Everything begins with seeing your dream. 

Do you recall what you wanted to be when you were a kid? For me, it bounced around a bit. At times, I wanted to be a doctor, an archeologist, a CIA operative, a missionary, or a professional athlete. Today, as a pro triathlete, I guess you could say I do a bit of it all: I  know a lot about my mind and body in order to dig really deep and chase people down with the goal of inspiring others to passionately pursue their dreams.   Ok perhaps a bit of a stretch, but you get the idea!   Getting to this point, however, was not via a path I would have planned for myself. I’ve had a lot of twists and turns that have been everything from rewarding and positive to physically, emotionally, or mentally painful. But, I’ve learned that the strongest calling I felt from a young age to be a professional athlete is one that was destined to happen. The barriers that tried to stop me time and time again may have slowed progress, but were ultimately not strong enough to stop me.  


Both of my parents were US Marines. They taught me about being disciplined, focused, resilient and living a life of integrity. They always pushed me to give my best, which I sought to do in the classroom and in sports. From junior high through high school, I lived in West Palm Beach, Florida where I played volleyball, basketball, cross country, and track at the King’s Academy. While I loved the team sports, I excelling in running earned six state titles in track and field. Thankfully, I received a full scholarship to run at Baylor University where I earned multiple All-Conference, All-Region and All-American honors. I also qualified for the 2008 Olympic Trials in the 3000m Steeplechase, but suffered a heel fracture prior to the trials and could not compete.   At this point, the series of twist of turns begins and I could write a book about everything I went through and what I learned over the course of the next 10 years. But, I’ll keep it brief. I wanted to run professionally after college. However, I got sick my senior year with mono and a vitamin D deficiency. I was pretty upset with how running ended and spiraled into a depressed phase where I gained 50 pounds in one year. One day, the lightbulb went on and I realized “I can do whatever I want to do. I just have to set my mind to do it!” I started riding a bike to lose weight and within two years found myself racing on a domestic elite team in 2014.   Late that year, during a bike race I was involved in a horrific accident that led to a few broken bones in my back. At that time, I decided to hang up the bike and focus on my family and career in public health. Yet, that pesky dream of being a pro athlete remained. In 2017, I decided it was time to make it happen. It was time to take back what the fear, doubts, and depression stole from me. It was time to make those dreams a reality.  


Within eight months of training, racing and learning how to swim, I won three national titles in duathlon, winning the USAT Long Course, Standard, and Sprint Distance Duathlon National Championships and placed third at the USAT Age Group Triathlon National Championships, earning my professional racing license. I also was the first age-group female finisher in my first 70.3 at IM70.3 Cozumel.  In 2018, I entered my first season as a pro triathlete. During that year, I worked full-time in public health, commuted 8 to 10 hours a week for work, and trained an average of 15 hours per week and still met my goal of qualifying for and competing in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Late that year, I quit my government job to do triathlon full time. Today, I live beautiful Boise, ID with my husband Andrew, dog George, and cat Miles. There’s a lot more to the story, including heartbreak, changing life circumstances, and finding new love. But through it all, I’ve found a deep resilience that is determined to make that little girl proud that her dreams are coming true. 

It is my desire to use what I do to inspire you to relentlessly pursue your dreams. It’s hard. It can be ugly. It can be lonely. But it is ALWAYS WORTH IT. Because YOU are worth it.


My biggest satisfaction in the sports comes when I connect with other Dream Doers who are relentlessly following their passions. I'd love to hear about your journey or how any part of my story has helped you in yours. Shoot me a message or feel free to contact me on social.

Let's connect on Instagram  @danilewistri