Story courtesy Cullen Maksimowski, Cornerstone athletics
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - Jesse Sheridan, a member of the Cornerstone women’s basketball and golf team, joined an exclusive group of finishers in the Ironman triathlon this past weekend as she completed the Chattanooga Ironman in Tennessee.
The Ironman triathlon is often regarded as one of the most physically and mentally grueling athletic events in the world. Its three legs consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run are not for the faint of heart and is a feat that very few can say they’ve accomplished.
As a two-sport athlete, Sheridan has complied a pretty big list of athletic achievements, however, she said this was undoubtedly the largest.
“This is probably number one for sure. It was just a really great experience and I feel like it was the hardest thing physically, mentally and emotionally I’ve ever been challenged with.”
Sheridan crossed the finish line with combined time of 13 hours and eight minutes, which ranked third in her division according to ironman.com.
Making the finish extra special was the fact that she was able to cross the line with her mother, Julie.
“It was just really emotional and awesome,” said Sheridan. “I crossed hand-in-hand with my mom and we were both crying, we hugged and it was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. I felt really blessed that god gave us the opportunity to finish and do it together.”
The mother-daughter finish was the culmination of more than six months of rigorous training.
“My mom had originally signed up (for the race) last December,” Sheridan said. “I figured I would just do the training with her. It was around March that I was like ‘well, I might as well do the race’ so we trained the next six months together and ended up training over 3,200 miles all together.”
“The training was really intense. We would do anywhere from two-to-six hours of training a day on average and just one off-day a week. Looking back,” Sheridan said, “just being around so many other Ironman athletes for the entire weekend was one of the highlights of her experience."
“You’re not really competing (with the other Ironman athletes) because it’s more of an individual sport so everyone was rooting each other on and just really encouraging,” Sheridan said. “(The race) took over the entire downtown area and we got to meet a lot of people, just a lot of encouragement and really fun atmosphere.”
Heading into her final season as a CU student-athlete, Sheridan believes completing the Ironman gave her some perspective she hopes to share with her teammates.
“I think the biggest thing is knowing that we really can push our bodies further,” she said. “I think sometimes we get so tired and it seems like we can’t move on. There were so many times in the race when I thought ‘am I really going to finish’ so I think it just goes to show how much we can push ourselves.”
“Also, I think just setting a goal and reaching it is really inspiring. Just being able to portray that to the team like ‘these are our goals’ we can accomplish them if we keep pushing.”
As the window begins to close on Sheridan’s time as a CU student-athlete, she offered her insight what it’s meant to be a Golden Eagle the past three years.
“Cornerstone has been awesome, from my teammates to my coaches, everyone is so encouraging and I’ve built so many meaningful relationships,” Sheridan said. “I think the biggest thing is that it’s so fun (to compete) but at the end of the day we’re playing for the lord and coming together. I love basketball, I love golf but the biggest thing I’ll look back on is the teammates and the friendships and how everyone here has truly blessed my life.”