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Ambassador Spotlight: Ana Hotaling

Spotlight for this post is on SBMAT Ambassador, Ana Hotaling

Ana brings a calm presence, a fighting spirit,

and often amazing yoga poses.

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Ana Hotaling

City/State: Chelsea, MI

Age Group: 45 – 49 (until 1/1/2015, and then it’s 50 – 54.

Biggest Inspiration: My son, Bryce. This tiny little boy inspires me every day. He was born non responsive and had to be resuscitated; very soon after that, we learned of his congenital heart and urogenital conditions. He underwent several surgeries prior to age 1. A massive infection left him partially deaf in his right ear. He was diagnosed as developmentally delayed as a toddler and worked with occupational therapists, cognitive teachers, physical therapists, and speech pathologists for years. He was unable to speak until he was 3; he continues to work with a speech pathologist and tomorrow restarts rehabilitative therapy to improve his gross motor coordination. In addition, he was diagnosed with acute asthma and severe food and environmental allergies.

Through all of this, he maintains a positive attitude and sets goals for himself. He trains in Tae Kwon Do and plans to run a marathon someday (last month, he anchored a marathon relay team to finish 39th out of 95 teams). He was nominated for a 2014 Governor’s Fitness Award and became one of three finalists (search Bryce Hotaling Fitness on YouTube). He also takes my Family Yoga class and enjoys the fact that he started yoga a year younger than I did. ? This little boy inspires me to always look at the positive side of things and to not let obstacles get in my way. I am very proud and lucky to be his mom!

Scary 2015 Goal: Finishing my first Ironman 70.3 (Muncie in July!) and completing the Trail Marathon Weekend (a trail half on one day, a trail full the next). Oh, and qualifying for the Olympic Distance Age-Group Nationals for the second year in a row.

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How Triathlon Changed Me:  Triathlon is the sport that truly makes me feel well rounded and happy. I do enjoy running, but nothing quite appeals to my competitive soul like being able to speed through the water, then race like the wind on my bike, and then ground myself through my feet during the run.1014482_811353108892580_4185741060890842551_n

It’s heady. It’s intoxicating. It’s soul freeing. It’s almost indescribable, but I am definitely happier in my every-day life knowing that I have triathlon training and competition awaiting me.

Favorite Piece of Gear: My QRoo bike, the Pink Annihilator!

I Race For: myself and, because of this, my family. The pressures of maintaining a farm and a studio in this economy, when these are hardly money-making endeavors, can weigh very heavily on me, especially when I see a bare fridge, my kids in hand-me-downs, wearing sneakers to school concerts and performances because those are their only pair of shoes. My husband and I made the choice that I would work from home so I could be present in my kids’ lives, something that has been very necessary with two special-needs children. But the lack of funds to take a vacation (we took our first in seven years last November, funded by a generous relative), to buy books from school book orders, to have to post-date checks when the schools need picture-day-money or PTO fees… it drags the soul down.

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Racing reawakened my love of competition, a drive I had throughout my childhood and adolescence. It peels away the negative emotions and exhilarates. It reenergizes me and makes me happy. And it sets an example for my children about determination, physical fitness, setting goals, and truly enjoying a sport or hobby. The positive energy I bring home from a race tears away the stressful environment and makes our home a happy place. We are still struggling, but we are in much better balance with each other.

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How I Pay It Forward: For years now, my studio has collected for Toys for Tots, held a Kick-a-Thon for our local domestic-violence shelter, held food drives for the town food bank, and cleaned up local parks. This summer, I began volunteering as a coach for local kids who wanted to run. We met three days a week at the high school track, and just watching their progress from pant-pant-pant-one-lap-done to 5K completion was amazing. I am hoping to do so again next summer.10570440_884640324897191_2674172966947558962_n

I was also recently appointed to the Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Health, and I am hoping to be able to use this to spread a love for fitness, for racing, for triathlon, to those who many not have even known these outlets exist for people outside of school (such as my mother!!!!).

What Else You Should Know About Me:   I tend to be injury prone. Worse, I tend to push through those injuries to achieve my goals. My ortho/sports med specialist has threatened to set up a cot for me in his office. I suffer from polyneuropathy; at any given time, I lose all sensation in my hands and feet. This struck me worst in the 2014 Ann Arbor Marathon; I had to pull out at the halfway point and be wheelchaired to the first aid tent, shedding major tears of anger and frustration. Since then, I’ve been testing my limits as to how fast I can run and for how long without being affected. I have been told that triathlon is the best sport for me because of this condition, and I do believe they are right!

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How to Follow Me:

Twitter :http://twitter.com/AnaHotaling

Instagram: http://instagram.com/AnaHotaling

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