Leah DeKalb grew up in Northern California, where she was always immersed in something active: riding horses, playing soccer, baseball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, track, skiing, you name it. She tried a lot of different things, but swimming and biking were never high on the list. She always enjoyed running as a way to maintain mental and physical health and completed her first half marathon in 2014 and her first full marathon in 2015.
In 2015 she started moving around the country with her husband, Jeff DeKalb. Moving has its challenges, but triathlon quickly became a home away from home for Leah. After getting the hang of handling a road bike and being the most epic sherpa for her husband, she realized she had a strong desire to try a tri! However, there was just one problem, she did not think she was capable because she could not swim much more than a few strokes of doggy/froggy paddle.
After mustering up some courage, she took to the pool for some informal lessons from her husband. She remembers being unable to complete one full 25-meter lap on her first go in the pool. Slowly she began to build up some endurance and took the plunge at her first Sprint Triathlon in July 2018. The swim portion at this first race did not go swimmingly, and she remembers telling her in-laws when she got out of the water how awful it was! However, once she crossed the finish line, a flame began to burn within that drew her to come back and “try tri” again.
In 2021, Leah qualified for the USAT National Championships and raced her first Olympic distance tri. This race was a big turning point for Leah, as she would describe being “completely frightened” to toe the line. But after finishing this race, that flicker of a flame began to turn into the glow of a fire, and she began to think, “If I can do this, what else can I challenge myself to do?” This thought is where her @limitlesswithleah Instagram page was born, which was created as a commitment to herself to continue to push past preconceived mental and physical limitations and encourage others to do the same.
In 2022 Leah applied to join Team Varlo, and after joining the team, her journey in triathlon has taken off in the most fulfilling ways. Through the team, Leah feels as if she has become empowered to take on her goals, both on and off the racecourse, and has made countless new relationships and lifelong friendships! In October 2022, Leah crossed the finish line at her first Half Ironman in Waco, TX, and is back and hungry for more this year! One lesson Leah has learned through her journey in Triathlon is that it is about playing the long game; you can’t get too bogged down with the short-term and what’s immediately in front of you. Don’t let one bad workout or an impromptu rest day mess with your head!
Currently, Leah serves as the Captain of the Team Varlo Fun Committee, is a National Ambassador for USAT Foundation, and is sponsored by The Feed. She enjoys building, inspiring, and embracing community in Triathlon and looks forward to connecting with more fellow athletes and conquering the goals of tomorrow with Team Varlo!
Follow Leah on Instagram @limitlesswithleah