Annette Melecio, an Ironman Triathlete, shares her journey of finding triathlons and how it saved her life. Annette is my very close friend and one of my favorite triathlon people. Annette has been on active military duty for over fifteen years and is currently serving as, a Military Police Officer in the army. She has four years of service left before she retires.
Annette has always been a runner. She always liked to run and wanted a challenge so she progressed to running half marathons. She even made her unit run a half marathons while on deployment. Following a really bad deployment where many people were lost, she was not in good headspace. She suffered from survivor’s guilt and went through a rough patch mentally. Anette even contemplating taking her life. It was then that she discovered triathlons. She liked the structure, and loved the group of people. Annette felt it was similar to the military with a lot of camaraderie. Everyone motivated and pushed each other and encouraged each other. It was the first time that she ever felt welcomed and accepted in the civilian world. Annette loves triathlons and is so dedicated. She has qualified for the Legacy Program for the Ironman World Championship at Kona by competing in 12 Full Ironman Championships, and one extra one just for fun. She has also competed in one half-Ironman 70.3 race, two 55k ultra-marathons and a 50k ultra-marathon with hopes of competing in a 100k ultra-marathon.
Annette started running in high school.
Annette joined the army and continues to run
Annette started her endurance sports career to help cope with her depression.
Annette memorable races
Endurance sports and mental health.
The importance of finding the right coach
How Annette committed to Kona Legacy Program.
Annette tells us how she does it all, being a mother, career, triathlons
Dealing with injury.
Annette life lessons and words of wisdom
Annette Melecio is active duty Army as a Military Police Officer. She has been on active duty for over 15 years and has 4 years left to retire. She has always been a runner and being in the Army running and rucking has always been something she is used to. She has completed 13 full Ironman triathlons, 1 Ironman 70.3 triathlon, two 55k ultra marathons, and one 50k ultra marathon. She completed IronMan #12 in September for a chance to apply for a legacy spot for Kona Ironman World championship. Her goal is to complete a 50 Miler maybe next year and a 100 Miler once she has competed in Kona IronMan World Championship.
Alex Torres, an Ironman Triathlete, shares his journey of overcoming challenges and realizing his potential to become an Ironman. Alex started his athletic journey as the “runt of the Torres family,” but through hard work and determination, he proved everyone wrong and accomplished his goal of becoming an Ironman.
One of the key pieces of advice that Alex shares is to never forget your “why.” This is what will keep you motivated and inspired during the long and tedious moments of training. He also emphasizes that discipline and perseverance are essential in becoming an Ironman, but these qualities are anchored on your “why.”
Another important point that Alex mentions is that you don’t have to have the most expensive equipment to participate in a triathlon. He was once embarrassed by his lack of fancy gear, but he was reminded that it’s all about the “engine,” meaning the person themselves.
To sum it up, becoming an Ironman is achievable if you have the physical capability, financial means, and most importantly, the determination and commitment to see it through. Find your “why,” stay committed, and never let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. The choice is yours to cross that finish line and hear your name being called as an Ironman.
Alex has completed multiple Iron Man races
Dreams of writing a book
Apologizes to younger self for past hurts
Believes everything is possible with effort
Encourages listeners to find their “why” and stay committed
Iron Man requires grit, determination, perseverance and discipline
Success depends on aligning all elements with your “why”
You have the choice to cross the finish line, whatever the distance
Alexander Torres is a native of Gary, IN. Alumnus of Indiana University. He is a former member of the Horace Mann High School track & cross-country teams. He continued his running in the United States Army as a member of the Commander’s Cup Team.
Alex ran his first marathon in 2004, the Chicago Marathon. He has ran the Chicago Marathon every year it has been held since 2004. Alex is currently registered for the 2023 Chicago Marathon which will be his 19th consecutive Chicago Marathon. Alex first official race as an adult post military was the marathon distance.
In 2010, he decided to compete in his first Ironman race, Ironman Louisville. His first triathlon was the full Ironman distance. To date Alex has completed 14 full Ironman races. Alex is currently scheduled to race Ironman Coeur d’Alene 2023 and on tap to race in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI in 2024 after qualifying via the legacy program.
Professionally Alex is in the pharmaceutical industry as an Executive Institutional Representative in Grand Rapids, MI in the area of surgical anesthesia and heart failure.
