I currently live in Tempe, Arizona; however, I spent the first 14 years of my life in Plymouth, Massachusetts. My freshman year of high school, I moved to Tucson, Arizona. After my sophmore year, I moved again, this time to Newtown, Pennsylvania. After I graduated from high school, I chose to attend Arizona State University in Phoenix, just a few miles to the east of my current home in Tempe. I grew up as a fairly quiet kid, spending most of my time playing either hockey or baseball. I continued with baseball up through my freshman year in college playing for the Arizona State club team. After my baseball career came to an end, I remained active through hiking and regularly going to the gym. I received my undergraduate degree in Exercise Science from Arizona State University in May of 2015 and my Masters degree in Exercise Science from Arizona State University as well in July 2017.
Like anyone else in this world, I have experienced my share of "ups" and "downs." I have had many "highs" and many "lows". Perhaps my lowest moment was a period of time surrounding my sophomore and junior years of undergraduate study. I was attending Arizona State University, was in a fairly serious relationship at the time, had great grades in school, and was active on a regular basis. From the outside, it may have appeared to many that I was completely happy. However, on the inside, this couldn't have been further from the truth. The summer between my sophomore/junior year, my mental health started to go downhill fast. My depression, which I had been battling for a year by now, spiraled out of control and led me to the point of considering suicide.
I don't know if there is one "thing" that led to me becoming depressed, but rather a combination of things, including my self-insecurities, my constant negative self-talk, and a lack of maturity in accepting who I was as a human being. I am a very introverted individual, which was hard for me to accept growing up, and I constantly berated myself with negative self-talk. This all caught up to me and led to that summer between my sophomore/junior year. In late July of 2013, I stood at my kitchen counter with a knife to my chest and an entire bottle of antidepressant pills laid out on the counter. I decided I couldn't deal with the mental suffering that I was enduring on a daily basis and thought it would be better to end my life.
I decided not to end my life that night and, instead, called a crisis hotline number that my psychiatrist had given me. I was taken to the hospital later that night and stayed there for 3 days. Although I didn't realize it at the time, as I lay in my hospital bed each night scared to death that I would never feel what it was like to be truly happy again, I had literally made the most important decision of my life by making that phone call. I had made the decision that completely changed my life forever. It was the first time in my life that I made a conscious decision to rebel against all the negative self-talk, the lack of self-compassion, and all the self-hatred, that I had imposed on myself my entire life.
It's tough to explain to others what it was like for me during this rather dark period of my life. It's not like I seemed any different to most people. I was excelling in just about all areas of my life. However, it was my mental and emotional health that was causing me so much pain. At its worst, it felt like there was this thick cloud of despair and emptiness surrounding me, no matter what I did or where I went. I didn't find joy in anything anymore, and it seemed as if the only way of escaping that agonizing existence was through taking my own life.
After my brief stay in the hospital, I continued to see a psychologist as well as a psychiatrist. I had incredible support from my family and my friends. As the weeks and months passed by, I began to see improvements in my mood and my outlook on life. Although many factors contributed to my recovery, the sport of triathlon has played a central role in shaping me into the person that I am today. I fell into the sport in 2015, my senior year at Arizona State, after I started to commute to school and work by bike. I was looking for something that I was passionate about outside of school and work, and decided to give triathlon a try. I had no prior swimming or biking experience, and very little running experience. Most of the running I had done growing up was playing baseball, and this was limited to nothing more than a few miles at any one given time. Essentially, I was choosing to pick up not one sport, but three sports wrapped into one, in which I was a complete beginner.
As I began to get more serious about the sport, I decided to sign up for an Ironman 70.3 (half-Ironman). I completed my first sprint-distance and Olympic-distance triathlon before finishing my first Ironman 70.3 event in Tempe, Arizona in October 2015. It is interesting to look back at myself at the beginning of my triathlon journey and then as I am today. I feel that I have grown so much as a person thought he sport of triathlon as it was, and continues to be, the most physically and mentally challenging endeavor that I have ever set out on. The journey has forced me to grow not only as an athlete, but in so many other important areas of my life.
Each day I become a little more invested in this sport. I wake up every day with a newfound passion that I had not felt in so long. I have experienced so much positive growth as a human being since I was first diagnosed with depression. Although I have had other important experiences in my life that have facilitated this growth, triathlon has played such a central role in that facilitation.
This all led to the creation of my blog, which I originally titled "TriLife_24/7." I began blogging in May of 2016, my goal simply being to share my triathlon journey and how this journey has shaped, and will continue to shape, my outlook on life. I was eager to share how triathlon has helped me overcome depression and how the lifestyle I had adopted had ignited a passion for continual growth in all areas of my life. Ultimately, I hoped my journey that I shared through blogging would:
encourage others to seek out and to pursue what they are passionate about
instill in others who have experienced depression, or are currently experiencing it, the notion that their experience can serve as a powerful initiator of human growth
empower others to follow a path in which they work towards realizing their highest potential as a human being
provide myself with a positive outlet to creatively express myself as I continue on my journey through life
After about 6 months of blogging on a regular basis, I had the idea to write a book about my journey. I felt that this would be another fantastic way to simply share my story with others. I have since merged my blog and my existing professional website into what it is today, Peak Endurance Solutions. My past has led me to where I am now, in a position to coach and mentor individuals to get the absolute best out of themselves in the pursuit of an athletic endeavor.
I still do, and will always have, daily battles to overcome. Some days are harder than others, but I am becoming better equipped to handle them as I continue to march forward in my journey as a triathlete and a coach. The writing in both my blog and in my book has helped me overcome those challenges and to develop into a stronger person. If I leave a positive, lasting impact on just one person's life, whether it be through my blogging, my book, or my coaching, then I will consider myself successful. I hope you enjoy everything that my story and services have to offer!