Today, I want to share with you someone who is one of the most motivated, inspiring, giving people I know. I’m not just say that. This woman gives her time, her energy and her love… and she means well by it. She’s also one of the most real people I know- she won’t pretty something up if it just sucks- it’s the straight truth from her and I’ve grown to respect and appreciate her so much over the past few years. She recently accepted the position of Executive Director for Back on My Feet Indianapolis and I can’t wait to see how this is going to positively impact the organization here in Indy. Meet Chrissy Vasquez:
Why did you start running?
My friend called and said we should do the inaugural 13.1 Miami Beach race in 2010. I chuckled, I figured I would register, not train, pick up my shirt and cheer her on from the beach. I enrolled in a running course and barely made it half a mile before we had to turn around (mile total) because my legs were cramping and I was miserable. I was going to quit but the coach said it gets a little easier every time. Somehow by an act of God I lost 40 pounds and made it to the finish line. I hated miles 1-3, loved 4-9 and hated 10-13.1. When I got to the finish I asked when’s the next race and ended up running a total of 4 half marathons that year. To date I’ve run 13 half marathons
What inspired you to start doing triathlons?
I got sick of only running and decided to try a sprint. In the 2011 season I signed up for 4 sprits and ended the season with an Olympic at the Chicago Tri in Chicago.
Do you have a favorite discipline of the three?
Transition 😉 I really suck at running, my swim is meh, as is my bike. But somehow I keep going out for more.
How do you overcome doubts when the training gets tough?
I think about everyone that told me I couldn’t. I’ll never forget the response I got from a friend when I said I was getting ready to leave for my first half marathon. “YOU’RE going to run a half marathon?” that was accompanied by big eyes and a look out doubt. There’s lots of naysayers out there, I’ve even gotten some hate mail (really, you have nothing better to do??). I just try to focus on the people in my life (and strangers) that support me. I think about how far I’ve come in 4 years; how I thought I would never be doing any of this stuff. I also don’t want to disappoint my blog followers with a post that I quit!
Talk about the friendships and relationships you’ve built through the sport
Omg, the friendships are unbelievable. I didn’t realize how unhealthy some of the relationships were in my life until I started becoming friends with runners and triathletes! It’s been a difficult transition, because it took a long time to feel like I had friends in the sport, for a long time it felt like everyone was an acquaintance. The best way to describe it is you’re leaving one island and swimming to another. Your old friends, the comfortable ones are on the island you’re leaving. The new ones are on the other island. You’re not sure if you should go, but you want to try. It takes some time to get to the other island and get your legs back, but when you do, you realize the new island is a better place for this time in your life.
What triathlons have you done in the past and what do you have lined up
2011 – Carmel, Eagle Creek 1 & 2, Tri Indy, Chicago Tri (Oly)
2012 – Carmel, Muncie Oly, Muncieman (1.8m swim, 39 bike, 9.3 run), Eagle Creek, Ironman Muncie 70.3 (shortened to 37.2 due to heat), Oly Tri Indy, Chicago Tri, Cedar Point 70.3
2013 – Muncie Oly, Ironman Kansas 70.3, Ironman Steelhead 70.3, Cedar Point 70.3 (9/8), Ironman Arizona (11/17)
Why IM Arizona?
It was the first Ironman I cheered at. I have a lot of friend there as I went to school there. My parents live there. Seemed like a fun place to do a full ironman. I figured on the run I can think about all of my college memories and reflect on how much I hated to work out then and now I’m doing an Ironman!
What are your main goals?
To FINISH! I have a goal in my mind, but really, the main goal is to finish before the 17:00:00 on the clock. This off season I want to drop more weight and come back next year ready to kick some ass and claim some podium spots!
What have you learned from the sport?
I’ve learned who I am, what I believe in and what I want. I’m not afraid to admit when I’ve failed, I don’t care what others think about me and I’m willing to put it all out there on my blog (sausageinawetsuit.blogspot.com) for others to read. If I inspire one person to better their health or life, to go after their dream or fuck the naysayers, then it’s been worth it. I know that putting it out there has allowed me to grow. I’m such a different person than I was 18 months ago! I believe in myself and my confidence has improved.
How did your BoMF involvement come about? What do you do and why are you so passionate about it?
