5/31/17

35 facts to celebrate my 35th Birthday!!!


  1. I was born in Lexington, KY. 
  2. I went to a Montessori school through 3rd grade. I went to an arts school from 4th - 8th grade and "majored" in piano. 
  3. My mom grew up as an Orthodox Jew. I had a Bat Mitzvah when I turned 13. I don't practice Judaism but it's a big part of our family history. My dad converted to Judaism after he married my mom. 
  4. I played piano until I graduated from high school. I competed in many competitions and concerts and was a very accomplished pianist. 
  5. I was a very creative child/teenager. I loved to draw and express myself through my clothing and hair styles. I also enjoyed singing and dancing. When I was young, I had my hair professionally dyed blonde. I immediately hated it! Since then, I have never colored my hair. 
  6. I am a visual learner. I remember information better by seeing it versus reading it.
  7. I have 11 ear piercings and I did 3 of them by myself in high school. I got my belly button pierced when I turned 16. I had my tongue pierced only during my freshman year of college (my parents were not happy about that one!). 
  8. I have one tattoo - the Ironman M dot. I got it done 2 weeks after I did my first Ironman in 2006. When the time comes for my beloved dog, Campy, to go to doggy heaven, I will change the tattoo to remind me of him and my other love of cycling (which is thanks to Karel). 
  9. I went away to college my freshman year to IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) for swimming (Division II). I felt like it was too much swimming and not enough learning so I transferred to my hometown university, Transylvania, for the rest of my college career. Transy provided me with a great liberal arts education and helped me discover my passions of speaking and writing. My favorite speaking events are live TV segments and group talks. 
  10. When I was young, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist when I grew up. Then I wanted to be a doctor. Then a Strength and Conditioning Coach. I went to Graduate school in FL at FAU (Davie campus) and earned my M.S. in Exercise Physiology. I then realized that I wanted to do something with triathlon and nutrition. 
  11. I was diagnosed with two extra cervical ribs in high school after having serious back issues while swimming. 
  12. I tried out for track, volleyball and diving when I was in high school. I never made it on to a team. My heart was always into swimming. I started swimming when I was 10 years old. My first swim meet event was the 50 yard butterfly. I swam competitively from age 10 until 22. I swam all four years of college. My specialty strokes were 200 fly, 100 breast and 200 IM. I placed 5th in the 100 breast stroke at Nationals my Sophomore year (NAIA). I got burnt out from swimming during my Junior year of college. I joined the cross country team in the fall (while still swimming on the team). I really enjoyed off-road running but I hated being away from my swimming teammates. 
  13. I am a sensitive person and care a lot about the feelings of other people. I don't like it when people are upset and I don't like mean people. I've always been told I am "too nice" and I never stop smiling. I am a very passionate person and when I like something, I don't second guess my decisions and I always give 100% to whatever I do. 
  14. After finishing up a season on the cross country team and enjoying my new sport of running, I decided to do a sprint triathlon in the summer of 2003 before my senior year of college. My dad went with me to cheer me on. I received a hybrid Giant bike a week before the triathlon for my birthday. I won my age group (but I was the only one in it). The next summer, I did an Olympic distance triathlon and during graduate school, after training for my first marathon, I got into triathlon training more seriously in 2005. 
  15. I have never broken a bone or had a stress fracture. The last time I was sick was in 2007. I have never worn glasses or braces. 
  16. I wrote in a journal, every night, for over 10 years. 
  17. I collected Grover items (from Sesame Street) while growing up. I was more into stuffed animals than dolls. 
  18. I became a vegetarian when I was 10 for animal reasons. I am not sure exactly what made me decide to give up meat one day at school. I have always loved animals. We have a dog, two cats (Madison is 9 and Smudla is 14) and a tank full of African Cichlid fish. If we didn't travel so much, I would have lots more rescue animals. 
  19. I met Karel on a blind date - which was a group ride in the Palm Harbor, Fl area. I stood him up for a few weeks before I met him because I was afraid to do the group ride. We met on my birthday in 2006. A few months later, we traveled to Lake Tahoe for a training trip and I realized that he was the one for me. At IMFL in November 2006, I told him I loved him for the first time as I was running the last few miles of the IM. We got engaged on Karel's birthday (2007) and married in October 2008. 
  20. Karel and I got engaged at a Kobe Japanese Steakhouse in Clearwater, Florida in front of a small group of our cycling friends. The entire restaurant clapped for us after I said yes. Although we moved to Jacksonville, FL in 2008, we got married in October in the Dunedin area (Honeymoon island on the beach - morning wedding) because all of our friends lived in Clearwater. 
  21. My dad passed away 3 years ago on May 28th, 2014 from stage IV spine cancer. He passed away 10 months after he was diagnosed. My dad was never sick and he ran 3 miles every day for over 15 years. We were very close. He was a very successful optometrist. 
  22. I was a lifeguard in high school and then pool manager. I have been CPR certified since 1994. I taught spin classes, aerobic classes and water aerobics when I was in high school. 
  23. I moved in with my parents when I finished graduate school in Dec 2005 because I had no money. They had just moved to New Port Richey, FL for my dad's new job as the chief optometrist of a VA clinic. 
  24. I don't like to wear make-up. I feel most comfortable when I am working out. I get my hair cut at Great Clips. 
  25. My brother (2 years younger than me) Aaron Rakes, was the 2007 NCAA High Bar Champion. He had a full ride scholarship to the University of Michigan. He and his wife Dana are expecting their second child (a boy) in a few weeks. Baby Jack is 1.5 years old. They live in Pittsburgh, PA. My brother works for Ernst and Young. He has his Masters in Business from Carnegie Mellon. 
  26. I went to Japan for a student exchange program in 8th grade. I went to the Philippines during the last 2 weeks of my Senior year of college for a work service project. I had no electricity or running water during my trip to the Philippines and I took bucket showers and went to the bathroom in a hole in the ground. This trip changed my life. 
  27. I found/rescued a small Chihuahua behind our apartment complex in Jacksonville, FL in 2006. A few days later, we found his owner. A week later, we adopted Campy (previously named Sparky) from a foster family in Amelia Island, FL. We got Campy just a few weeks before we got married. Campy follows me around wherever I go, he has slept in bed with us since the first day we brought him home (under the covers) and he is very protective of me. Campy started to get seizures in the summer of 2015. He is now controlled with Phenobarbital (morning and night).  
  28. I like to live every day to the fullest. Anytime I feel like life is rushing by, I try to slow it down. 
  29. My mom lives 1 mile away from us. Her favorite hobby/activity is hiking. My mom and my dad were married for almost 37 years. My dad was 9 years older than my mom - they met at Indiana University. He was a teacher (optics and pharmacology) and she was there as a student. 
  30. My favorite color is pink. But during my grunge phase in middle school, my favorite color was black. 
  31. I had long hair throughout middle school - it was down to my butt. My hair is thick and wavy so it would take me over 15 minutes to dry! 
  32. I played t-ball on an all boys team when I was 7/8 years old. I was a tomboy for much of my childhood and I wanted to always prove that girls could do anything that boys can do. 
  33. I spent a lot of my extra time in school (4-8th grade) helping out with the special needs students. 
  34. I love my sleep. I get ~8 hours of sleep every night. I thank my body every day. I also love to laugh and smile. 
  35. I started my own business in Jan 2012 after receiving my RD credential. This was a long time dream of mine that required a lot of hard work, energy, time and money but it was all worth it! My dad would be so proud. I now get to work with Karel and we have the most rewarding job of helping athletes reach personal health, athletic and nutrition goals. And, Karel and I get to spend every day training, working and living together.