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Ironman’s Iron Woman

Annee is one of the winners of the Kona Inspired
Competition. • photo courtesy Annee Deering  

On a recent Friday, during the sticky summer heatwave that suffocated Los Angeles for well over a month, Annee Deering was finishing up seven hours on her stationary bike trainer. Seven hours.

“It feels like taking oneself out of one’s body, eliminating feeling and memory and monotony and the smell of boring mixed with sunscreen and sweat,” Annee wrote on her blog. “It is the ultimate exercise in meditation—more difficult than any meditation practice or class I’ve ever done.”

As one of the elite athletes at CrossFit City of Angels, Annee has been preparing for the Oct. 13 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. The competition is one of the most grueling in the world, consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and ending with a 26.2-mile run.

It’s a challenge that would intimidate even the best athletes. But on that sweltering summer day, Annee was on her bike, in the zone, singularly focused on her ride.

“Breath awareness melds my peddle strokes together, they becomes a rhythm unbreakable by anything other than the urge to urinate,” she said. “I do have quite a transient audience of hummingbirds, bees and curious cats… All sense of time is lost, with a little help from my headphones, of course. Electro, techno, disco, drum and bass, anything to transport me to a dance floor near you.”

This is Annee’s second Ironman competition, and the road to the World Championship hasn’t been smooth. On Aug. 18 she was involved in an automobile accident, where she broke multiple fingers, suffered several dislocations, and incurred extensive soft tissue injury. She hasn’t let that stop her from competing, but she did have to modify her training with indoor cycling, running and CrossFit.

“I will be unable to swim until race day, and even then with braces on some of my fingers,” she said.

Furthermore, her physical setback has also caused a financial setback. As a nurse, she has been unable to work, and the lost income has made this extremely expensive endeavor even more of a challenge. The cost of equipment, travel, shipping of gear, housing and insurance all adds up quickly.

Annee finished her first Ironman, Ironman Coeur d’Alene,
with a time of 12:17:17 • photo courtesy Annee Deering

But even that hasn’t stopped Annee. Friends and supporters have been pitching in to help her realize her dream and carry a message that is much larger than her athletic competition. She’s using her media exposure to bring attention to the non-profit organization Girls On The Run, a group whose goals coincide with Annee’s mission of empowering women through athletics. Strengthening women is something close to Annee’s heart.

“As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I’ve moved to a place wherein I want to share my story publicly,” she said. “I seek to inspire and educate others in regards to the far reaching effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, endured often silently by many victims of sexual abuse. My lifelong journey to overcome is intertwined with my participation and training for triathlon, namely Ironman.”

Her efforts earned her the distinction of being one of eight winners of the Kona Inspired Competition, which highlights the exceptional stories of competing athletes. Annee said she wants to serve as an inspiration to guide women through their own hardships and help them accomplish their own “Ironman,” however that manifests itself in their lives.

Right now, though, the “Ironman” in Annee’s life is the actual Ironman, and she recently flew to Hawaii, preparing herself in the final days leading up to the competition. All of that training and all of that sweat will soon pay off.

“Some training days I can’t tell the difference between my sweat and my tears. It feels like those are the days when I’m really training for an Ironman.”

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Annee is still accepting contributions to reach her fundraising goal until just before race day. If you would like to contribute, please visit her page here.

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