"In November of 2002, during my senior year of high school, I received terrible news as a result of a biopsy of an enlarged submandibular lymph node. Hodgkin's Lymphoma at age 17. I spent the next 8 months undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments until my cancer was put into remission. My muscular and endurance systems had taken a massive hit during my treatments but it was nothing compared to the toll cancer took on my confidence.
I had received so much support during my cancer journey that I began to search for a way to give back AND get back what was taken from me. Just after I was diagnosed, my Aunt had gotten involved with an organization called Team in Training (TNT), a charity endurance training program benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. At the time I wasn't too keen on running a marathon or half marathon so I turned my attention to triathlon. I couldn't swim and I owned a bike that was heavier than most cars so it seemed like a natural fit. I spent 4 months training through the Michigan winter during my junior year of college. The training was extremely difficult; I couldn't even run ¼ mile without hyperventilating. As if the cancer wasn't enough, it had given me a case of exercise induced asthma. But I persevered, learning the basics of the swim, bike, run, and the fourth sport, transition!
My first triathlon race was St. Anthony's Olympic Triathlon, a 1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. I completed the race in 2006 and raised more than $3000 for cancer research and patient support in the process. Crossing the finish line at St. Anthony's was the spark that I needed to take control of my life as it reignited my passion for athletics, healthy lifestyles, and self-improvement. Over the next five years I completed a number of triathlons, many with TNT, including a Half-Ironman in New Hampshire and full Ironman in Lake Placid, NY last summer. I also started my coaching career as a Team in Training coach leading hundreds of first-time athletes to complete their first triathlon.
This Fall I'll be celebrating....yes celebrating....my 10 year diagnosis anniversary by racing the Rev3 Anderson Half Ironman. After all, it was cancer that turned me on to the sport of triathlon and it was triathlon that has helped me keep cancer at bay. I continue with the sport today as part of TNT to put an end to blood cancers and to support patients currently going through treatments. TNT and triathlon are the main parts of my healthy and incredibly rewarding lifestyle!"
Have questions for Todd about how to train or complete a triathlon? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org - and yours could be featured in our next newsletter!