We all start somewhere.
We all have a journey that creates us into the individuals that we are today and ultimately, tomorrow. I didn't just wake up one day with no athletic history and decide to try a Spartan Beast or hike a 14er.
My journey to who I am today is far more complicated than that. Years ago if you told me the feats I've accomplished, I would've called you a liar. "I'm not capable of doing that," my 18 year old self would've said and little did I know then.
It all started in High School. My entire life I grew up playing town sports, club soccer, and the like. In high school, I was a four sport athlete. I played soccer, volleyball, basketball, and track & field. I played all of these sports at the Varsity level and won many Sectional championships.
In 2012, I won the NYS Track & Field 4x100m Relay State Championships. I by the end of my high school career held 6 school records. I was the captain of most of my teams and started all games. I was by definition a team sport athlete. I learned discipline, hustle, and team work. I learned how to lead and strive for greatness. This is where my foundation began.
By nature I have always been extremely competitive. People used to "bully" me asking me why I "had to be so good at everything." They also asked, "why do you care so much?" I was viewed as the cool gym class hero and you wanna know what? I couldn't care less. I'm so glad that people tried to bring me down during these years because I wouldn't have become the woman I am today.
During high school is also when I started playing basically Men's Flag Football. It was through the city and each team needed one girl on the field at all times. I've always had an interest in football, but being a girl made that not a reality for me. Finally I was able to see what I could do, in a more controlled setting. I played against straight up men and they sure didn't take it easy. Guess what though? As a woman I dominated. Being guarded by the other team's girl I was able to use my speed and agility to score. I played flag for 6 years before I had to quit to dedicate my time to collegiate sports.
The last two years of high school are all about what college you want to attend. I had my eyes set on an athletic scholarship and fortunately I was able to land one. In the fall of 2016, I attended Bentley University in Waltham, MA. It was a DIV. II school and I ran track & field there. I had landed records on the All-Time Performance lists before I decided to change my life and give up my scholarship. This was the turning point in my life and without this decision I wouldn't be writing to you now.
I hated the city and yearned for the mountains. Surprisingly enough, I hiked my first mountain in 2014 and if you're trying to do the math, that means I've only been hiking for 5 years. However, once I had a taste for the mountains I knew I had to go back.
Reluctantly I went back to school in my hometown at SUNY Plattsburgh. It was a school I told myself I would never go to because it was where I lived. I learned a lot from graduating here and embracing humility. One of my favorite quotes from my father directly relates to what I experienced here, "it's better to be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in the ocean." Here at Plattsburgh, I was swimming in a smaller pond and I loved it.
I decided to run for SUNY on the track team and ended up becoming a school record holder and a 5x ECAC medalist. I ran in the 4x1, long jumped, triple jumped, ran short sprints, and threw javelin. I graduated Cum Laude, in the Alpha Mu Alpha Athletic Honor Society and Top 10% in my major. I never would've been able to hold these titles at a more challenging school, which is why I was grateful to have attended SUNY Plattsburgh.
During this time is when I began to dive into beach volleyball. If you remember I played Varsity Volleyball in high school and absolutely loved it. I wanted to continue the sport and beach volleyball happened to be my niche. My friend Grace and I soon later become 2x EVP Pro Am Beach volleyball medalists.
I decided that after one year of track at Plattsburgh that I wanted to dedicate my final year to adventure. I started hiking all the time during school and that summer after in the Adirondacks. During this time I was able to complete:
Hiking challenges are very popular where I'm from and nothing like a patch motivated me more. There are three more challenges left on my list back home and I plan on finishing them this fall and those are:
- ADK 46ers (35/46 currently)
- Firetower Challenge (20/25 currently)
- Lake George 12ster (1/12 currently)
This will be no small feat so stay tuned on my instagram! Up until today, I have currently climbed 115 different mountains.
SKIING: I want to divert the timeline a bit to share my outdoors background, since it doesn't fit as nicely into the beginning story. When I was 4 years old that I learned how to ski. It was at the smallest ski area near my house called Beartown Ski Area. I was on the ski team there for a few years, which is where I learned my foundation to skiing. Up until two years ago after ski team, I only went skiing a handful of times a year. In 2017-18, I skied 52 days and 2018-2019 I skied 84 days. My ski ability sky rocketed and it only did because I dedicated time and had a lack of fear. I also taught myself to snowboard, but never fully pursued it.
CAMPING: I have been camping every single year since I was born at Fish Creek Pond Campground. My dad has taught me wilderness skills that I've carried on throughout the years. Without him, I would just be another tourist rolling around in the dirt.
BOAT: My dad also taught me how to canoe when I was younger and to also man an outboard motor in our trusty Tin Rocket. I've also been kayaking since I was in high school and learned to SUP a few years ago.
My last year of college was when was I got into the sport of Crossfit. I came across the Crossfit games and immediately became addicted to Olympic Weight Lifting. I had some experience with this type of lifting through track, but never dove fully into it. Since then I have competed in three competitions and have set the following personal records:
- Power Clean: 190 lbs.
- Deadlift: 285 lbs.
- Power/Squat Snatch: 125 lbs.
- Bench: 138 lbs.
- Squat: Unknown surprisingly (around 250ish lbs.)
- Clean & Jerk: 175 lbs.
Crossfit is now how I train for OCR and my other athletic pursuits. I love being ready for anything and crossfit does just that. I train at one of the highest crossfit gyms in the country, Crossfit Low Oxygen at 9,075 feet.
Obstacle Course Racing: Spartan Racing
Spartan races caught my eye quite a while ago, but I never thought I was capable of doing them. In 2015, I took the leap and did a Sprint at Fenway Stadium. I did well, but woke up the next day with a 104 degree fever. Despite my illness I was hooked.
Flash forward to now I've ran 13 obstacle course races:
- 2015 Spartan Sprint
- 2016 Spartan Sprint & Rockeater Race
- 2017 Spartan Super, Spartan Sprint, Spartan Beast
- 2018 Spartan Sprint, Spartan Super, Spartan Beast, North American OCR Championships
- 2019 Spartan Sprint
- 2018 Killington Spartan Beast (1st Open)
- 2018 North American OCR Championships (4th no bracelet)
- 2019 Fort Carson Spartan Sprint (2nd Competitive Podium)
That leaves me at present day. I could sit here and tell you all the things I want to do and will accomplish, but honestly? I have no idea. I never would've guessed I would have accomplished what I did above, but I did it. Piece of advice, set goals. Seems too simple huh?
All of my accomplishments above happened because I wanted them and set a goal to achieve them. I have a Spartan Beast this weekend in Aspen and I want to walk away with a goal medal. Don't settle with finishing, strive for the second medal.
Sometimes goals seem far away, all the ones above did to me too, but the most important thing is to think about what you can do today to get there someday. Feel inspired by my journey? Make a list of things you want to accomplish within the next few years. The make a list of things you can do now to get there. It's all about perseverance.
Final note, if you're wondering more specifically how long this has taken me. I'm 23 years old. Think on that.
If you connected with my story, follow along on instagram to continue watching and see how my journey pans out!