1. How did you get involved with Team Drea?
I had the honor of supporting Shaw Hipsher, an also-inspiring existing Team Dream member, dear friend, and fellow Davidson College alum, in Summer 2015, for a 70.3 Half-Ironman (her first triathlon ever!). She brought an extra bike for me to ride so I could meet her in various places to cheer her on (I must have looked hilarious, I hadn’t been on a bike in AGES). I even got to run alongside her for a short while. When the email came around in January 2016 to join Team Drea, I dismissed it immediately and said “I don’t have time for it,” and walked away. But, literally a moment later, I remembered how excited I was just to spectate, and said, “I should totally do this!” I had been craving something to focus on that was OUTSIDE of myself and my insecurities, something that honors others. This was IT!
2. What is your challenge race?
My initial challenge race was the Monument Avenue 10k in Richmond, VA in April of this year. Some people tell me this was ambitious, given that I had never run for sport in my adolescent or adult life (I had actually loathed running. It feels a little shameful to admit that, these days). But it’s just how my brain works: If a 5k is a good goal, then a 10k must be a better one! It was SO MUCH FUN – Richmond is a kind of “home” for me, and there was lots of live music and a costume contest. Once it was done, I felt the itch (not-so-subtly encouraged by Team Drea) and added another challenge race to my goals: The Ramblin’ Rose Chapel Hill triathlon in October. I have to learn how to swim and bike in less than 3 months! Because if a 10k was a good goal, a triathlon must be a better one!
3. What have you learned about yourself as you’ve been training?
I am mentally, emotionally, and physically capable of endurance sport. With Team Drea and ALS.net to work toward, I set the quote about “running because I can” as the wallpaper on my phone (still there), and BECAME an athlete (despite my original belief that I wasn’t capable). I learned that I’m not a quitter, and that pushing yourself physically can be an act of honoring those who can’t and wish they could. That, right there? TRANSFORMATIVE.
4. What does Felix think about all your training?
As a three-year-old, he just thinks it’s awesome when I want to take him for a run in the jogging stroller that we borrowed from a friend for my training (DAMN, that’s hard work). He even suggests it some mornings. He doesn’t seem to get the whole concept, but he does frequently tell me he “wants to run for exercise,” or that “exercise is important.”
5. Tell us about your tattoos
Somehow, magically, Andrea and I were getting our very first tattoos within days of each other, in different parts of the state. I think of tattoos as a good way to mark transformations. My first was three constellations on my left hip/belly to signify myself, my partner, and my son because their presence in my life has made me a different, and better, person.
In her blog post about her new gorgeous “swallow-ish doves,” Andrea mentioned Tim LaFollette and how friends and strangers got tattooed to show support for him – I was resolute to have a bird of my own: On my bicep for strength, to honor Andrea and her amazing courage, to signify my membership in Team Drea, to remind me to “be brave,” and to give me a good conversation starter to raise awareness about ALS and the need for research for a cure. Just a couple of weeks after my first tattoo, I snagged a walk-in appointment (I think the universe made sure it was available for me) with my amazing tattoo artist Chris at Red Rabbit Tattoo in Asheville, NC.
Support Jody’s journey towards her first triathlon here!