First, I can be contacted at crystalfun2race at gmail.com
I am PR friendly and love trying new gear (tech, apparel, nutrition, you name it!).
I grew up in Ohio, but my fitness sory begins when I was in 1st grade, and was in the highest-level swim class at the local pool. The swim coach taught this class, and it is where you learned the butterfly stroke. It became apparent that I was a natural at the stroke, so I was asked to join the swim team. I set some 8 &under butterfly records, and along with some friends we were able to set the league record for the medley relay!
Swimming remained my focus all the way through high school, but I also participated in a whole host of other sports and activities. I played softball, where I wore the #15 proudly for my favorite Cleveland Indian of all time, Sandy Alomar Jr. I was a setter in volleyball, ran distance in track, along with throwing discus, shot put and even the hammer throw!
When I went to college I had a tough choice to make, but I ended up choosing academics (Xavier University in Cincinnati) over swimming, knowing I wouldn’t be able to do both 100%. Wanting to stay active, I played intermural sports including soccer, softball (champs!), floor hockey, and volleyball. I also participated in the annual A10 basketball shootout competition, but I knew I needed to join a club sport in order to get a real sense of team.
I did a semester of crew, which I enjoyed, but for a variety of reasons (mostly financial), I decided to join the water polo team instead. The team was all male, and a large portion of them had played together in high school. Although I had 0 experience, besides the games we used to play on swim team, the guys welcomed me in and taught me a lot about the sport. We even had a great coach who was an XU alum and is now a comedian, check him out here.
Although I was still active and wasn’t eating and drinking tons of crap, I still gained a decent amount of weight through my college years. Why? Because I was no longer burning thousands of calories per day. In high school I was working out 3-5 hours per day, and obviously that no longer happened once I went to college. Then I made the huge mistake of going to grad school and things really began to fall apart…
2006-2008: Graduate School
I moved to Rhode Island, where I quickly went into culture shock and had to pick up a second and third job, just to survive (went from 1.99 gallon of milk to over $5!). Between working and the tough demands of classes and research, I became very sedentary and lost my motivation for fitness.
Half way through my second year, I took a look in the mirror and knew I had to make some changes. I decided to leave with just a masters instead of finishing the PhD, entered into a 40 days of yoga program (LOVED IT!), and I bought my first road bike. I, however, couldn’t follow through with my daily yoga practice after getting injured, didn’t ride my bike much, and quickly found working a 40 hour job (where I sat at a desk all day and had a 1.5 hour commute each way) didn’t help me to make fitness a priority again.
Shortly after getting married my husband and I joined a local bike club, where we met tons of active people that are some of our best friends today. Quickly HE was riding all the ”hammerfest” rides, while I was still trying to learn things like pace-lining, drinking while pedaling, & how to avoid cars at intersections. I rode a couple days/week, 10-20 miles at a time and that was really it, as I didn’t really get bitten by the bug until I went for my first ride in the woods.
2011: Mountain Biking, Running & Cyclocross
For the first time on a bike I felt both deathly afraid and exhilarated all at the same time. I no longer had cars to worry about, and I had nature all around me. This is when I truly fell in love with biking. As a very competitive person, I instantly thought I could race at the same events as my husband. I entered a couple, but I got frustrated after having to walk my bike too many times in technical sections. I decided to call it quits for mountain bike racing for the year, so I did a couple half marathons thinking running would help me building back the fitness I once had as competitive swimmer.
Fall of 2011, I also tried cyclocross for the first time, as it seemed like everyone was having too much fun not to join in. I didn’t do so well, but I had a lot of fun and improved my handling skills that turned out would come in handy for mountain bike racing. I devoted my winter to getting stronger and was determined to be a contender in races once again. I rode outside a lot as it was a mild winter, as well as plenty of torture sessions on the trainer ☺
2012 1H: Cycling
For the first time since buying a bike, I finally felt like a cyclists, and as a reward for the improvements I made in the off-season, I was surprised with a new 29er for the 2012 race season. I believed this was just the motivation I needed to continue to work hard and conquer my fears. The mountain bike race season was full of ups and downs for me, but I did improve AND I was able to ride better on the road as a result.
2012 2H: Archery, Running, Cyclocross
Once August came and the Olympics were wrapping up, I decided to pick up my dusty hunting bow and start practicing archery. I was able to shoot really well right off the bat (after 3 years of not touching it), so I decided to get a recurve bow. This way I could tackle Olympic style archery, which seemed like much more of a challenge and allowed me to do more then just 3d shoots. I then picked back up running, as something easy to do on my lunch break, and I’m back racing cyclocross, suffering just as much as last year!