On October 23rd, 2011, I packed up my bike and flew to Hawaii to compete in my first Xterra World Championship. An Xterra event consists of a 1.5 km ocean swim, a 30 km mountain bike and a 10 km trail run. It was the final race of my season, and a race that would challenge every ounce of endurance, strength and mental toughness that I possessed.
Standing at the start line, I was anything but confident in my ability to finish this race. Here I was, on the edge of the beach, with waves crashing into shore, surrounded by some of the most talented pro triathletes in the world. Most of them, who typically spend between 30-40 hours a week training were busy fighting off reporters and completing their final pre-race rituals.
Minutes before the gun went off, my mind was flooded with images of the hours spent doing winter spin classes, burpees, suspended lunges, vinyasas, and even the runs to the park up the hill and back. I suddenly couldn’t believe that I was doubting my ability to finish this race. I remembered how blessed I was to not only have the ability to compete in this event, but the knowledge and experience I had acquired from an incredible place. Despite the amazing twists and turns that have made my life interesting, my fitness club has always remained a constant, a place I know will prepare me for any challenge or experience I wish to conquer.
With a lot of sweat, blood, and an unfortunate bike mechanical, I managed to cross the finish line, completely dehydrated, and exhausted. This was a feat that even some of the top competitors weren’t able to achieve due to the intense heat from the sun, the grueling climbs, and the deadly downhills that demanded balance and extreme concentration.
It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child, and I believe the same can be said about an athlete. As I begin my second year of Xterra training, I now know that it isn’t just about the individual, or the bike, or the shoes. Every discipline; the swim, the bike, and the run requires specific training, a focus on functional strength, core work, flexibility, injury prevention, nutrition, and breathing. Most of all, training at an elite level requires the most innovative technology, dedicated instructors, and trainers that are educated on the most up-to-date research.
I believe The Club at White Oaks is a community that thrives on challenging us to fulfill our potential, and empowers us with the necessary knowledge to make educated and pivotal decisions about our own athletic endeavors, regardless of what our training plan looks like. As a Physical Education teacher, I feel like I have the best exposure to professional development imaginable, and in turn, my students become active participants and advocates of their own health. As an athlete, I am so fortunate to be able to embrace all aspects of my training at a place like The Club. I really am forever grateful for all of your support as I continue my exciting journey in the World of Xterra!