American professional triathlete Sarah Piampiano chats with ESPNW about how she discovered multisport.

American professional triathlete Sarah Piampiano chats with ESPNW about how she discovered multisport.

In the fall of 2009, Sarah Piampiano was having drinks with an old college friend who was getting ready to compete in a triathlon. Spurred on by a lifelong competitive spirit and a bit too much liquid courage, Piampiano bet him that she’d finish in front of himwithout any training at all.

Piampiano had been a nationally ranked cross-country runner and ski racer at Stratton Mountain Schoolan elite high school ski academy in Vermontbut by age 30, she’d become an investment banker rising in the ranks at financial giant HSBC. She worked 90- to 100-hour weeks, spending at least 14 days a month traveling to Asia, Europe and South and Central America. The long hours and time away had derailed multiple efforts to join a gym or play in a soccer league, so her health had taken a back seat for years. It didn’t help that she smoked cigarettes and partied frequently.

And yet, Piampiano won the bet. She beat her friend in that race, and on that day, her life changed. Within three years she had completely reinvented herself as a professional triathlete and Ironman competitor.

“I was surprised how much I enjoyed it,” Piampiano said of that first race. “It was really hard and there were points where I was kind of miserable, but I loved it. There’s just a high you get when you put yourself in that environment and you accomplish something like that. It felt so good to do something active and healthy for myself.”

Read more: Espn.go.com

RELATED – ProFile: Sarah Piampiano