles, this year the Swiss Alps in 166 miles is the goal.
What is your favorite training accessory?
Each terrain has its necessary items and other unnecessary items. When I train alone, these items below make or break my workout so they are must-haves.
For the gym: Earphones
For the pool: 2XU Goggles
For the Bike: Food
For the track: GPS watch
For the trails: Max (my 6 year old yellow lab)
What motivates you to train and race harder?
I remind myself every morning what my goals are, what it takes to succeed, and if I want to give in, I ask myself: “How bad do you really want it? Do you want it more than your competitor? Prove it.” My parents and all their sacrifices to immigrate to this country leaving everything are my largest source of inspiration. If I ever feel like giving up, I put on a song and remind myself of these things.
How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport?
Working, training, and maintaining valuable connections with family and friends continues to be a challenge. However, I have learned to take out the unnecessary fillers in my life in order to focus on what is important. I’ve had to sacrifice many things and even lose very valuable people in my life, but I have learned that these loses or setbacks teach one to strengthen oneself to survive. As they say, “Sink or Swim.” You just have to learn.
What is the strangest thing we will find in your gym bag?
Maybe not strange: Gum. I’m hungry often. After I’m done with training, Gum helps me at least drive passed all the bad fast food restaurants until I can arrive to the right food choices.
What is your favorite post event meal?
If I could have it my way, a nice, big juicy burger or meat filled pizza. However, I want to come back faster for the next competition so I enjoy a Moroccan grilled salmon over wild rice drizzled in spices, avocado, and hot sauce. Makes my mouth water even right now.
Your favorite splurge item – food, gear, or otherwise?
Anyone who knows me: an ice-cream sundae covered with all the fixings. I can probably name you the must try dessert items at any major restaurant.
In five years time, I will be:
Still running, swimming, cycling, and climbing mountains. My life goal is to be a lifelong fitness enthusiast exploring the wonders of the world. Because my strong belief is we should not only dream big when we are little, we should always dream big and it should never stop even as adults. That is the greatest gift we can pass on to our children: Never stop dreaming big and never stop going after your big dreams.