Liz Mahoney – Director of Quality at Sheridan Memorial Hospital
Physical Health Impacts Mental Health
Liz has always enjoyed being active – from swimming competitively growing up to running track in high school. Seven years ago exercise took on a new meaning as she turned to activity to help cope with the pain she experienced upon her young daughter’s accidental death. “The training for my first Ironman event provided an outlet for my grief and pain associated with her death.” Liz learned that her mental health was directly correlated with physical activity and continued to use exercise as a way to manage life’s ups and downs. Since then Liz has several half and full Ironman races (a full Ironman includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run). She just returned from an Ironman competition in Florida – completing it in 15 hours.
Accepting the Invitation
As an adult Liz started biking with an invitation from a friend to join her in riding in the Tour De Wyoming. It took a little convincing, but eventually Liz agreed and her love of biking was born. Liz has now completed 6 Tours De Wyoming which is a cycling tour throughout different places in Wyoming ranging from 375 – 400 miles of the course of several days. This love of biking lead to triathlons and now is a large part of Liz’s identity.
The amazing success Liz has seen in her athletic endeavors has not come without hard work and the occasional set-back. Liz injured her knee in one training cycle and wasn’t able to race again for 2 years. She worked hard to recover and in her comeback race she was disqualified due to being misdirected by a course official. This still didn’t cause her to quit and she signed up for another ironman a few months later. Liz is motivated by setting and reaching goals and this helps her be successful. “My advice is to set a goal, develop a plan, be flexible when things don’t go as planned, be consistent, surround yourself with people who are supportive or who have similar goals, and don’t give up even when things get ugly.” There isn’t a large triathlete community in Sheridan however Liz allows her internal motivation to push her further and connects with individuals at races around the country when she competes.
Dreaming of Kona
Liz is always learning and growing in her wellness journey. She has made many changes to her nutrition and continues to experiment to find out how to best fuel her training. She uses a training plan called “Training Peaks” and also utilizes her Garmin watch to monitor her training. In the future Liz plans to hire a coach with a goal to eventually qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. This is a big goal but Liz is not deterred because she knows with the help of a supportive community she can be successful and remain competitive.