One Brooklyn women isn’t letting COVID-19 stop her from fulfilling a dream.
Jerrica Moon, a flight nurse and mother of three children, is training for the 70.3 mile Des Moines Ironman slated for June 21.
The Ironman consists of a 1.2 mile swim in Grays Lake, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile half marathon.
Moon, who had only competed in local Sprint Triathlons, said she had been throwing the idea around in her head of participating in the Ironman and at first planned to volunteer instead of participating in the event.
“But then COVID-19 came into our lives and I really needed something to focus on and a race to strive towards,” she said.
Moon was active in sports growing up, but after graduating in 2002 from Montezuma, she fell out her routine until about three years ago when she started running to lose weight.
Soon after that, Moon said a friend ask her to do a half marathon with her. “I said sure, thinking “how hard could it be, right?” she recalled.
“Man was I wrong,” she added. “But that was also a turning point for me. I started training more frequently and for longer distances. Soon it was something that my mind and body craved. If I didn’t get out, I found myself getting restless and grumpy! Luckily, my family caught onto that and would kick me out to get a run in!”
Moon officially signed up for the Ironman in early March and started focusing her training on all three sports at a time. She knew Brian Manatt, president of Manatts, had competed in Ironman races before, so she reached out to see if he might be interested in doing the Des Moines race with her and he agreed.
“I wanted someone who had competed in these races prior that would be able to help guide the way on race day and give me pointers along the way,” said Moon.
In preparing for the race, Moon does two long bike rides of 40-50 miles at a time each week and also two long runs of 8-10 miles each week.
“I not only work to further my distance but work to decrease the time it takes to go that distance,” said Moon of her workouts. “I also do a strengthening and core workout two times a week. The seventh day is up for grabs.”
Unfortunately, Moon said due to COVID-19, pools have been shut down and swimming has not been an option in her training regimen.
“Up until the pools being shut down, I’d swim 1.5-2 miles once a week,
she said. “Hopefully the lakes will be warming up and we can go practice in the open water!”
When asked what drives and pushes her to compete in the long races, Moon said self-discipline.
“It gives you something to strive towards and something to look forward to,” she said. “And most importantly. I hope I’m instilling values in my children that things won’t always be easy and that’s ok. Take the path that pushes you, challenges you and changes you! You won’t regret it.”
Moon’s ideal goal is to finish the Ironman in under six hours.
“I also know that there’ll be factors that may increase or decrease my time,” she said. “Weather playing a big part in that.”
When asked what she enjoys the most about competing and racing, Moon said the people she meets and the friendships developed along the way have been keys to her success.
“It never ceases to amaze me the encouragement that complete strangers give to each other,” she said. “We’re out competing against each other, but at the same time, we’re each other's biggest supporters!”
Moon has been a nurse for 15 years. And for the past 6.5 years, she has been a flight nurse with LifeFlight, UnityPoint Health Des Moines.
“Having the opportunity to care for those who are critically ill and injured is a strong passion of mine.”
Moon and her husband, Andy, have been married for 13 years and have three amazing children – Paisley, 8, Brooks, 4, and Lane, 3.
“Thanks to my husband and family that help watch and take care of the kids while I train and chase after this crazy adventure. Without them, it definitely wouldn’t be possible,” she said.