#1 – Jill of All Trades – Being a Multi-Sport Athlete Keeps Me Balanced
(the article I wrote)
Being active is my lifeblood. Whether I am playing soccer or snowboarding, I welcome every athletic adventure that comes my way. The variety of sports I participate in encourages balance, balance enhances health, and health breeds happiness. And, well, I like being happy. So, how do I do it?
To begin with, I am open to opportunities so that I am ready for them when they arrive. If you embrace the diversity of activities available and find a balance among them, you will likely see that same stability in other areas of your life. Moreover, you will be a healthier athlete and have more fun staying fit than if you feel obligated to force yourself to the gym every day.
Sports have always been a part of my life. I started playing soccer and swimming at the age of four. Soccer instilled a love of cardiovascular exercise and raw athleticism in my soul whereas swimming established the foundation for a strong upper body that has carried through to my adulthood. Around nine years old I began playing basketball, running track, and participating in equestrian events. Basketball brought out the sprinter in me which, when coupled with my soccer playing endurance, only made me better at both games. My love of running also blossomed around this time and has remained a go-to exercise for me throughout my life; nowadays I rarely run on the road, though, since softer trails cause less jarring on the joints. Horseback riding brought a sense of balance, poise, and maturity into my adolescent years. Even from a young age, I was able to transpose the lessons learned in one arena to another, and as I progressed in one physical pastime, I often concurrently grew in another.
In college, I began rock climbing, weight lifting, and USMC training. I started to understand the value of purposely and intelligently training my muscles; I studied fitness for the first time. Because I could not get by with pure athleticism anymore, I had to follow customized lifting schedules and train with very specific goals in mind. The deliberate style of training I developed then has been incorporated into my exercise routines ever since.
After college, I picked up more new sports: yoga, triathlon, Gaelic Football, and Australian Rules Football. During this era, it became clear that over-emphasis on one activity would get me injured. After battling with stress fractures and tendonitis from too much running and hiking, I initially added swimming and cycling as low-impact cardio options; but coupled with my running foundation, I smoothly transitioned into triathlon racing. The events were a blast and brought joy and equilibrium back into my life. To further my injury prevention efforts, I incorporated yoga into my wellness repertoire. After decades of high-impact activities, yoga provided the flexibility to my hips, knees, and back that I desperately needed, essentially acting as my go-to physical therapy.
But athleticism is not always about organized sports. It was my love of the outdoors that led me to wakeboarding, snowboarding, surfing, and mountain-biking which all further emphasized an enjoyable, well-rounded lifestyle. It is easy to get obsessed with the “perfection” of training and lose the truth of health and wellness. My outdoor fun-time reminds me to stay centered in gratitude that my body continues to move the way that it does, and to fully appreciate those occasions.
A lifetime of multi-sport training has kept me healthy, happy, and (mostly) injury free by building balance and bliss into my training routines. The strengths of one hobby often compliment the weaknesses of another; for instance, flexibility from yoga makes me a smoother runner, and aggressiveness from football makes me a tougher soccer player. The enjoyment I find in physical movement permeates all areas of my life. There are endless choices for how to express yourself and challenge your body, as well as your heart and mind. Ultimately, you can create a healthier you by getting outside, trying something new besides just “working out” to build your muscles and your cardiovascular strength, and getting thrilled with all that life has to offer!
#2 – featured as 11 Athletics’ Female Athlete of the Month
Sarah’s Criteria Met for FAM
Completed a triathlon
Currently plays in a sports league
Completed a half marathon
Currently runs less than a 6:30 mile
Can do 11 pull-ups consecutively
Can do 40 squat thrusts in 60 seconds
*for the record, I have surpassed most of these, but these were just the minimums you need to meet to qualify for FAM