I Was Down In A Bad Way.
In the summer of 2010, I had initially envisioned having the summer of my life. I had two internships in New York City and was soon to begin my junior year at Penn State University. Then, I received two life changing calls in 10 days time — the first to tell me that my close friend, prom date even, was murdered, and the second was my mother, calling to inform me of her breast cancer diagnosis.
Now you’d think that a long-time dancer and cheerleader, like myself, would be able to maintain good health despite adversity. However, 45 pounds later, I realized firsthand that it didn’t prove to be the case. As it turns out, that hardship changed my lifestyle and health for the worse as I navigated my now turbulent skies on auto pilot. Then, I finally had the opportunity to look not into the grey skies ahead, but rather change my life.
How My Health Journey Started
It was in 2011 when I not only began traveling the world, but I also decided to design a healthy lifestyle for myself. In Spain, I started strength training. While in Ireland, I started running. During my time in Japan, I started swimming. I started biking while pursuing a 2nd graduate degree in Boston, USA. The culmination of these experiences offered me a new perspective on life and my position in sports as a black woman. First, I realized that through my health journey, I could heal and reflect on life’s tribulations to ameliorate my life. Second, I discovered how taking control over my health allowed me to take control over other aspects of my life and emboldened me as a black woman to share my story with my community. Third, I came to find out that overcoming adversity was also oddly appealing to me. Fitness is a true testament to that, but more so is triathlon.
Triathlon Becomes Real For Me
Fast forward to 2017, my YouTube binge began! I started watching videos about this new sport that none of my friends had ever done, let alone even knew existed! Videos of the Ironman triathlon came across my screen and I was hooked. One day I was standing in my living room talking to my friend on the phone questioning… ”What if I did an Ironman?” Unbeknownst to either of us in 2017, her response changed my life — “Okay. Do it!”
As a current Ironman Chattanooga trainee, I’m privy to the ebbs and flows of training, yet I am also learning to simply enjoy the journey and be my authentic self throughout the process. I remind myself daily to not get caught up in the details. The lifestyle I’ve built around triathlon, health, wellness and actualizing my highest potential has been a motivating factor towards maintaining discipline.
The power of affirmations eventually became my purpose in life and my business, Actualized AF, where I offer fitness and actualization coaching to women in-person and virtually to help them reach their highest goals and AF(firm) their beliefs about themselves.
Clearly, triathlon has become the forefront of my life and I’m excited to allow other women to actualize their goals in fitness, even if it’s simply demonstrating what they can do through my own journey.