My passion for athletics and competing started at a young age. I grew up playing and competing in many different sports and eventually discovered my talents for running when I joined the middle school track team and set the school record in the 400m as a sixth grader. In high school I evolved into a middle distance runner and lead my team to 6 state championships. I also ran the 800m anchor leg of our National Championship Sprint Medley relay team.
After being recruited to run by countless colleges, I decided to become a Blue Devil and attend Duke University, where my scholastic pursuit was a pre-medical curriculum. I had some success early on in my collegiate athletic campaign during which I earned multiple All-East Honors, was a multi-time finalist in Atlantic Coast Conference Championships, and competed at the NCAA Cross Country National Championships. However, a series of injuries beginning at the end of my sophomore year forced me to sit out and redshirt the entirety of my junior year. Once I returned to competition for my senior year and set personal bests each time I stepped on the track. I graduated with honors in 2010 with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biological Anthropology and Anatomy, and minors in Chemistry and Biology. Upon receiving my diploma, I decided to move on from athletics and I hung up my spikes. I did not accomplish what I had hoped I would during my collegiate running career and to cope with the disappointment I felt I resolved to never train again. Running became a means to stay fit, rather than fuel a competitive fire.
When I began medical school at Thomas Jefferson University in the fall of 2011, I felt aimless and lost without the structure of training and athletic goals, so I bought a bike, swam in an 18.3 yard pool and signed-up for my first triathlon. I surprisingly won my age group in my first race and was subsequently hooked on the sport. I then hired a coach, joined the Breakaway Racing Team, and kept on winning races. The pinnacle of my career thus far was being crowned the World Champion in my age group at the 2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships. A win that was unexpected to say the least. I had qualified for the championship race with a roll-down spot at Syracuse 70.3, a spot that I did not feel that I deserved with my disastrous race that day, but in hindsight I am glad that I accepted. When I traveled to Las Vegas, just two days before the World Championships, I was two months into my clinical rotations of my third year of medical school; the early mornings and long days in the hospital left me with little time to train. I would be lying if I said I had ever thought that winning the World Championship was a possibility. My goal was to execute the race that I was capable of having, there were no other expectations. When I crossed the finish line, I did not even know that I had won and I cried tears of joy when I was told the news. I took some time to celebrate the victory and relish being a World Champion, but the celebration was brief as I had to refocus my energy on my clinical responsibilities and studying for exams.
The return to training and working towards my 2014 season goals was delayed by several months of challenging rotations that kept me in the hospital for upwards of 14 hours a day. I was relieved to finally be able to return to training with my new coach, Brian Stover of Accelerate3, during the cold and snowy days of the winter of 2014. My early morning treadmill runs and endless sessions riding the trainer were driven by my aspirations of qualifying for Kona at Eagleman 70.3 on June 8, 2014.
When I crossed the finish line at Kona on October 11, 2014, it was a commencement ceremony for me, as it was my last race competing as an amateur. At least for now. In addition to winning the coveted Kona slot at Eagleman, I finished as the second overall amateur earning my elite license.
Time has flown by and I have graduated from medical school, but before my career in medicine reigns I will be pausing my medical education to pursue racing full-time as a professional. Medicine is not a job to me but a calling, and in the future my finish line is with my patients. But, for now I am choosing to pursue my passion for competing at the highest level in triathlon.
I am excited to begin this new leg of my athletic journey with the support of my family, friends, coach, and the triathlon community. Triathlon may be an individual sport, but it would be impossible to train and compete without a team of supporters behind me. I am looking forward to what will be an exhilarating and rewarding experience of living my dreams. Though I have faced a few obstacles along the way, including an injury that sidelined me for most of 2015, I remained focused, resilient, and determined and made my comeback one day at a time.
I am looking forward to 2016 and the opportunities that lie ahead!