On Sunday, June 3rd 2012, I competed at the Blackwater Duathlon National Championships in hopes of qualifying for the World Championships. Here’s what happened:

The night before: I lay atop a lace coverlet at an expensive B&B watching a bad Matthew McConaughey movie on the tiniest flat screen I’d ever seen. I roll to my side for one last look at Jackie (my bike). I close my eyes imagining life on an actual tri bike.

The morning of: It’s 4am. I have an hour until my alarm goes off. I stare at the ceiling wondering why I’m never this alert at this hour on any other day.

The first 10K: I start near the back of the pack. I need to respect my achilles and hamstring injury. My competitors speed away pushing me to the back of the back of the pack. I hear the bullhorn start the next group. Before I know it, I’m being passed by a swarm of old people. No kidding. The geezers scuttle by encouraging me to “hang in there”. I can’t help but laugh. I am in the back of the pack, being outrun and cheered on by senior citizens. I smile. I’m happy that I showed up, happy that my legs are moving, happy to see old people getting it in. [Pace: 8:17 min/mile. Pace before injury: 6:40 min/mile.]

The 70k bike: It’s not 2 miles into the ride when I’m blindsided by ferocious hamstring cramps. I slide my butt to the front of the seat. This relieves the pain but now there’s an insane amount of pressure on my lady parts. I ride in this position until I think about the kids I’d like to have one day. I scoot back. When the hamstring cramps resurface, I scoot forward. I move between these two positions for the next hour. Frustrated, I pull over to adjust my seat. The whiz of the passing riders is deafening. The only sound I hear is the beating of my throbbing crotch. [Pace: 18.3 mph. Anticipated pace: 20 mph]

The 2nd 10k: It is quiet. Most of my competitors have finished. For the first time in my career, I am fighting to finish. I am alone. No one is cheering for me. I’ve never been last, in the back of the pack. The silence is profound. Honestly, it stings. I feel shame. I also realize this is part of my journey. I’m supposed to experience life from this angle. This is necessary for my growth, on a different level. As I cross the finish line, I drop my head, embarrassed. Unexpectedly, I smile. I don’t know why but I do. [Pace: 17 seconds/mile faster than the 1st 10k.]

The results: I finish in 4:07, a far cry from the winner’s blazing 3:10. Still, my placement was high enough to qualify me for the World Championships. My goal is to get healthy and race at a sub 3:30. I plan to compete for Team USA in the best shape of my life.

The lesson: Every moment in life, every person you meet has something to teach you. It’s up to you to learn from it. I did not have a great performance but I learned a great lesson. Work with what you have. Try your hardest, no matter what. Don’t do it for accolades. Don’t do it for acceptance. Don’t do it for approval. Do your best because you owe it to yourself. As God as my witness, there is beauty in the struggle. If you acknowledge this, you will win – every time.

Categories: Fitness


Angel · 06/13/2012 at 4:23 pm

@Quynn, You must do a duathlon. Let’s talk about it. You’d enjoy it!

Quynn · 06/13/2012 at 2:45 pm

Go Angel Go. You can do it. I believe in you. I thhought about doing a duathlon cuz I’m not a swimmer. Maybe I’ll look into one. your my inspiration. WOOOHOOOOOO

Angel · 06/08/2012 at 11:36 pm

@Stephen. I have missed you, homie.

Stephen Anderson · 06/07/2012 at 12:13 pm

I am so sorry to be late with this…I haven’t taken the time to read my emails. But I do want to say congratulations. 🙂 u encourage me every time. 🙂

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 11:34 pm

@Ginny. Amen.

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 11:34 pm

@Joseph. I will accept all that mad love. Thanks.

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 11:33 pm

@Zelda. Thank you, cuz!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 11:33 pm

@PAQ. Yes! That’s what it is about. It’s not about how fast you ran, it’s the fact that you did your first 5k! Congratulations. You are amazing. Always keep moving forward, trying new things, and stepping outside of that comfort zone. There’s much life to live.

Joseph · 06/06/2012 at 11:24 pm

Sending you mad love, my friend. Thanks for sharing this… =)

Ginny · 06/06/2012 at 9:32 pm


Zelda taylor · 06/06/2012 at 9:31 pm

I am proud of you and you are a winner:) KEEP IT MOVING!!!!

