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My Ironman Journey: Next Stop, Mont-Tremblant

We all have something that we are really passionate about, something that makes us feel complete and full of life no matter what. It’s something we look forward to and enjoy above all else. Chances are, that “something” is the source of some of your proudest moments. For me, at this point in my life, it’s my dedication to the sport of triathlon and what being an athlete has allowed me to accomplish.

Let me explain. My journey  as a runner started many years ago, which led me to my passion for coaching and helping others. That passion led to a career as a health coach, where I get to help change the lives of people every day. If you ask me, my passion has led to the most fulfilling opportunity possible: helping someone else.

Coach Mandy's IronMan Journey, take 2

Fast forward to last year, when I finished Ironman Louisville. I can say for certain that my life changed forever. Crossing the finish line was years in the making for me — and it was amazing. I can still close my eyes and feel every moment of that race. It was the hardest thing I have ever mentally and physically accomplished, and yet I wanted to do it again.

Everyone knows of the Ironman triathlon, and a lot of people make a big deal about anyone who has completed the rigorous 140.6-mile race — so I decided to use that to my advantage. I want to use the sport to bring about awareness and support for a cause that is close and important to me: cancer. I joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training  (TNT) as a member of Ironteam in honor of my cousin’s daughter Ava, who fought through her battle with leukemia.

Cancer is a disease that knows no boundaries of class, ethnicity, or gender. It affects us all at some point in our lives. The funds raised through my TNT journey are used for research, education, and advocacy. I believe so much in those resources because they are the same ones that my family used just 10 years ago when we found out my mom had cancer. We called on them again when Ava had leukemia, and those resources and research advancements may have saved her life. At 6 years old, she now has many years to live and a life full of joy ahead of her.

This Sunday I will race in Ironman Mont-Tremblant and over the past eight months have raised $6,041 with the help of friends, family, and complete strangers. You would have to look far and wide to find someone who has not been affected by cancer, so it’s been inspiring to hear people’s stories and how they have honored their loved ones.

On Sunday I will be racing with the names of 38 heroes given to me to honor in my race. I am so proud to be able to take their courage, energy, and spirit with me every mile of the way. Like I have said before, we all have an Ironman within us. Go get yours today!