Nicole S. Stepped Her Way to IRONMAN Status for Melanoma Research

IM Kona Nicole

Nicole S. set a goal to become an IRONMAN for a good cause: raising money to support the Melanoma Research Foundation. Here, she shares her story in her own words.

“Hi, I’m Nicole Serraiocco. I’m a wife, mother of three adorable maniacs, and soon I’ll be an IRONMAN. I’m not a fitness expert or a lifelong devotee to sport. In fact, I only completed my first marathon less than a year ago. But the universe seems to have conspired to present me with this challenge and I’ve decided to accept.

I spend most of my days wrangling three young children, carting them to school and their various activities, trying to keep the house in some kind of relative order and squeeze in workouts when I can. I’ve found that being a part of a class or a group keeps me accountable and motivated, and it was as a member of one of these groups that I met the man who threw the proverbial IRONMAN glove in my face; my rockstar coach, Thad Beaty.

Thad and I discovered that we had the same shared history of losing loved ones to Melanoma cancer, myself having lost my father shortly after I was married, and now supporting a dear friend and mother of three who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Melanoma.

After losing his IRONMAN Kona-inspired teammate Naomi Cermak to the cancer last year, Thad wanted to make an impact on this common disease that seems to get so little attention in the press. He saw something in me, some crazy fire and determination, that prompted him to team me up with the Melanoma Research Foundation as their official IRONMAN athlete for the World Championships at Kona, 2014. Together, we’ve committed to raising $50,000 for the awareness and prevention of Melanoma.

A Day In The Life

My challenge, (aside from tackling the biggest, scariest endurance race of my life) is to find the balance between taking care of myself, taking care of this commitment and taking care of my family.

Taking care of my family means I have to do most of my training early in the morning. If I want to squeeze in a 14-mile run before the kids get up, that means I get up at 4:15am for a run, to be done in time to get the first kid on the bus at 6:30am.

The other day I realized it was only 9am and I had already logged close to 30K steps. I’m bound to get some helicopter badges here, right?

steps nicole

What I also love and rely on [with my Fitbit] is the water intake feature. With all of this training, it’s crucial that I stay hydrated. Fitbit has been a perfect compliment to this aspect of my training. And of course the sleep feature lets me know just how little sleep I get these days. Not always a cheerful update, but at least someone (or something) is acknowledging that I need to hit the hay.

The Road Ahead

On paper, I might not have been the most obvious choice to tackle an IRONMAN. And truth be told, I’m terrified. But at the end of the day I’m not doing this for me. I’m doing it for my father and my friend and everyone else who can’t run a marathon or even take a walk around the block because they are in so much pain due to this deadly, but largely preventable disease.

I have a feeling that before I even get to Kona, my Fitbit will show me I’ve already covered the 4,255-mile distance from Nashville to Hawaii on foot, on the bike, and in the water, all before breakfast. I’m honored to do what I can to help make a difference and am thankful to have great tools, friends, family and coaches to help me become an IRONMAN. Or better yet, an IRONMOM.


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