In this episode I bring you a very strong woman who I am fortunate to call a friend. Finding herself diminished in a romantic relationship and close to 300lbs not so many years ago, Leslie fell into a mindset of low self esteem and self-sabotage. She shares her story of lifting herself out of the darkness and after only a few visits to the gym, signing up for her first half marathon. Questioned by the registrant, who thought for sure she meant to sign up for the 5k distance, Leslie encountered her first of many subtle prejudice-like speed bumps about her size and athletic capabilities. She brings a unique perspective based on her experience as a competitive and much decorated triathlete and duathlete who races in the athena category (women weighing 165lbs or more).
Deemed in the multi-sport community as an athena advocate, Leslie is the founder of the Athena Triathletes 1,300+ member facebook group. A social network family she describes as her “soul”. She is beyond dedicated, competitive, intelligent and beautiful inside and out. Despite being a compact version of her previous self she shares openly about her inability to always believe in herself and what she often sees when she looks in the mirror.
Leslie is the epitome of athena strong, having taken the overall win at several events and describes moments when others have lashed out at their disagreement that an athena should be able to take the win. Crazy? We agree. Leslie simply says, don’t rule us out. This conversation shines light on the inequities that exist between traditional age group divisions and athena/clydesdale (the men’s version of athena racing). Leslie recounts several stories from national championships to her first overall win that exhibit the mindset that athena’s are often “counted out”. I’m so grateful to have shared in this discussion and have walked away with a new understanding of what athena and clydesdale competitors may encounter in their training and racing. I have also learned just how athena strong Leslie is at racing and living her life. She is a true inspiration for so many, a community builder and catalyst for change. We are so honored to have her as a member of the YT tribe.
I hope you enjoy this conversation, I certainly did. Keep sending the feedback, comments and questions for future episodes.
Ride the high vibe!
Episode 4 – Show Notes
Amy Rice – Leslie’s coach
Dave Finelli – Leslie’s nutrition coach