Behind the Scenes – Events Leading to ChildVoice

Behind the Scenes – Events Leading to ChildVoice

The personal story of how this opportunity to partner with ChildVoice transpired and why it is so important to me isn’t a quick one to recount. It has been a very long and important progression for me that is now moving from a dream to reality. I’ve had the urge for a long time to do something more with my passion for triathlon and endurance sports, something bigger than myself. I was never able to figure out what this meant or how to go about it, but during my training and racing in 2013, these feelings grew exponentially and things started happening that I couldn’t ignore.

As I was training for the Wisconsin Marathon in early spring, I began to experience pain in my Achilles tendon, which I ignored until it turned into tendonitis and then tendonosis. I ended up having to pull out of that race in order to instigate healing so that I could begin training for Ironman Wisconsin, my A race for the year. I was able to partially compete in some intermediary events throughout the summer, but the injury prevented my ability to be very consistent in my training.

Ironman 70.3 Steelhead, in Benton Harbor, MI, was going to be a very important training race for me. It was in chance to test out my nutrition strategy and race at a much longer distance than I ever had before. Going into race week, I was incredibly anxious. I had only been able to complete 4-5 mile runs due to my Achilles, and I was very uncertain how my run would be during the race. During this time the phrase “Bigger Than Myself” came to mind. An overwhelming sense that I was part of something bigger than just myself, than just this race, came over me. This provided confidence and resolve that regardless of my result there was a greater purpose for me being in this position and to finish no matter what. Nothing astronomical happened during the race, but I held onto that phase and mentality leading into the final build for Ironman Wisconsin.

I was very excited post-70.3. Not only did I have a good race that gave me a lot of confidence for my ability to race in Wisconsin, but I was incredibly excited to see how I could be part of something bigger through Ironman. In the week following Steelhead, I was faced with an obstacle that should have completely derailed my plans and drained my excitement. During a group ride, I discovered that there was something wrong with my seat post. Despite my personal efforts and efforts on the part of the bike shop, we weren’t able to fix it. Because this was now a warranty issue, the only option we had was to send it to Specialized in California. This was four weeks out from Ironman, and I had two long rides to do within ten days of discovering this issue. But with no other options, we packed up my bike and shipped it off. What was supposed to be a six-day separation turned into over two weeks, and when it finally returned to the shop we discovered that nothing had been fixed. I am incredibly thankful for the staff at Rasmussen’s, because before I even knew about this they had already been on the phone with Specialized arranging a fix for this. They ended up agreeing to overnight a new frame. But instead of sending the same frame that I had, they sent over their top-of-the-line, S-Works frame.

Throughout this ordeal, I was surprisingly calm. I remained confident in the fact that I was a part of something larger and that this was either a test of trust or an attempt to derail my attitude. Either way, a solution would present itself. What ended up happening blew me away. I was so overwhelmed when I learned that I was getting a significantly upgraded bike and knew that this was yet another sign that something more that is meant to happen through my passion for triathlon.

Similar to the 70.3, nothing noticeable happened during Ironman. But if nothing else, it acted as the conversation starter for what is now happening with ChildVoice. My initial discussion with Conrad Mandsager started because my dad told his brother that I had completed Ironman Wisconsin. Now we’re figuring out how to use endurance sports as a vehicle to raise awareness and funds for the organization.

I am incredibly excited to see how this partnership develops and grows. We all have opportunities to make a difference; we just need to aware of when those opportunities present themselves.  If you have any interest in being part of a team racing for ChildVoice or getting involved in any way, please send me a message at