Anne Hoffman Name: Anne Elizabeth Hofmann Birthplace: Born in Jackson Mississippi (parents were civil rights activists working in the Delta), but grew up in Canton, Ohio Your current home town: Frederick, Maryland Profession: Community College English Professor and Program Coordinator for Parents Lead (a degree program for student parents) How did you first get into endurance sports? I consider my first “extreme” / endurance sport to have been synchronized swimming, which I competed in nationally from age 8-13. I then transitioned to competitive swimming and water polo. I played on the men’s water polo team as an undergraduate at Miami University (OH) and started the Women’s water polo team there. After college I began running marathons and transitioned to triathlon at age 35. as part of my triathlon training, I began distance cycling and open water swimming, to include century road riding and swimming across the Chesapeake Bay. What forms of cycling do you participate in now? While I still enjoy training for races, my favorite kind of cycling is road or trail riding with friends to explore a new place. I love driving to a new area of the country with a crew of friends, hopping on my bike and wandering up, around, and through small towns and landscapes. Last year, I rode the Great Allegheny Passage from Cumberland Maryland to Pittsburgh with a group of friends, and it was one of my favorite trips of all time. That being said, I also love riding the 3 miles from my house to our charming downtown Frederick with my two teenagers, who are also learning the cycling ropes and who have gotten lost with me more than once on a bike “adventure”. Why do you ride now? Cycling keeps me centered in a way no other form of exercise does — I call it my yoga. There is a cadence, breath, peace, and focus it brings that draws me into the present in such profound ways. And while I enjoy riding alone, my favorite way to cycle is alongside dear friends and family, either in silence or in conversation. What advice would you have offer to those just getting in to endurance sports? 1) Honor YOUR body and be grateful for the amazing things it does for you, even on the days when it all feels hard. 2) Get comfortable being uncomfortable. 3) Be uncomfortable alongside supportive friends with similar goals. 4) Set goals in places you want to experience / explore with people you love. What have been some of your positive personal experiences from participating in endurance sports? All of my “firsts” (first marathon, first triathlon, first swim across the Bay, first Century). There is something so rewarding about accomplishing a goal you weren’t sure you could achieve and knowing no one else has done it for you. What are some of your challenges? I’d say the biggest challenge for me has been juggling a very full life as a mother and professional with training. Especially as I was moving through a very difficult period in my life that included divorce, entrance in single motherhood, and returning to graduate school, the availability of time and energy felt impossible. I struggled with feeling guilty for spending time on the bike when I could be making pancakes for my kids, grading papers, or reading my classes. The mom/teacher guilt factor is REAL and continues to be something I have to continuously manage. It’s taken me many years (and reminders from my children) to discover that riding makes me a better mom and teacher, and hopefully one who will be healthy for a long time because I’ve prioritized my own care. What single piece of encouragement would you offer to a young person experiencing homelessness? Homelessness is a difficult season in your life that does not define you and that will not last forever. Persist and reach — you are not alone.