My New Journey Has Begun

Since the beginning of 2010 – after I did my first triathlon – my family, friends, colleagues, doormen, neighbors, even random people on the street have heard me talk about my big dreams in this sport and watched as I have (like so many others) dedicated myself to a rigorous training schedule. My desire to compete as a full time professional athlete has all but dominated my existence for the last 18 months.

But a year and a half ago, my talk was also met with a fair amount of unspoken uncertainty. Sure, I trained hard and I dreamed big, but when push came to shove I don’t think I was ready then to dramatically change my life in New York City to REALLY pursue this. I wasn’t ready yet to sell the apartment that I adore and worked so hard to build. I didn’t really want to leave my Investment Banking job that I had dedicated myself tirelessly to for 5 years, where I made a good salary and was afforded some amazing opportunities to work with some of the greatest corporate executives in the world. I was scared to leave my friends. I just wasn’t ready.

But a year later, while I am still certainly nervous about the inherent risk of trying to make being a full time triathlete a successful venture, I am SO excited for this opportunity and for this new chapter in my life.

The last month has been a bit of a whirlwind for me. My apartment is on the market to be sold. I hired a website developer, I did a photo shoot, I’m preparing for a move to California where I can train full time with a special swim coach to improve my god-awful swim. My “talk” is suddenly becoming a reality. Its INSANE! It may be the riskiest venture I have yet to make in my life. But I believe, should I succeed at this, it may also my most rewarding one. And honestly, I can’t wait to face it head on.

This weekend is the Half Ironman World Championships in Las Vegas, Nevada. The best of the best in our sport will come together to compete and aside from Kona, it is the culmination of a lot of hard work over a long period of time for everyone competing. I have high hopes and expectations for myself, yet I am fully aware that the level of talent descending upon Las Vegas is huge, and on any given day, anything can happen. Jessica Smith, a fellow Purplepatcher, has a killer swim (and whom Ironman.com failed to mention as a top contender for the Amateur title). Beth Walsh and Beth Shutt – both awesome runners. Kim Pancoast just won the Amateur Hy-vee 5150 this last weekend. Morgan Anderson has a 1-2 punch of a strong bike and a great run. Any of these girls could step it up and rock this race. It will be exciting to see the outcome – the first time we will all have raced together in the same event. My attitude: Bring it!

Regardless of outcome, I feel very fortunate for this opportunity and the chance to not only compete against, but also develop camaraderie with these women. For people who don’t do triathlons, the dedication and commitment required to balance your life – work, school, training, loved ones, friends, etc – is seemingly insurmountable. And these women all do it and do it with such skill – I am in awe of them all.

Finally, I know for a fact that I would not be where I am right now without the support and encouragement of so many people. It is important to me to recognize them because in a sport that is so individualistic, the backing of friends, family and sponsors is paramount. So this week, my Thank You goes out to Vanessa Piampiano – my sister-in-law. Vanessa has been there for me every step of the way this year. From tweeting for me during races, to rallying the troops to Kona, to driving the car with a baby on board for the photographer as I pedaled my way north of New York City a few weeks ago. Vanessa – thank you so much. You have no idea how much this has meant to me!

So good luck to everyone. And may all our dreams come true!

Xx

Sarah-

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