After that day, we kept in touch off an on. She would become a client of mine and I would see her at the store from time to time (before she left/it closed). We were ultimately reunited through mutual friends. Angi had challenged some friends to race their first triathlon and had helped them with training and I had just reentered the triathlon world after having two kids.
Around that time, Angi and my friend Kelly made plans to bring the NC based nonprofit Tri It For Life to Charleston. There was a real need locally for a women’s only training group to prep first -timers for their race. If only that had been around for my first race! The first time Kelly asked me to help mentor these athletes, I said NO. I was just starting to find a balance with really young kids, a working husband, and my own workout time - there was no room to give to others. Kelly wasn’t ready to let me off the hook. She was determined to bring the group to life and she roped me and several other friends into the group of mentors. Thank goodness for friends who push us outside of our comfort zone. I hesitantly joined in, and have be a part of Tri It For Life Charleston ever since.
Working with Angi on establishing our nonprofit group, finding sponsors, marketing to athletes, and building relationships with our community, I found myself again. I found a drive that had been dormant for years. Working with the new-to-tri athletes, I started to remember what motivated me to attempt the sport years ago and to stay in it. I have loved the highs and lows of starting, growing and serving this group of women.
Meanwhile, Angi recognized another need in our community. The need for an all female triathlon. If we were going to have an all women’s training group, we needed a local race for them to participate in. Our first year of TIFL, the women raced an all female race in Charlotte…but why not have one at home? I remember her starting the process and thinking, “There are SO MANY hurdles! How will it happen?” Luckily, Angi never had that same thought process and she ultimately launched Charleston’s first and only all women’s triathlon even in I’On, Mt. Pleasant - She Tris. I raced the inaugural race along with the athletes I’d mentored for that season, and after that race, I started emceeing the race. When you are so plugged in to an event like that, you can almost share in the racers’ endorphins highs. I lived for those finish line moments and was just as excited for them as any family member might be. I saw and felt the emotion of every lady crossing the finish line.
Finally, in 2018, I gathered up my courage to take the next step. I wanted to be more than a volunteer. I wanted to help make the magic happen. I tried to play it cool and ask Angi if she “needed a partner, and what she would look for”, but on the inside I was saying “please please please need me”. I was fortunate that Angi was at a point with She Tris that she was considering brining on a partner and I checked some of the boxes she needed. I practically sprinted home to tell my husband. Not everyone has the opportunity to step into a role that so perfectly matches their own strengths and goals. I feel so lucky and excited to jump in and grow with She Tris and Angi. We want more women in more cities to experience what the participants in the Charleston area have grown to love and cherish as “their race”. Maybe your city is next!