TriFREAKS Team Story: Dana Barkdull

Dana PicTriFREAKS… It was the name that drew me to this company, it was the experience, support and morals that kept me here…

My story started January 13th, 2010 weighing in at 329.5 pounds at my local gym. Going through the ups and downs of “weight removal”, it was 3 months into this journey I decided to finish my first Triathlon. With my family and best friend by my side, August of 2010 weighing 269 pounds I finished the Danskin Triathlon. It was amazing! I think the most memorable moment was walking into transition (which I didn’t know that was what it was, to me it was the place all the bikes were kept) the volunteer asked people to move aside to make way for the “athletes”… So Irene and I moved… He looked at us confused and said “um you’re the athletes”. We looked at each other and just giggled we had NEVER been called an “athlete” J After all weren’t “athletes” these fit people that race? By the way… if you race, you train, you bike, you swim, you wog (walk/jog)… YOU’RE AN ATHLETE! I found out size doesn’t matter… it’s what you do!

October that same year I injured myself, not good. Starting with what I felt was the beginning, it was a rough road. So why in February of 2011 did I decide to train for a 70.3? I was sitting at my computer, debating between this race in Boise Idaho, and this race in Ocean Shores ran by this company TriFREAKS… Ok the name alone won me over at that time… It was the experience I had that kept me.

Going into a race knowing that I would finish unsupported was difficult. Remembering my trainer’s advice, to smile, enjoy my race AND getting to the start I had already won kept me going. I arrived first the day of my race, being 254 pounds I was the biggest person in my division. As people walked by and seen my yellow swim cap (I still have it ;-)) The response was great… always this look of amazement followed by “you’re doing the half?” I proudly said yep with a smile. The encouragement immediately rolled in… See triathletes are a family, and families support one another, throughout the swim, bike and for me wog there they were cheering me on. Coming in past cut off for the bike (which I didn’t even know what that really was) I headed out to my run. Map in hand I had my family and best friend as support what else did I need?

The volunteers were amazing, the race staff equally amazing, thinking of the support the encouragement still brings tears to my eyes. Never really feeling “accepted” in the “athletic” community I had found a family, and they were the best! I finished that day, TriFREAKS had supported me, they made sure when I cleared the trees, that the first sight I seen was that beautiful finish arch (after 70.3 miles it was the most beautiful sight ever!). My time was counted; my race had been won and then the most amazing thing… Stefan waiting for me at the finish had gathered my family and anyone around to cheer me in he handed me this thing… it was a finishers medal J

This was my start with TriFREAKS this is my why I chose TriFREAKS. 2012 I came on board as the volunteer “volunteer coordinator”, asked Stefan what to put on my signature… he said “event coordinator”, I asked what the difference was his response “not much”…

January 2013 now full time TriFREAKS, I look back on my journey I made the right choice that February Day in 2011… After all where else can you be surrounded by amazing athletes, volunteers that freely give of their time, and amazing staff that I have the honor to work alongside… most of all family, that’s what my athletes, volunteers, and co-workers mean to me family…

My husband, daughter and son walk alongside me on this journey, they have become healthier along this path as well. You will see my daughter volunteering at events; she has become my right hand gal. I love I can share this with her, and in 2011 she finished her first triathlon… Danskin

Not bad from couch potato to Event/Volunteer/Sponsorship Coordinator in only 3 years…

Volunteer