When she was six, Lauren’s dad signed her up for her first triathlon–and she fell in love with the sport. Father and daughter, they would train together. It was their thing. When she was fifteen, her dad passed away unexpectedly. Her world was turned upside down, but she continued to train and compete, carrying on the legacy (and the love of this lifelong sport) her dad left within her.
Today, this real-life Wonder Woman attends the University of Iowa where she is studying Health & Human Physiology and Exercise Science on the Pre Physical Therapy track. She also continues to train and compete in triathlons across the country.
KR: How did you become involved in triathlon?
LS: I did my first triathlon at age 6 in Baxter, MN. It was a kid’s one which my dad signed me up for. I pretty much loved it from the start. My dad and I would train together, and it was my favorite thing we shared. Now (for obvious reasons) I have a huge attachment to the sport.
My life revolved around this sport for most of my teenage years which is why it is such a large part of my identity.
In high school, I traveled worldwide to compete against girls ages 16-19. We did a style of racing called “draft legal” which just meant you were able to draft on the bike making it even more competitive, dangerous, and strategic. It was always a sprint distance triathlon, which is a 1/2 mile swim, 13 mile bike, and 3 mile run. This type of a racing is really a pipeline for the Olympics, and the girls I competed against were the real deal. Ultimately the reason I stopped doing that is because I aged out (you can only compete in that circuit until you’re 19).
Then I had to make the decision of what I wanted to do with triathlon as a collegiate sport, but since it is still a new emerging sport, there were limited options of where I could have gone to continue my triathlon career. Therefore, I decided to go to my top college and just continue to do it at the club level for fun more than anything.
While it has been a shift in priority, I am still heavily involved and plan to compete locally throughout the summer. Thinking long term, I would like to continue building my distance and eventually do an Ironman one day (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile run, and a 26.2 mile run). For now I will continue to focus on school and compete as much as I can.
I know this is a lifelong sport for me because I enjoy every aspect–the atmosphere, the training, and the people I am surrounded by.
KR: Aside from your obvious passion for competing in triathlons, what else brings you joy and fulfillment.
LS: I feel most fulfilled when I accomplish a goal, but I feel the most joy when I am able to share that special moment with another person. For example, when I am successful in triathlon, it is even more rewarding when I have earned points for my team. Overall the things that bring me the most joy in life is quality time with loved ones and any kind of dog.
KR: We all have inner superpowers. What are some of yours?
LS: One of my main superpowers which I pride myself on is perseverance. Life has its moment where it takes me by surprise, but I feel that I am able to push through whatever may come my way with a good attitude and some grit. I can also apply this to my passion with triathlon; this sport takes a lot of perseverance whether it be the final push of a painful race or daily training demands. I have acquired great amounts of determination and time management from triathlon alone.
KR: Can you tell us about an influential woman in your life and how she inspired you?
LS: I cannot think of one individual woman who has impacted in particular because my mom, my aunt, and my grandmas all exemplify amazing women I hope to become one day. These women are resilient and selfless. They carry themselves with poise while still being badass in their own individual ways. I feel blessed to have such incredible women to look up to.
KR: If you could have one super-human power, what would it be?
LS: I would love to be able to teleport. In fact, I day dream about this. It would be handy in times where I wish I could take a little vacation without the expense or time restrains. I could be there for anybody if they needed me with the snap of a finger. I also would not have to waste time commuting to class.
KR: What do you do for fun? What are your hobbies?
LS: My time is mostly filled by training for triathlon (swim, bike, run), and I enjoy it the most when I am able to share that time with my boyfriend or teammates. Other than that I like to cook and bake which I can’t do right now because I live in the dorms. I love to travel and wish I could do more of it.
KR: Knowing what you know at this stage of your life, what words of wisdom would you give to your 14-year-old self?
LS: I would tell my 14-year-old self to be grateful for what she has and understand how perfect her life is (a daunting task for a 14-year-old). I would tell her to be ready for the road bumps ahead. I would tell her to be extra super kind to her parents and cherish anytime she gets with loved ones. I would tell her to be present, to enjoy the simplicity.