Long ago in a country far away (but right next door actually) a very long legged kid fell in love with water. Swimming pools were my favorite thing and by far the coolest thing anybody I knew had at their home. I swam competitively as a kid, although for me it was always fun. Coach would tell me "move your arms a little bit faster... push a little harder next time." I liked to win but I loved the water more so I was just content to swim.
The time came 7 years, 2 clubs and a lot of growing up in a pool later that I got tired of practicing in the pool. I decided to give rowing a try and it ended up changing me more than I ever thought a sport could. My family said a switch must have flipped inside me the first time I ever raced a rowing boat. A little fire was lit and I was hooked. All I wanted to do was win and row. My natural competitiveness took a sharp turn upwards and I was training all the time and living every minute of it. Rowing is a unique sport in which you have to train your cardiovascular system for hours on end, while working on the smallest movements of technique, but also gain incredible amount of strength through heavy weightlifting. It was one of the most frustrating times in my life trying to learn how to row a single while going through my hot-headed teenage years but it was the perfect lesson in patience and respect. You got out what you put in and change most definitely takes time.
I ended up rowing throughout college on the beautiful inter-coastal waterway of Florida. Although it had it's trials and tribulations, I look back and think what an absolute treat it was to have that opportunity to row at that level, with those gorgeous boats, surrounded by dolphins watching the sunrise each morning. Yes, I know it sounds like a little movie!
After college I had Olympic ambitions and told myself I would train full-time for two more years and then re-evaluate. My family was wonderfully supportive during that time. I trained full-time and worked part-time while living back at home. Two years later I watched as the Canadian Olympic Rowing landscape changed. I knew doors were closing and I was running out of time for my age-opening. I made the heart-breaking decision to retire while I still loved the sport. The world had changed and so had I, but I would never take back a single minute I spent holding an oar. Canada is still working it's way back to the Olympic rowing champions we were in the 90's and I admire and support the women who are working unimaginably hard to represent the nation back on that podium.
After rowing I knew I needed to find a physical outlet. I'm a busy body and I have never been able to do just one thing! I worked full-time and began volunteering in emergency services. The physical testing for that line of work is grueling and intense. I threw myself back into the gym and focused on my weight lifting for over a year and a half. Combining my personal-training past and education in exercise science I adopted from my college coach (who is probably a part time genius) I designed programs myself and trained through trial and error. It was a mental challenge I had to go through. Switching from long long cardio in rowing to a new style of training was tough. When you do something to be good at it for so long it becomes a way of life!
Soon after my best pal whom I rowed with told me she had signed up for a triathlon. We are best friends and best competitors because our talents lie on the opposite sides of the speed scale. She is an incredible long distance runner, I to this day don't know how her heart can handle all of her trail running and rep counts. I have always found my best speed in medium length sprints. I love a fast start and an explosive finish- hence I love the weight room! She convinced me I would love triathlons so I signed up for one and took to the bike as often as I could.
One sprint triathlon later and I was hooked. It was like the event was made for me. A water start, the longest portion is cycling and the end is the run. I loved the distance, and everything about it but the run (because oh boy, was I an inefficient runner!).
So here I am today almost three years later- a triathlete. I guess you could say, I found my groove again. Oh, and- all I wanna do is win.