I ran into Lindsey and Beth at the Carmel Marathon in 2010. I learned about it and loved the idea of the program. I’m huge into community service and it seemed to pair well with my new found interest in running. I didn’t think of myself as a good enough runner to run on the team 3 days a week (or 1 day a week!) I had a BoMF runner behind me at the half marathon that weekend and I loved how he had a team running with him to keep him encouraged. I later would learn it was Joe, who I became very close to after I got involved.
About a month later Lindsey remembered me and cheered for me at Indy Tri. That made a lasting impression with me that she remembered me all that much later. I ran with the team when Cory, the ranger ran through town. Then I got asked to be the team leader for the newest expansion team in Indy, Team Manchester. While I’m sure Brian knew what he was doing when he asked me, I thought if they believe I can be a team leader and run well enough to run 3 days a week I should give it a shot. Here I am still Team Leader 18 months later and BOMF has made a huge impact on my life.
Most inspiring BoMF moment?
At the Geist half marathon 2 years ago I came up upon one of our BoMF members, Joe and mile 4. He was starting to struggle and I told him to stick with me. He didn’t have any nutrition with him for the race so I shared what I had with him. I ran at a faster pace than him at the time. To that point he had not broken 4 hours in a half yet. He kept with me and didn’t quit and ended up having more than a 30 minute PR. He smiled the entire time and his laugh is forever in my mind. One of my favorite BoMF pictures is us running holding hands at mile 11 for the photographer. I was so inspired by him, he pushed himself that day and not many people would push themselves with a smile.
When I’m struggling in a race, I think of Joe. Joe passed away last summer and I know he’s watching over me during races laughing and smiling and saying “you got this girl.”
Chrissy & Joe finishing the Giest Half Marathon in 2012
Why are you fundraising and what is your big goal?
My official goal is $10,000. My BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is $100 for every mile, so $14,060. I was too chicken to put $14,060 as my official goal and train and keep my job. So I put $10K with the hopes of being able to exceed that and reach the BHAG.
I wanted to make the Ironman about more than me. Triathlon training can be a pretty selfish thing. But you have to rely on so many others around you to get through it. The BoMF team serves as an inspiration to me, when I’m having a hard time getting through a workout, I think about what some of our team members have been through and I push myself. If they can get through some of what they’ve been through, I can get through anything. Fundraising helps me honor those on our team that inspire me.
Help Chrissy meet here BHAG goal — Let’s all pledge to give a donation of $5, $10, $25 or $50 to get her there. Even if everyone reading gave $1, we’d make a big impact. A little is a lot when many people do it. You can donate HERE.
Why do you believe in BoMF?
One of my best friends is a recovering addict. I’ve been to hell and back with him and now have a friendship far greater than I could have ever imagined. Our friendship and his recovery overwhelm me at times in a good way; I just can’t believe how far he’s come. I admire his strength and preservation. Through this relationship I’ve learned so much about addiction and want to help other addicts. I believe this passion, matched with service to others being a core personal value and my love-hate relationship with running makes BoMF the perfect organization for me.
Shoe Size – 8.5-9
Fav music – I’m a Dave Matthews Band groupie. I love all kinds of music with a soft spot for techno/dance, 60’s/70’s rock
Fav thing to do outside of triathlon? Volunteer; I deliver Meals on Wheels and serve on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Indiana and the International Board of Directors for Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity
Fav food – Steak if nothing mattered: brownie batter
PRs? I finally PR’d a 70.3 in Steelhead. I’m still chasing a sub 3:00 half
What are the improvements along the way in your journey that you have seen? Way too many to list. I can actually run, I can ride my bike with clips and not fall off, I now know what about 90% of the items in a multisport store are. The biggest one? My self confidence and self worth is night and day from a few years ago.
Fav quote or inspiring words
I have way too many! You need a lot when all the odds are against you!
-DFS – Don’t F*cking Stop is my motto
-Running slow isn’t a character flaw, quitting is
-There will be haters, doubters, non-believers, and then there will be you, proving them wrong
-Feed your faith and your fear will starve to death
-You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have
-Two things define you, your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything
-Set a goal so big that you can’t achieve it until you grow into the person who can
-I don’t believe you have to be better than everyone else, you have to be better than you ever thought you could be
We are all behind you and cheering for you come race day Chrissy! I’m sure Chrissy is going to write up an emotional, yet hilarious post about her IM Arizona adventure on her blog, sausage in a wetsuit.
Let’s all give Chrissy some encouragement here on the comments!