2011-01-20 / News

Triathlete measures her own success by helping others

By Geoff Campbell

Andrea Brayman Andrea Brayman Andrea Brayman graduated from Temple University with a master’s degree in sports administration and was preparing to join the corporate side of sports when her father passed away.

“He was my best friend,” she said. “Everything I learned, I learned from him, directly or indirectly.”

“It was the turning point in my life,” she added.

The search for meaning brought Andrea back to Rhode Island, where she married lifelong Jamestowner David Brayman, and also embarked on a journey to foster good health for everyone she meets.

Andrea went back to the University of Rhode Island for her third degree, a bachelor’s in kinesiology, and also gained her teaching certification for physical education and health. She was going to give kids what they needed to live long and healthy lives.

Andrea said that her 54-yearold father was “the apple of my eye.” He was overweight and diabetic when he succumbed to the fatal heart attack.

“I want people to be as healthy as they can for as long as they can,” she said.

With her teaching degree in hand, she was able to land a physical education teaching position in Jamestown. Along with her work as a personal trainer and her regular coaching stints, Brayman was beginning to be the difference maker that she sought to be.

Over the years she added a boot camp class at Jamestown Fitness Center, a summer camp program hosted by the Conanicut Yacht Club, and more recently she has become a wellness coach with AdvoCare, a national nutrition company.

Brayman believes that in spite of a person’s effort to eat right and provide the body with what it needs, there are times when it is necessary to supplement regular diet in order to achieve “the proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.”

As Brayman spoke of her hands-on involvement in improving the wellness of others, she was quick to point out that in many cases, “they motivate me as much as I motivate them.”

Her goal is simple: live a fulfilling life, be a role model for good health and fitness, and ultimately to see her efforts make a difference: “To have a dad live longer than my dad.”

Brayman said that she is fully committed to helping adults maintain, improve, or reclaim their health, and to educate young people about lifelong wellness.

“Physical education is my love,” Andrea said. “If it has to do with kids and moving, I’m game.”

Zumba dance classes and cyclocross racing – using a street and mountain bike hybrid – are among the unique programs that she has presented to her students in order to show them sustainable activities throughout their lives.

Being a role model for healthy living is important to Brayman. It requires a commitment to physical activity, which is something Andrea has embraced her whole life.

Brayman was a three-sport athlete at North Kingstown High School two decades ago and she remains a three-sport athlete today.

The Ironman 70.3 is actually half the distance in each sport of a full triathlon. A competitor completes a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run. In only her third half Ironman – held last August in Gilford, N.H. – Brayman finished third out of 194 participants who completed the race in her age group with a time of 5:07.27. That finish automatically qualified her for an invitation to the Ironman 70.3 Series 2010 World Championships held in November in Clearwater, Fla.

Andrea completed the World Championship course in 4:55:57 a remarkable improvement of 11:30. She finished 28th out of the 88 invited athletes, who also qualified by finishing in the top two or three in her age group, in races all over the world.

Brayman’s athleticism and penchant for competition was made evident in her high school field hockey days. By her own description, she was an intense playmaking midfielder. As a senior captain Andrea led her team to a state championship.

Following high school, Brayman enrolled at URI where she played division-I field hockey and earned a degree in communications. She went on to Temple – an Atlantic-10 colleague of URI – where she was a graduate assistant coach and a strength conditioning coach for Temple’s high-powered field hockey team.

Always seeking healthy physical outlets, Brayman ran her first marathon as a senior at URI. She realized that she would be more likely to sustain a triathlon-training regimen over her lifetime than a marathon-training regimen. She ran her last marathon in 2007 and set a goal to complete her first full triathlon before she is 40.

The Lake Placid Ironman Triathlon is scheduled for July 24, and Brayman, not yet 40, intends to be there.

Admittedly self motivated and driven, she believes that living a healthy life is everybody’s possibility. “Don’t tell me you can’t or don’t have the time, if I can do it, you can,” she said.

She finds pleasure in helping others, being a role model for her kids, and changing lives.

“Share your passion and help others,” Andrea said. “There is nothing better than that.”

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