PAQ · 06/06/2012 at 5:41 pm

Angel!!! This is why you are so good at what you do- you motivate others and help us who listen and receive be the best we can be . I am so glad you posted this, you can’t begin to know how much I needed to “hear” what I know- but somehow fail to process.. “Do your best because you owe it to yourself.” I actually ran my first 5k “race” this past Saturday, I’m by no means fast and didn’t do as well as I wanted but I kept going and ran my own race and I’m proud of myself for that– and I’m proud of you too “Angel Sto-hone” (that never gets old to me.)

You Rock!!! 🙂

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 3:33 pm

@Jaycee. Yes, that bike crash. It was my one chance and crashed. This is my chance to do it all over again but butter! Love the quote. Thank you, girl!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 3:33 pm

@Lana. So much love for you!

Princess Lana · 06/06/2012 at 3:05 pm

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you rock at everything you set your mind to. That’s why you, my friend, will always be an inspiration. Now let me go read back through these posts to find out what the hell happened to you. Get better, girl!

Jaycee · 06/06/2012 at 3:03 pm

In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an INVINCIBLE summer~ Albert Camus
Remember when u were bangged up pretty bad after your bike crash in the rain at a competition a few years ago. Well you got up, worked harder, competed stronger and now look at you! GO GET THEM!!

Dena · 06/06/2012 at 1:23 pm

You are such a bad ass…bad hammy & achilles can’t stop a bad ass like you! Seriously, you are amazing!! Congratulations on your awesome accomplishment!! Your best is better than mere mortals, you are a bad ass superstar!! LOVUE!!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 1:19 pm

@Badiyah. I’m doing the best I can with what I got. I can’t wait to see what the healthy me does!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 1:19 pm

@Leah. Deep. Thank you!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 1:18 pm

@Jennifer. You were there in the beginning beating on my door to wake me up for 5am rowing practices. Thank you for always being there. I would love to see you when you get back to D.C.!

Leah · 06/06/2012 at 1:12 pm

I don’t know defeat; and chances are we will never meet
in this game of life; my enemies cheat; cause that’t the only way they can compete.
I got goals and with God’s guide, they will be completed
I want to help those who have been denied and mistreated
i look for loyalty in all that I know..a Friend is a Friend and a Foe is a Foe
look up to the strong and outgrow the weak…i know right and i know wrong BUT I DON’T KNOW DEFEAT!!!!

Love ya

Jennifer · 06/06/2012 at 12:42 pm

Angel, what a great recap! I’m in awe of you and your dedication to living such a healthy lifestyle. I’m moving back to the DC area in August/September, and I definitely plan on doing at least one workout with you!

Badiyah · 06/06/2012 at 12:25 pm


Badiyah · 06/06/2012 at 12:25 pm

I’m so proud and even through injury, your a bad mama jamma!!! Eff M Switz!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 12:09 pm

@Sab. Stop trying to make me cry. Luv you, girl!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 12:09 pm

@Michelle. Thank you for you stopping by to encourage me. I hope for a speedy recovery, too. Good luck in your races!

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 12:08 pm

@Thank, FVR. Also, I had to use wikipedia to spell Mathhew’s name. He needs to get something simpler.

Angel · 06/06/2012 at 12:07 pm

@Shawn, Yea, that ‘do it for yourself’ part is a piece I feel many are missing. I’m gonna keep pushing, see what I’m made of. Thanks for your comment.

FVR · 06/06/2012 at 10:58 am

CONGRATS on qualifying!!!! The sign of a real athlete is someone who continues to compete no matter what. I’m so proud of you, Coach! Also, I love me some Matthew McConaughey.

Shawn · 06/06/2012 at 10:17 am

That is an awesome result…….I agree, never quit and make sure you do it for yourself. You should be very proud of your accomplishment!!!

Michelle N. · 06/06/2012 at 9:59 am

Congratulations! Inspirational story. I wish you a speedy recovery and can’t wait to hear about the World Championships. =)

Sab · 06/06/2012 at 5:47 am

I am so, so proud and happy for you!! I knew you were still a contender in spite of everything. Your tenacity and dedication is unmatched. Believe it, even in times of doubt, and know that those that are rooting for you sincerely believe it too.

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