This episode features two athletes sharing their journeys, successes, and challenges. This mother-and-son duo in sports always finds a way to support each other! Dr. Petriece Culberson started her fitness journey while serving in the US Army. Her son Jullien “Jules” CulbersonJules was exposed to sports even while in the womb. He was pushed in a stroller as his mom ran with her mom group. Dr Culberson attributes her time in the armed forces and participating in sports in making her disciplined and driven. She uses this drive in competition, pushing herself to be the best she can be.
Jules has always played sports: basketball, football, soccer were his major sports when he was younger. Unfortunately an injury ended his football career in middle school.. He did not let his injury deter him. Taking an unfamiliar path, Jullien tried out for and made his high school swim team, and completed in his first triathlon at school. Recognizing the significant underrepresentation in the swim community, Jullien also accepted a position to give swim lessons to young children, making a personal commitment to ensure that African-American children were well trained in basic swim techniques.
Dr. Petriece Culberson decided to compete in a triathlon and her son joined her. Team Culberson was formed and their first event was an indoor triathlon together .Jules continued to accompany mom to her races and it sparked a desire in him to do more and in Spring 2022 they completed a half distance 70.3 together.
Together, triathlons have created a stronger bond between this mother and son duo— they are truly an inspiration and prove that triathlon is a sport for all ages and that fitness can be a fun family affair.
Dr. Culberson start in fitness
Dr. Culberson first endurance race experience and what she learned from it
Jules started in fitness
The injury that could have ended Jules fitness journey
Jules pivot to become a swimmer
Jules role in sharing his gift with the next generation
Dr. Culberson first triathlon after she resumed the sport
Jules training for his first 70.3 Half distance Triathlon
Team Culberson Journey to complete Ironman North Carolina 70.3 as a Duo
Dr. Petriece Culberson
At her first duty station, she joined a proud group of service men and women in her unit who exceeded the maximum points required to earn the infamous Army Badge for Physical Fitness Excellence. Her love for health and fitness resulted in a nomination and selection by her leadership to attend a newly developed health and fitness program for the US Army. Following extensive physical and academic training, Petriece earned the title of Master Fitness Trainer for the US Army. Throughout her military career, Petriece taught physical fitness training and oversaw Army Physical Fitness Testing at numerous military bases stateside, abroad, and while deployed.
While stationed in Turkey, in support of Operation Northern Watch, Petriece completed her first half marathon at the age of 27. She was humbled by the experience and quickly realized that although she could run two-miles for the military fitness test effortlessly, 13.1 miles was hard, really hard. This humbling experience was the beginning of her distance running journey. Following her retirement, Petriece decided that she would not run again for a very long time.
She was tired. She quickly realized that she missed running. She missed the time alone with her thoughts and the physical results that running produced. Petriece gradually returned to running and walking short distances (5k/10K). In 2010, less than two years after her retirement, Petriece tragically lost her mother. In search of holistic methods to help her manage grief and depression, Petriece turned to meditation and running. Running became her outlet, driving her to complete over 50 half marathons, a few marathons, 50k, and 50M distances within a few years.
She found peace, solitude, and healing in her running journey. In 2017, Petriece re-entered the world of triathlon. It would be over 20 years since her first triathlon. She was a mediocre swimmer but had enough skills to prevent drowning. Her son, who was the Co-Captain of his high school swim team at the time, joined her. She recalls being lapped by her son while she walked the laps. At the time she could not swim 25 yards without holding on the lane line ropes. With determination, training, and support from her son, Petriece went on to complete numerous local sprint and olympic triathlons, often making the podium. Her new-found love for triathlons led her to successful completion of the Ironman 70.3 distance and Ironman 140.6 distance within two years of her return to triathlon.
Most recently, Petriece completed Ironman North Carolina 70.3 with her son, Jullien.This was the highlight of her triathlon journey. The best proud mom moment ever! While she admits that age and injury have impacted her ability to be as quick as she used to be, she is committed to continuing her health and fitness journey, incorporating triathlon along the way.
Dr. Petriece Culberson is a 20-year retired Army Veteran currently employed by the federal government. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services/Psychology, a Master’s degree in Education, and a Doctorate’s degree in Management and Organizational Leadership. She is the owner of BloomPrint (Life) Coaching, an avid traveler, and a certified scuba diver. During her free time, she enjoys volunteering in support of the underserved in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
Jullien “Jules” Culberson
Jullien Culberson was born in Wiesbaden, Germany while his mother was serving in the US Army and his father played for an overseas basketball club. From birth, Jullien spent many days in the gym while his mother led fitness training for military service members and his father practiced basketball. Jullien began his love for sports at the age of five. For four years, he played basketball with a local basketball club while simultaneously playing soccer for a Southern California Soccer Club.
