January 2021 Member Spotlight
For five-year Texas Beef Team member, Sandy Byrne, fitness, having fun and inspiring others is her signature style. This indoor cycling instructor teaches classes at RIDE in Austin, Texas, where she encourages and motivates her “ride tribe,” to achieve their varied objectives. “Everyone comes to class with a different goal. Sometimes is completely physical, sometimes it’s completely therapeutic and emotional, or a combination of things. I get to experience their journey. I’ve literally dropped blood, sweat, and tears on the floor with my riders and I’m always humbled and honored to experience that with them,” says Sandy.
Even though Sandy trains others, she is on her own evolving health and fitness journey. For the last 10 years or so, she has been running and competing in triathlons. She’s run five full marathons and guestimates at least 50+ half marathons plus shorter races and sprint triathlons in the amount where she’s “basically lost track.” Sandy also likes to outdoor cycle and travel, especially if the “travel involves racing or riding my bike”! Before moving to Texas, she was also into surfing.
Sandy is such a vivacious and vocal advocate of beef, who even sports a steak tattoo on her arm, that it’s hard to imagine she was a vegan for eight years. “Starting in my early 20s, I found myself not enjoying meat and gravitating towards meat substitutes and plant-based items on menus,” Sandy explains.
“At the time I was living in Florida and I was an avid surfer. The vegan diet just worked for me at this point in my life. When I got into running and spending more time at the gym, in my late 20s and early 30s, I wasn't achieving the results I wanted and I often felt depleted. I ended up getting a blood workup from my doctor and he said I was extremely iron deficient and he'd have to put me on a prescription to supplement my iron. I cooked a steak that same night for dinner and felt amazing and never looked back!” Although Sandy eats beef now with gusto, she respects people’s choice to follow the dietary eating pattern that suits their values, body and performance expectations. Basically, you do YOU!
Read on to learn more about this interesting and inspiring member we are proud to have on the Texas Beef Team.
Where I’ve Lived: I was born in Oklahoma, moved to Australia at age 3 and lived there until I was 12. I've lived in Delaware, New Jersey, New York City, Chicago, Florida, England, and Texas. I've been a Texan for 12 years now and claim it as my HOME!!!
Favorite Philanthropy: I’m looking forward to fundraising and completing the AidsLifeCycle Ride in California.
Favorite Beef Team Memories: One of the best is meeting fellow Beef Team member, Christie Mayer, at the dinner before Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon San Antonio! My friend and I arrived late and her table had two seats open. We became instant friends! I also have some great memories of traveling with my Beef Team friends to Disney and Las Vegas!
Beef Team Love: I always appreciate the support at races, the support from the staff, and the friendships I’ve made over the years through the team. I like that the team is inclusive of all levels of fitness and race experience. Exercise should feel available to everyone!
Favorite Races: As for a Beef-sponsored races, I’d say Stars at Night Half in San Antonio because I love night races, especially around Christmas time. Plus, there’s always a crazy cold front coming through that motivates me to run faster! For other races, any of the Disney races. The atmosphere at those races is so supportive and inclusive to all levels of runners. One year I did the Princess Half with fellow Beef Team member, Amy Hannan. She was Rapunzel and I was Mother Gothel. I did the whole race with a huge heavy wig on. It was one of my favorite memories from a race EVER! Plus, we got the best photos.
Beef Cuts I Eat Most: Filet mignon on the grill and BBQ ribs in the crockpot
Favorite Recipe: I love beef when it’s prepared simply! Salt & Pepper Steak is my favorite! If I’m feeling wild, I’ll maybe dip it in A1sauce!
What I’ve Learned: I found out that beef is a complete protein. My body always knew it, but it was nice to officially learn!
Funny Comments: Why don’t you just eat black beans?
Motivation: During a race, I’m motivated by the feeling I get crossing the finish line. I try to remember that it’s a privilege to exercise and so I always try and stay positive. Also, I feel completely free when I’m running or cycling. It’s the best meditation. When I race or train, I can be vulnerable and learn things about myself that I never thought were obtainable.
Training Groups: I’ll workout with any person or group who is positive and loves to move! I just joined Violet Crown and I’m excited to start riding with them.
Perspective on PRs: For a long time, I focused a lot on data and PR’s and it started taking away from the experience of the race. At the beginning of every race I set a goal for myself based on how I feel in the moment on that day. It takes the pressure off and I’m able to have fun and if I meet that goal for the day, I’m happy!
Fitness in 2020: When the pandemic shutdown first happened, I just rode my bike all the time at all hours of the day. I remember riding downtown one night and just crying. I don’t think of that as a sad memory but a way to process a really difficult and unknown time. When races start coming back, I’m going to set some new goals. I especially missed the triathlon season and how amazing my body feels when I’m training and racing.
Post-Race Reward: Tacos and beer… always!!!
Favorite Distance: Sprint Tris are always my favorite because I think, “I’m going to make myself suffer for a short time in 3 sports and do it as quickly as possible.”
Dream Celebrity Running Partner: Tom Hardy, because have you seen the movie Warrior???
Pre-Race Fuel: Pre race is always toast or a bagel with peanut butter, banana, and well-timed coffee consumption.
Favorite Running Shoes: Brooks Launch for running!
Let’s Connect: I love connecting with other Beef Team members near and far. Please find me on social media @sandy___beaches on Instagram or Sandy Beaches on Facebook. I love seeing what other members are up to and what races they are doing! You can also book a RIDE class HERE.