Before I begin blogging, I want people to know a little bit more about my background-
I was born and raised in Nacogdoches, which is a very small town in East Texas. It is home of Stephen F. Austin (SFA) and it is the oldest town in Texas- we take great pride in our town, Axe ’em Jacks! I have two older brothers, Kyle and Ryan, and a sister-in-law, Becky, who I pretty much call my sister since she has been in my life since I was 13 years old. It was actually her crazy idea to get me to sign up for our first triathlon in 2007! (She ended up beating me only because she baked me a box of chocolate fudgies the day before the race)! I started playing sports as soon as I was old enough to register- I wanted to be just like my brothers. Soccer was always my favorite, even though my Mom wanted me to be a ballerina. I took swim team, dance, tennis, basketball, volleyball, pretty much anything and everything! In high school, I continued on to play soccer and dance until college. Below is my High School graduation picture. Next to it is Becky and I after finishing Ironman Texas in 2011! IMTX was my very first Ironman- I completed it in 12 hours and 55 minutes, when I was 22 years old!
In 2005 I was named Heritage Festival Queen of Nacogdoches. It was quite an honor and I know I made my Mom proud! You see, my Mom passed away when I was 15 years old from a brain tumor. My mother was always the woman who knew and believed in my potential to accomplish great things. My willingness and inspiration to compete in triathlons stems from her memory and her never-ending quote to me, “No pain, No gain.”
Pictured Above- Heritage Festival Coronation, Receiving the crown; My Mom and I after a soccer game on Mother’s Day; My Dad and I beginning the Tennessee Waltz as my first dance as Queen.
After graduating high school, I attended the University of Mississippi- best college ever, HOTTY TODDY- where I was Pre-Med. After a year of being away from my family and many heart-to-heart talks with both my Dad and brothers, I decided to switch over to Nursing and was accepted into the University of Texas Medical Branch(UTMB) to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. UTMB is a special place for our family, as my Dad and two brothers both went there for their MD and my Mom for her Nursing Degree as well. Little did I know it was just the beginning! At UTMB I met my future Husband, John, where we clicked instantly. We were married in Grand Cayman a year and a half later then set off to Knoxville, TN where he matched into General Surgery Residency the following week! It was a very busy time in our life but we just went with it! We have two adorable dogs, Layla a Golden Retriever and a rescue dog named Annabel who is a German Shorthair Pointer. I currently work at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital and absolutely love what I do! I train daily with the local triathlon club here and couldn’t ask for better people to train with- inside and out!! I truly am blessed!
My Family- No one believes me when I say I’m the “shortest” in the family! (Minus my sister-in-law, pictured far right)
I have such a great support system with family and friends always encouraging me to do my best both in and out of triathlons. With this season winding down, I am looking onward to a fantastic next year and can’t wait to see what God has in store!
Me, Layla, and Annabel