Wednesday, October 22, 2014

From Beginner to Pro and all that in between

Growing up I played a lot of sports.  Aside from the organized sports I always enjoyed the mountain bike rides with my dad. "Dad how far did we go?!" "About 10 miles was almost always the answer, sometimes 20. Granted it took forever to go that far where now a days its much faster riding with my dad on our road bikes! Little did I know I was a triathlete in the making. 
I loved running, I started in 5th grade to get to know kids in a new school. I loved it. We would run a 3 mile course almost every day and race each other in practice to touch the jockeys butts(the ones that hold lanterns at the end of some older driveways)on the opposite side of Thompson Park. Probably not the best idea to race every single day but who knew?! 

I began swimming at age 4 at the Red Bank YMCA and eventually Red Bank Catholic High school but gave it up to pursue running full time in college. The summer going into senior year I met my running coach Gerard Pearlberg who helped me get my running to the next. I was MAC champion and All American in Cross Country in 2010. I ran 17.37 on the track my senior year coming back from injury during the winter season. 

 Coach GP as he is known to us runners has always been my go to coach for my running especially when I felt it was falling short of my own expectations. I decided this year to have him coach me full time again and my running has come a long way in the few months we have been back working together. I have great expectations for next year in both running and triathlon. 

Back to the beginning....

My first road bike, a Specialized Allez stayed in the basement for 2 years. I was terrified of riding clipped in outside, afraid I would go down. I road it on the trainer inside on few occasions. The saddle was AWFUL, so uncomfortable. "Is this what riding was like? Its terrible!" 
I finally had the courage to venture outside. A very successful ride. Unclipped my right leg pulling up to the house, leaned to the wrong side and BAM, down in the driveway. Almost made it. 

I did my first duathlon back in 2008?-ish. I loved it! 

My dad had been encouraging me to try a triathlon as he had been doing them for a little while. I got up one morning, went to the race start and bailed. Terrified of the ocean and so sick to my stomach I thought "no way, this isn't for me." Turns out I had a virus....

Finally I gave it a go. I signed up for a Sandy Hookers Triathlon in Pier Village. I had a good race. I decided to sign up for Jersey Girl the first year is debuted and from there I was hooked. I upgraded all my equipment and dove in head first. This was it...

I decided I needed a slightly smaller bike than the Allez so I upgraded while I was at it and went with the Cannondale SuperSix, my favorite matte black bike I call Batman. I now ride a 52 road bike, down from a 54. 
My brother Sean bought an Elite TT bike that wound up being too small for him so he offered it to me. That became my first triathlon bike for my first few seasons and treated me well. It was a great bike but also a little big for me but did the trick for a while. 
I eventually sold the Elite and went with the Scott Plasma size 49. I'm 5'6 and love the aggressiveness you get from riding a small TT bike. Its a great fit! 

After graduation from Delval I spent a week at the OTC. I raced a draft legal race two summers ago? but ultimately decided that I preferred non drafting triathlons. Maybe I'll change my mind in the future but for now I'm going to stick with non drafting and  this year I also plan on racing my first 70.3! I will also be traveling a bit more this year. 

I raced Chicago triathlon this past year and was first place amateur. The goal was to finish top 3 to earn my Elite Card AKA Professional Status as a triathlete. To my surprise I actually finished first. 

I am proud to OFFICIALLY announce that I will be turning professional for the 2015 triathlon season! (I have to renew in December every year)

So there you have it, in short, my story from Beginner to Pro. 

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