I have always been an avid athlete, fueled by competition and proving to myself what I am capable of. My mom likes to remind me that even at the age of 8 years old, when turned down from a travel soccer team, I responded with, I hear there’s another team having tryouts tomorrow. I was always determined, which has been a theme throughout my life. When something knocks you down, get back up and find the next opportunity.
Sports were always my favorite outlet to let off steam, socialize, have fun and compete. I played an array of sports growing up and it was a large part of my identity. I eventually ended up dedicating myself to playing soccer as a goalkeeper and was ultimately recruited to play in college, which was my dream (at the time). Post-college I continued playing various recreational sports and even competitive soccer in New York City. During a game in my Women’s League at the end 2019, I was slide-tackled on my left knee resulting in a tear to my MCL and meniscus. I eventually had surgery to remove part of my meniscus that wouldn’t recover when elective surgeries reopened in 2020.
When I was recovering from my injury it was the peak of the pandemic, so I focused a lot of my time on physical therapy and coming back stronger. At first this was enough, get back my health and strength, but I was lacking a real goal for motivation. Since I had been biking and swimming as a way to recover, I decided to sign up for my first real triathlon to have something tangible to train for. I signed up for the NJ State Triathlon in 2021 with the goal of competing in something new and checking off a box on a bucket list.
As the race began to approach my competitive side came out. I wanted to figure out everything I could so that I could really compete, as much as a beginner can, so I started doing as much research as possible. With the help of google, friends who had raced before, and my borrowed gear, I was ready. I also decided I should be able to come in the top 10 in my age group, which some laughed at, but I was determined.
The result was way better than I thought, coming in 4th in my age group, but 3rd in the NJ State Championship. I was on such a high. Not only did my results fuel me, but the overall experience was amazing. I had no idea what the triathlon community would be like. Everyone was so welcoming and inclusive. Strangers who heard I was new to the sport started pouring on tips, eager to help out a newbie in any way possible. I didn’t know that such comradery was possible outside of a team sport.
I immediately began searching for more races that summer learning I had the potential to qualify for Nationals and receive a national ranking. I continued to improve and love the races, and even came in 3rd overall at a small race in Delaware. As I gained knowledge, I loved meeting new people at races and sharing whatever I could with them, paying it forward.
Next if I was really being serious, I needed to get my own gear. It began with a search for something cute, fun, matched my energy, and designed specifically for women. That is how I found Varlo. At first, I was drawn to Varlo for their designs, but as I began to dig deeper what I really loved was their mission. So, I applied to become an ambassador for the 2022 year, not expecting much being as this was my first year in multisport, but I was selected. The dream was getting bigger!
I had an amazing first year on the team, and I’m not looking back! I am so impressed with Varlo as a company and the Ambassador team. Not only do they have a mission to be inclusive, make inclusive gear, empower all athletes, they show up and actually do these things! Everyone feels like an important part of the team and this has become my family. I can’t thank Varlo enough for providing this community and allowing me to be an integral part of it. I’m excited to see what they and WE do next. Looking forward to 2023!
In addition to my ambassadorship with Varlo I am hoping to expand my reach and continue to help others and the sport by being a USAT Foundation Ambassador and racing with Team USA in the Sprint World Championships.
It has always been a goal of mine to help make health and wellness accessible to everyone especially children and young adults. I am hoping to use my positions and platform to expand the access of multisport to younger generations.
My advice to a new triathlete would consist of two things that kind of go hand-in-hand.
First being, ask questions! There is a lot to learn if you’re coming into the sport new. I had so many questions I didn’t even know where to start. You can start by googling, when preparing for your first race. For instance, I didn’t understand what transition was before my first race. I was thinking okay well where does your bike go when you’re swimming and running and how do I find my shoes? This led me down a rabbit hole, but eventually I understood what a transition area was at a high level. But there is only so much you can learn from reading things online, which brings me to my second part of the advice, find a community. Even if you start by finding just one person who has done a race before to help you fill in the blanks, their experience can be invaluable. You can take it a step further and look for a local team to train with, learn from, and socialize. I was able to find my local team, Team Zebra easily through a quick search of teams in my area on the USAT website, and shocked to find a team in my own sleepy beach town! I learned so much from this team and everyone was eager to help me reach my potential. And I have had the same experience after joining Team Varlo, everyone is happy to share knowledge and help each other grow.
Follow Lexi on Instagram @djlexing