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2- Well, well, well, if it isn't myself looking back at me (Who am I)

Updated: Nov 18, 2021

(I am the queen of bathroom mirror selfies.)

"But first, lemme take a selfie"

I took this picture in a hotel bathroom in Portland ME. I had just finished my Olympic Triathlon. An Olympic triathlon consist of three parts, the swim (1500m (1 mile))) bike ride (40km(26ish miles)), and a run (10km (6.2)).

(Swim: averaged 38 minutes for a mile)

(Bike: averaged 23.9mph)

(Run: averaged 7:57/mile)

Needless to say, I have always been a fan of the extreme. I ran my first marathon when I was 19 and placed third ( in Appleton, WI. *Secret* I only placed third because there were only 3 women running in my age category (HEHEHE). I ran my second marathon in White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

While I was in the army, I was slotted for Combat Swimmer's course in Spilt Croatia. I love Croatia. If you ever get a chance, go visit! It's a must.

(Pictured: Maria, Me, and Marko in Spilt Croatia)

I started riding a bicycle in 2019. I was bored. I lived in Oklahoma City, OK. I had just moved from Cartersville GA where I had friends and ample opportunity for a social life. I was gaining weight from sitting behind a computer screen filling out excel spreadsheets and I needed a lifestyle change. *Insert Pat (aka my now husband)*

Like I said, I was bored and looking to ride a bicycle. I had always been interested, and had bought a few bicycles from Walmart and garage sales. However, I need things to be extreme, so I set my goal. I would ride 100 miles in Texas at an event called, "Hotter than Hell." Keep in mind, I had never ridden more than 2 miles on a bike and the race was in 5 months. Seems impossible right?! The only things that are impossible are set by the limits of your imagination.

I had asked a few people around the office if they knew anything about cycling. They all pointed me towards Pat.

Now Pat is a 6 foot, 3 inch tall man with sparkly brown eyes, and a cute smile. And I am 5'5" in the morning. He also was the lead mechanic for the biggest pieces of machinery I had ever seen. Needless to say I was slightly intimidated, when I craned my neck to look up at him and ask, "Hey man, can you teach me how to ride a bicycle? I want to ride in the 100 mile race in Texas in 5 months." Pat looked at me and said, "Well we better start training now."

Pat was the first person to believe in me when all the odds where stacked against my favor. He saw that I was capable of accomplishing my goals. Every single other male cyclist I told my goals too, said, "its not going to happen for you this year."

Guess what. I rode Hotter than Hell in Texas. I averaged 21.9mph (I drafted most of it) for 100 miles. I lost 30lbs. I gained a whole new perspective on life. Most importantly, I met the love of my life. The one person who believes in me even when I have my own doubts. The person who sees me for my sense of adventure and my curiosity for life. The one person who I would stop dead in my tracks for to put their needs first.

This is Pat. And he is my best friend. It takes a special kind of person you can ride thousands of miles with and never get bored of being with them.

(Natural hot springs in New Mexico)

We went from riding bicycles, to camping, to back packing. Pat said once a few years ago, "We will probably run out of things to talk about." Boy was he wrong! There is something amazing about being able to share your day with someone, let alone an epic hike or bike ride! We laugh about the past, make plans for the future, and never miss an opportunity to try a new coffee shop.

Until the next story!


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