About 8 months ago I was introduced to Angela Naeth, founder of the IRaceLikeAGirl team and professional triathlete, during an indoor cycling time trial series. Within the first few moments of meeting her I was immediately captivated by her talent, attitude, and smile. While we were talking after finishing the time trial I learned that she was a sub 9-hour Ironman finisher and Ironman North American Champion. I was impressed and excited to know that there was someone of her caliber who was local and rode at the same studio. The fact that I was able to edge her out during the time trial gave me a boost of confidence that I was making progress with my own training and was starting to have the strength to compete with some of the best in the triathlon world.
After that first encounter I learned more about who she was and what she was all about. It turned out that she had recently launched the IRaceLikeAGirl triathlon team aimed at empowering women through triathlon. Members of the IRLAG team race and train in some of the most eye catching triathlon kits I have ever seen! They sport vibrant colors and a bold neon backed slogan making the statement “I Race Like A Girl” incredibly loud and clear. When you see the kits, you immediately understand the message that Angela’s team is sharing.
As a regular competitor in triathlon events I can definitely say that the sport provides opportunities for every person to be healthy and happy. The combination of three already impressive events, the discipline required to train for each, or the skin tight outfits we sweat in all day develop a sense of empowerment and self confidence. I think Angela and her team are doing an incredible job sharing that message all over the world.
One of the many events that Angela and the IRaceLikeAGirl team organize to help their share their message and prepare the team’s athletes for their events is a monthly challenge. For the month of August the challenge was to cycle 250 miles. I thought that it would be a great opportunity and motivation for Hannah to continue her recovery from a second torn ACL on the same leg in back-to-back years. After some convincing we both signed up for the challenge and started pedaling the miles away together.
Over the course of the next 31 days in August we spent a lot of time together trying to squeeze in as many miles as we could. One of our favorite parts of the journey was planning routes around the area of our new house. Some of these routes got us into unexpected areas and going down very poorly maintained roads, but they all lead to entertaining stories. Along the way there were days that were more difficult than others, flat tires and tears but for the most part it was all smiles. By the end of the month Hannah had managed to cover 274 miles and I had ridden a few extra to get me to 346 miles. I was grateful to be able to spend the time together and see Hannah make significant progress throughout her rehab. You can count on us signing up for this one again!