“She will blaze through you like a gypsy wildfire. Igniting your soul and dancing in its flames. And when she is gone, the smell of her smoke will be the only thing left to soothe you.” ― Nicole Lyons
“Let’s race. I know I can beat you.” said the cocky 5th grade boy to me. I said okay and arranged for him to meet me before cross country practice for the “epic” race. I waited and waited, he didn’t show. Coward, I thought to myself. We proceeded with our regular cross country practice. It was a 4 mile run with uphill windsprints. We were the Taft Elementary cross country team, a small group of 3 female runners. I was fast when I was little even going to cross country nationals (I peaked at age 8 and have never been that fast again). Lol. After practice as we cooled down, the fresh faced blonde boy showed up, ready to race. My first instinct was to tell him to forget it! But our cross country coach nodded at me and said “Go ahead, you can still take him.” As we ran through Dellwood Park together for 2 miles, the time passed quickly. No one spoke. I was well warmed up and feeling AMAZING. I could see his fatigue, his breathing labored. And as he began to fade, I could see his inner struggle. If I beat him, he would be the laughing stock of Taft Elementary School. When I saw his will breaking, I made my move, and left him in my dust as if he was standing still. I won that race. The satisfaction stills run very deeply through me. It was the first time someone thought he was better than me simply because I was a girl.
The world is full of amazing women who do incredible things. Women that have no fear, women that break through stereotypes and pave the way for others to do the impossible.
She grabbed her racing bike and jumped on. The fact that she was wearing flip flops never occurred to her. She proceeded with glee to ride through the beautiful Washington DC hotel’s sweeping marble ramps. The feeling was pure freedom and joy. The bold triathlete was in her element. Unfortunately, hotel security did not view it the same way. Women who break stereotypes are quite often, unfairly judged.
J’aime Nyheim defies all stereotypes. She is a petite, lithe triathlete with the fierceness of a warrior. She is a strong woman with a heart of gold. She served in the United States Navy as an operation specialist. She studied international business in South Korea. She has a degree in financial services from San Diego State. She is a proud wife, mother, real estate agent and President of Sherwood Racing.
She grew up in Oregon, raised by an amazing single mother. She was taught to be fiercely independent and incredibly kind. She was told from a young age that she is as tough as any man. And that she is just as capable as a man. Being raised by strong women, molded her into the woman she is today. When she left for bootcamp, her Aunt told her “Give them Hell J’aime, give them Hell.” And that’s exactly what she did.
A lifelong athlete, she learned to swim at age 3. She dabbled in criterium cycling before falling in love with triathlon. A fellow military wife introduced her to the sport. The pair quickly developed a friendship and bond through triathlon training. It is this bond that planted the seed of Sherwood Racing.
Sherwood Racing is a team of dynamic female athletes who passionately support our nation’s warfighters. They band together through long workouts and longer deployments to provide camaraderie for fellow military spouses. Sherwood Racing’s three pronged mission is represented by the arrows in our icon; we race as a team, fundraise for the Navy SEAL Foundation, and cultivate community camaraderie though triathlons.
This group of 12 incredible women stand for everything that is right in our country. They are strong, dedicated, passionate women that have banded together for the common good. Their camaraderie helps them get through the incredibly difficult daily life of being a military wife. Their sacrifice often goes unseen. But their dignity, grace and loyalty are without parallel. It takes a strong woman to live this life.
I asked J’aime what her favorite thing about triathlon training is. “My absolute favorite thing about triathlon is the tribe of Sherwood Racing. There is nothing more uplifting than to go for a long run with a dear friend for a solid sanity session. Being able to mutually bounce off ideas, ask for advice, and vent is incredibly fulfilling. I find great joy seeing the women of Sherwood Racing encouraging each other to tackle longer distances and supporting each other along the way.”
Sherwood Racing has grown into a force to be reckoned with in the triathlon world. They very often dominate the podium stand. They race with a ferocity that comes from deep within.
This tight knit group of amazing women defy stereotypes every day. They train hard. They live clean. They work hard. They love hard. These are not merely women standing in the background of their husbands. They are fighters in their own right. They sacrifice for our country. They fight for their families. They fight to break stereotypes of women, mile by mile, yard by yard as they train. Do not mistake their beauty for weakness. These are not fragile flowers. They are the new normal. They are women and they are strong.