At the beginning of this year we started sponsoring the Squatch team who has been training for their first Ironman! They related to our Find Your Wings motto and we love supporting people who are out there making life happen. Gabriella Auer is a team member and this is her story of how she ‘found her wings’.
Last winter I signed up to swim, bike, and run for a total of 70.3 miles at the end of June this summer. WHY? WHY? someone might ask? Well, to completely answer that question we need to rewind some years.
You should have seen me my freshman year of high school. I remember running the mile and it was SO. HARD. As I lay in the grass after I ran 4 laps around our track I remember someone saying then it wasn’t good to lay down after running the mile. I don’t think I cared. Fast forward 15 years and here I am, an Ironman 70.3 finisher. What? How did I come this far? Am I the same person? Whether you run 10 miles every day or walk for 10 minutes every day, I hope I can inspire and encourage you with my own story.
A few years ago a friend asked me if I would consider running a Half Marathon in San Jose, CA, where I was living at the time. Initially I said no (Why would I run 13.1 miles? And pay to do it?)… but after thinking about it I knew it would be a good challenge for me. So I agreed to do it. After training (and grabbing a lot of free gel packets during the race) I finished it! (And it wasn’t too bad!)
After that race, I ran a full and another half as well. It was hard work training but it was incredible to see what I could accomplish when I was determined! When my boa-clad Dad joined me in the race, someone snapped a shot and we were in the news! (How happy do I look in that picture?!?!) Upon moving to Fort Collins my friend Alex asked me if I would do a triathlon with him in Boulder. Again, my first response was no (because: swimming) but after my friend AJ encouraged me to challenge myself I signed up. I completed my first tri!! After our tri last summer AJ talked about how we were going to do a Half Ironman. My response: who is “we”? I was unsure at first, but after having decided to do it, I am so thankful! It’s been incredible to train, race, and encourage my 7 teammates and friends- the Squatch Team… named after Dr. Squatch Soap! We all completed our first Ironman 70.3 in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho this summer!
We are so thankful for Akinz supporting our team! Akinz is all about finding your wings- what is it that makes you want to go faster, farther, and harder?
For me, mountain biking is another area of outdoor activity where I have really found my wings! It all started on Kesl Run at 18 Road in Fruita, Colorado. I went with friends and borrowed a mountain bike and was HOOKED. Holy cow it was so much fun! Kesl Run makes you feel like you are riding a roller coaster- but on your bike! I could not keep quiet- happy/loud sounds kept coming from my mouth and BOY was I excited. I knew I gotta get into this sport. I purchased my first mountain bike- a Juliana Juno. It’s a full suspension limey green bike that I have had so much fun on. I have ridden in Crested Butte, Fruita, Grand Junction, Fort Collins, and hopefully many more places! On my Juliana I have done an XTerra, short track races, and XC races. It has been such a joy finding my wings.
Now, I’m off to mountain bike race at the Laramie Mountain Bike Series in Laramie, Wyoming!