At the age of ten, he relocated to Texas with his family where he was reintroduced to football. Jullien played several seasons with Plano Sports Authority until an injury brought his football future to an unfortunate end. Jullien did not let his injury prevent him from excelling in sports. Taking an unfamiliar path, Jullien tried out for and made his high school swim team. Recognizing the significant underrepresentation in the swim community, Jullien accepted a position to give swim lessons to young children, making a personal commitment to ensure that African-American children were well trained in basic swim techniques. In this capacity, Jullien also served as a Swim Team Coach for a local swim club in North Texas.
While swimming could not replace his love for football, soccer, and basketball, Jullien was proud to make a presence in an under-represented sport, ultimately earning his position as the team Co-Captain. During his four-year stint on the swim team, Jullien played water polo and completed his first triathlon during the off season.
In 2017, Jullien accompanied his mother for an Indoor Triathlon. The following years he supported his mother as a Sherpa as she trained for and competed in Ironman 70.3 and Ironman 140.6 distances. Witnessing the Ironman journey up close and personal sparked his curiosity. He competed in local triathlons and in Spring of 2022, he registered and committed to his first Ironman 70.3 alongside his mother. The mother-son team affectionately known as Team Culberson, successfully completed Ironman North Carolina 70.3 in October 2022.
Connect with Team Culberson
Connect with Jullien “Jules” Culberson on Instagram
Some of the most important lessons are the ones we learn from failure. Lloyd Henry is a 32-time Ironman & long-course finisher. He overcame the stigma of athletes losing their drive after a loss. He had no background in sports, but progressed to become a sub-3-hour marathoner He has competed in numerous running events (5k to ultra-marathon) including the Boston Marathon and Comrades Marathon (South Africa). He has been running since 2002 and coaching triathletes since 2004.
He uses all his personal experiences to coach effectively. Coach Lloyd Henry takeaways, experiences, and lessons he took and it makes him an effective, compassionate coach. He enjoys seeing his clients as they progress and experience those “ah-ha” moments.
Listen to how an inspiring couch potato turned into the first African-American to finish an Ironman on six continents in 2016 and make it to the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Coach Lloyd Start In Endurance Racing
The Challenge That Start Lloyd Henry Triathlon Journey
From Couch to Triathlons
Learning How to Swim Competitively using Total Immersion
The Trials and Errors of Training and Racing
What Lloyd Learned from His DNF (did not finish)
Defining What Is Fun
Lloyd Henry is a 32-time Ironman & long course finisher and in 2016 became the first African-American to finish an Ironman on six continents plus the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. In addition to the triathlon, Lloyd is a sub-3-hour marathoner and has competed in numerous running events (5k to ultra-marathon) including the Boston Marathon and Comrades Marathon (South Africa). He has been running since 2002 and coaching triathletes since 2004.
Form and technique are the focal points of Lloyd’s coaching style. As a coach, he enjoys seeing clients experience that “ah-ha” moment. Whether it is gliding through the water with ease, finally feeling like a fish in the water, the feel of gravity pulling them forward as they fall into a run, or the sudden outburst of “I‘m running, and it doesn‘t hurt.” He has helped clients learn to swim, improve their stroke, compete in a triathlon, move from the couch to a 5k, finish their first marathon, qualify for Boston and hear those famous words “You Are An Ironman.”
A native of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, Lloyd has a B.S. in Biology, M.S. in Medical Science, PMP, and an MBA. He is also an avid scuba diver, snowboarder, gardener, and Crucian market basket weaver
Pivoting can provide stress and uncertainty as it is changed from an original plan. Change can also be somewhat scary. It can mean changing one’s life, whether it’s a job, a move, or a new journey. Pivoting can be risky yet beneficial. Pivoting lets people follow their passions, although with a new or renewed focus. Pivoting can foster growth. Adapting to a new setting may help one grow and further find themselves. It may allow a new sense of purpose, and a renewed passion.
Changing one’s life can initially be sad as you are in a sense saying goodbye or saying later to something that was initially planned. Life happens, and many times it is not as we planned it. We have to make adjustments. My favorite spectator sport football is all about adjustment, and the best teams know how to do it well. Pivoting is far from simple but in order to keep moving we have to learn to have peace in the process. Often the end is so much better than the initial plan.
In this episode, I will share my journey and experiences and how I am finding peace in my pivot.