Gabbi has been training and racing for multi-sport and endurance events since 2016. Since then, she has completed close to thirty triathlons, running events and distance open water swims. Her accomplishments span from sprint distance triathlons and 5k’s through IRONMAN.
Gabbi joined the AME team early 2021. Her greatest goal this year was to complete her first IRONMAN, IRONMAN Maryland, which she just completed a few weeks ago! Throughout the year, she also completed, PR’d and/or placed in her age group in four other events, including two triathlons, a one-mile open water swim and a century ride.
Growing up, Gabbi was a competitive swimmer. With swimming her strongest leg, her goals for this year also included building speed and endurance on the bike and run while continuing to build and improve in the swim. She nailed her goals for this year, increasing her speed and endurance in all three legs of the sport. She hit her greatest milestones from a volume perspective in all three aspects, while building greater confidence and enjoyment in the bike and run. Since February, Gabbi has improved her swim speed threshold by 8%, her bike power threshold by 16% and her run speed threshold by over 5%! For 2022, her goals are to continue to excel, PR and podium at sprint distance triathlons and distance open water swims.
Gabbi is an absolute joy to have on the team. She loves the camaraderie, support, encouragement, and friendships that have stemmed from the AME team and the Wild Harbor Triathlon Club. She has a beautiful family with her incredibly supportive husband and pup, Luca.
We are THRILLED Gabbi chose AME to share in her journey!
What got you into triathlon and endurance events?
When I turned 30, I was having a bit of a mid-life crisis. I decided to create a "30 before 31" bucket list. A list of 30 things I could do before my next birthday that would celebrate this time in my life and lead me on an adventure. The list was a bit schizophrenic in the sense that it had a huge range of items: reading, cooking etc... One of the items on my list was to "do a triathlon" and I signed up for TriAC. At the time, I didn't know if I could bike ten miles let alone run a 5K after. I had never been an "athlete" so to speak. I had so much anxiety leading into the training and race, I was terrified. One night, while watching the news I saw a segment on "things to do at the shore", and there was Val, Maggie & Lisa talking about the "Wild Harbor Triathlon Club". I signed up for their "Mock Triathlon" and that was it. I was hooked! Their kindness, energy and spirit was what drew me in and I knew I had found my tribe. I joined the club soon after and they helped push me to the finish line at TriAC that summer. Triathlon has made me broke ever since.
What is your favorite event and why?
TriAC by far. There's a little bit of nostalgia there since it was my first race. I also love swimming, biking and running through the city, seeing the characters on the boardwalk and finishing with such a rowdy crowd. The fast/flat course also is a plus.
What about triathlon and endurance sport brings you the most joy?
I love the people. This sounds silly since it's a very individual sport, but it allows me to have friends and meet others who I would never otherwise have the opportunity to. Through triathlon, I have made friends that were older, younger, of different backgrounds and have different political or religious views than my own. Without them, I wouldn't have the well-rounded view of the world that I do now. Without them, I wouldn't be able to race as fiercy. Without them, the sport would be flat out BORING. Coming into transition and seeing old friends, greeting each other, cheering each other on and celebrating at the finish line makes all the hours of training and sometimes the loneliness that comes with that training worth it. The people make triathlon joyful.
Now that you have completed your first IRONMAN, what next event finish line would mean the most to you?
Nothing will beat the finish at IRONMAN Maryland, but I think getting back to sprint tris and being able to be a little more competitive in my age group will mean a lot as we head into 2022. I'm also very much looking forward to having a little fun at the Key West Triathlon in December (beer in my bike bottles? Maybe!).
What has been the most valuable takeaway from your training so far?
I have two - 1. Progress is progress, no matter how small or large. It is so hard when we are "in it" to see the big picture. This is something that I struggled with tremendously at the beginning of IRONMAN training. I would get frustrated when I couldn't see or feel progress in the big strides the way I was used to. There's progress being made every time we head to the pool, go out for a ride or hit the pavement for a run. As they say "There's no such thing as a bad workout". This is why it's so important to keep track of workouts and reflect back on them every so often. Thinking back to that first Sprint TriAC then to last weekend at IRONMAN Maryland, I am so proud of how much progress I've made. 2. Don't be so hard on yourself. Give yourself some grace every once in a while. Triathletes tend to be type-A (guilty!) and giving ourselves a break is never the first solution for many of us. I've had to learn that some days things just go wrong, and slowing down and taking a timeout is alright and won't destroy our fitness. This mentality got me to the finish line in Maryland. Forward progress is progress no matter how slow or small.
Pick your pain, another 2.4 mile jellyfish swim or realizing you ran off course and added an extra half a mile during an IRONMAN run?
I'll take those jellyfish ANYDAY! After 26.2 miles running/walking and crawling there's no way I'm going another step!
What is one thing you want people to know about you?
Get ready for a 76ers reference: Trust the Process. It may hurt, it may be exhausting, but there's a reason for some of the crazy workouts we are given. When I first started with Coach Ashley, I thought she may be trying to kill me with some of the speed workouts she was programming, (we all know how much I "LOVE" the run). I had to really change my mindset and relinquish some control when it came to training and trust that there was a plan in place to get me to the finish line, even if I couldn't see it at all times. IRONMAN training takes sacrifice and grit, committing to the process is the first step. Tri On!