The adventures of a paratriathlete

Monthly Archives: August 2011

Before I get going, Happy Friday!!! Now on to today’s thoughts:

When its tough to motivate myself to get into the gym to train or more frequently, when a workout gets  grueling halfway through I remind myself that this is only a small part of my day and the training will only make me mentally and physically stronger.

Yesterday’s swim was particularly hard for two reasons. The first reason is that it was the same tough workout I described on Monday- sprints and at race pace. At almost every rest between sets I end up trying to catch my breath. The second reason is that this swim was with Coach Bernard. When I’m in the pool (or track) and the Coach is around I definitely push myself a bit harder to prove that I’m serious about the sport and am putting in the time and effort. Don’t get me wrong, I work hard during all more workouts. I just challenge myself more during a coaching session.  And even though the swim was hard and at points I wanted to ask for 10 extra rest seconds, I didn’t.

You know why?! I was able to push myself to continue through some mental talk. I’m not sure if this is a part of your workout routine but I find myself doing this daily. What am I talking about? I’m referring to self-encouragement and reminders of why you are there and what your workout stands for. For me and my tough swim, I reminded myself how far I had come, where I was going, and how this was only a teeny, tiny part of my day.

Remember how far you have come- 8 weeks ago I was out of breath after at 250 yard swim and now I am swimming longer yardage and at race pace. Every time I get in the pool, I can feel how much stronger I am as a swimmer. Not only am I stronger in the pool but I’m confident in the pool too. I used to freak out when it was a swim day on my schedule because I worried about having to take my leg off in front of all those people and also worried I wouldn’t finish the workout. Yesterday I knew it was going to be hard but I WOULD FINISH!

Remember where you are going- In a few short weeks, I will be in Beijing racing. So I better be pushing myself in that pool. Plus, I have to report back to all of you.

A workout is only what? An hour or two out of your day? I remind myself this constantly and that it is a commitment worth making and finding time for. I think oh please- you think this is hard, didn’t you survive cancer? Stop being a baby. As you can see, I’m a little tough on myself. But I think its a good thing!

Right before the swim start at LA Triathlon Series. After this race, I knew it was time to get serious about my swimming.

Swimming has definitely been the most challenging part of triathlon for me but also the most rewarding. Like I described above, it used to be so daunting to me that I would have to take my leg off at a pool to swim laps. Now I could care less! And that is something that I constantly notice about triathlon’s effect on my daily life- I’m not ashamed of being an amputee anymore. I wear it proud! Woo!

In other exciting news, my wonderful office (USC’s School of International Relations) has put a brief story about me on the School’s website! http://dornsife.usc.edu/sir/news-and-events/

SHOUT OUTS- Fellow amputee who is running a raced a month this year, Jacquelyn Owens; one of the silliest and most supportive friends from high school and college, Leslie Christofferson; Andrew Goldstein; Yang Zong; and my running and healthy living inspiration and dear friend, Shanna Wagnor (aka WagFam4).

If you want to donate, visit http://raceforareason2011.kintera.org/DaniellegoestoWorlds

P.S. Sorry for all of the exclamation points on this blog. I don’t really talk like that  in real life.


I like to live in a dream world when it comes to track workouts. TriFit Multisport sends out an email every week saying what the workout is going to be but I don’t receive it. And I like it this way. Or at least I did… until yesterday. You see, I usually enjoy not knowing what the workout is going to be until I arrive. I honestly think it helps me get out of bed for the workout. Because if I had known what was coming yesterday morning, I might have hidden under the covers.

I’m usually one of the first to arrive to the track and warm up. So there I was jogging a slow half mile to warm up when Audrey (a killer runner- 2 marathons in 3 months!) joins me. She mentions that today’s workout is going to be tough. I inquire. Well, we were going to be doing 2 mile repeats, 3 times. Each mile pace would decrease by 20 seconds. If you are rolling your eyes at me right now thinking this doesn’t sound that hard, then get out there and try it!!! 6 miles on a track is not fun. 6 miles on a track WITHOUT an Ipod to entertain you is even worse. Send me down to the beach for a run and I’ll go for more than 6 miles. But on a track? Ick.

Now, I may be complaining about it here but I did it. And I enjoyed doing it! And I felt accomplished after. There’s that word again: accomplished. That being said, this is why I live in my dream world and show up on Wednesdays to the track without knowing the workout. I love running and the track and knowing the workouts ahead of time might make it less enjoyable for me. I personally don’t want another hurdle to get over when I’m getting out of bed at 5:30 AM and stumbling in the dark to find my prosthetic so I dash to the coffee pot.

