A little background on how I got started in this wonderful sport of triathlon. When I was a kid I enjoyed sports more than anything else. In addition to soccer and figure skating I used to spend hours playing hockey with the neighbor kids down the street. My senior year in high school, my little brother Robby, started running with a group to train for a half marathon. He introduced me to his friend Reid and Reid’s dad, RJ. Reid and RJ became like family to me and my brother. I would drive myself and Robby out to the Burke Gilman trail early on the weekends to go run with Reid, RJ, and the rest of the running group. My brother and I both ran our first half marathon, the Seattle Rock N Roll, in 2010.
I tried to take some time off “training” after getting married to focus on being married and my new job. Sean worked second shift at Boeing, so I would come home from work, go for a short run, maybe do some P90x, make myself dinner, and go to bed. On Friday nights, for fun, I would cook or bake something like a cake or muffins. About mid-way through 2014 I knew I needed a challenge. I loved cooking, cleaning, and working, but I missed having a goal to train for. I signed up for the Grand Ridge Ultra run for fall 2014.
A week out from the race I took my dog Grace out to Grand Ridge for a short training run. It was early in the morning and there weren’t many people on the trail. I was coming around a switch back and about 10 feet from me was a bear and her two cubs. I had surprised her, and she started making chuffing noises and lunged at me. I held up my hands and backed away slowly. Grace stood behind me and thankfully didn’t make any noise. We backed around the corner and ran back to the car. It was a scary thing to happen a week out from the race.
The following Thursday, a couple days out from the race, I was sitting at my desk. I worked the late shift, so I could train in the morning before work and also miss traffic. My co-worker was packing up to leave for the day. Suddenly, I started having sharp pains in my chest. I tried taking a breath in but couldn’t because it hurt to much. I passed out and when I woke up my co- worker was freaking out. I threw up in a garbage can and she called an ambulance. The medics checked my blood sugar, and everything seemed to be fine. They said it could have been a panic attack.
Ultimately, between the bear and the panic attack, I did not end up running the Ultra. I was super bummed, but I may not have ended up on the path I am on if it were not for the events that led to not being able to do the Ultra. About a week later I was talking with my manager about triathlon. She thought I might enjoy doing an Ironman. She had done Challenge Penticton years back and had a road bike she was willing to sell me.
Between the bear and the incident at work I realized that life is short and sometimes it is best to just go for it. I signed up for Penticton, bought the road bike, and got myself a gym membership so I could use the pool. I remember walking into Northwest Tri & Bike for the first time. It was a couple months after I had started training for Penticton. I met Julie and she told me about Raise the Bar. I started going to the team swims and met the most amazing people. The people I have met through Raise the Bar have become some of my greatest friends and another one of the reasons I love triathlon so much. The people.