See? I love running! I smile the whole through it. Side note: This was my FIRST 5k ever and my good friend, Carolyn, happened to catch me after mile 2 smiling away!

A brief story about me and running- Before I lost my foot to cancer, I ran for exercise. I’d run for 30 minutes after school because it was the “healthy” thing to do but didn’t enjoy it much. I was having pain at this time so that could have had something to do with it. After my foot was amputated, I had heard I would be able to run again some day and was looking forward to it. However, my first two prosthetic legs were uncomfortable and would not allow me to run. I tried though but after a mile was in pain. Trying to run on a walking leg also resulted in cracking below the “toe” area of the prosthetic. Super glue fixed that right up. When I started with my new prosthetic company and received a lighter and better feeling prosthetic, I tried running more. It was more of a run/walk and maybe only 2 times a week but I really enjoyed it. I developed more as a runner during the past 2 years but was still running on my walking leg. I had upped my mileage to around 3. And then I decided to sign up for my first 5k. Because really, all I wanted to do was RUN. Some of my closest friends from Davis (and many of Pi Phi friends) are very into running and since I had never been able to run with them during school, I hoped to be able to do so eventually!

I was so nervous the morning of the 5k I thought I was going to get sick. I thought I had bitten off way more than I could chew and kept worrying that I wasn’t ready to do it. I was thinking about how disappointed I would be if I had to walk at any part of the race. But I reminded myself that this was for fun and to challenge myself so I should try to enjoy it. When that race started I just went for it and of course, my competitive instinct kicked in and I started wanting to pass people. So I did! When I crossed the finish line without walking at any point in the race, I was thrilled! And hey, if I could do run a 5k, I could do a sprint distance triathlon. And here we are today! Running 6 miles around a track on an awesome running leg (thanks to CAF and RGP).

Oh ya- I swam yesterday too. Distance swim which I really enjoyed. Its quick, that’s probably why!

Shout out to the following donors- Milicent and Warren Rathbun; my colleague (and talented singer), Rebecca Rice; fellow Aggie, Danielle Vaticano; and Erin Morgan.

If you’d like to donate, please visit: http://raceforareason2011.kintera.org/DaniellegoestoWorlds

Check back tomorrow for more news on my workouts and PERHAPS a countdown to Beijing. Once again, thanks for following and your continued support!


Rough. That is how I will describe my Monday swim. I mean, Coach Bernard warned me. But CLEARLY I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be. It was tough but I made it through. And you know what the best part of a tough training day is? The feeling of accomplishment after. I still feel accomplished this afternoon, nearly 24 hours later. Also, you want to brag about it. But not everyone wants to hear about your training I have learned. So I try to ZIP IT. But still, that swim made me want to tell the checker at Von’s, “You know what I just did? Oh only the toughest swim of my life.” Let’s be real- he wouldn’t have cared!

I guess what is so exciting about that hard swim is knowing that about 7 weeks ago there was no way I could have done that. I owe a huge thanks to Coach Bernard for the swim help. HUGE!

This morning was my Tuesday brick which consists of spinning at Gina’s 6:30 spin class and then a quick run with a smaller group. I love Gina’s class! It is always a great workout and spinning is what started me on this path, so I always enjoy it.

Proof I am obsessed with spinning- 4.5 Hours on the Bike at CAF's Tour de Cove last year.

I also went to the Chinese consulate this morning to apply for my travel visa for China for the race! Woo! Though the trip to the consulate definitely snapped me into the real world and made me realize how much training I have to do.

Shout-out to those who donated on Monday and Tuesday and catapulted us past the goal- An awesome triathlete from TriFit, Haylen van Koppen; a few ladies that remember me running around my dad’s office back in the day, Kris Anton and Brenda Daly; my wonderful aunt and uncle, Larry and Connie; some awesome friends from Davis and high school, Claire Van Zuiden and Stevie Swanson; my silly roomie, TPED; one of my best friends in THE whole world who I practice my comedy acts for (she laughs at everything- I’m not that funny) and who has encouraged and supported me since the day I met her, Danielle Muniz; and of course, my fantastic handler from my National race (who is also a killer triathlete), Meg Annett!

Meg and I celebrating after. I'm pretty sure within the first 5 minutes of meeting we did a fist pound and we said we were going to be champ!

HUGE MOVES IN FUNDRAISING YESTERDAY AND TODAY! You all helped me reach my goal to get to Beijing! Phew that was fast. I know I keep saying this, but each and every one of you is inspiring me to train harder! I will continue to fundraise for the coming week as there are other costs that I did not include in my initial fundraising goal, so if you are interested in supporting me you can visit: http://raceforareason2011.kintera.org/DaniellegoestoWorlds

 



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