Joanna competed as a professional triathlete from 1998-2010. She placed 4th in the Sydney Olympics and was the 2008 Ironman 70.3 World Champion. She excelled at all 3 distances in the sport of triathlon, winning races in the Olympic, Half Ironman, and Ironman distances. She is an Olympic trials qualifier in 3 sports – marathon, triathlon and swimming.
Joanna’s love for athletics began in the pool. Growing up in San Diego, CA Joanna quickly joined a local swim team at the age of 7 and remained on one until college. In gradual steps, Joanna improved her swimming skills to the extent that she was able to participate in US Olympic Swimming Trials in 1988 and again qualified for the Olympic Swimming Trials in 1992. She swam for Brown University where she broke school records in the distance freestyle events.
Joanna was the first triathlete to race both the Olympics and the Ironman World Championships in the same year (2000).
Joanna turned to running in 1992 after being hampered with temporary swimming injuries in order to provide herself a much-needed athletic outlet. It was a terrific fit and just what the doctor ordered. A year later, cycling found its way into Joanna’s heart with a borrowed bike. With enthusiastic training, the three disciplines jelled shortly thereafter, leading to an age-group win at the Muncie Endurathon and a slot at the Hawaii Ironman Championship. Success at several triathlons including a 9th place finish at Hawaii Ironman earned Joanna Amateur Triathlete of the Year honors in 1997, providing her the confidence to turn pro the following year.
Joanna turned pro in 1998 and was recognized as the USAT Rookie of the Year after demonstrating her triathlon versatility by excelling at both the longer Ironman distance races (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) and the shorter Olympic distance (.93 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run).
In 2000, Joanna won Triathlete of the Year honors for her 4th place finish in the Olympics in Sydney, a 5th place finish, 6 weeks later, at the Hawaii Ironman Championship and a USA Pro Championship victory.
Joanna was the national champion at Olympic (2001), Half-Ironman (2008) and Ironman (2005) distances. In 2008, Joanna competed in her last triathlon Olympic trials. Upon missing out on making the team, she turned to the 70.3 distance and went on a tear winning several races, with the penultimate triumph coming at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships where she won in a world record time.
A career ending injury occurred at the 2009 Ironman 70.3 World Championships when Joanna crashed on her bike during a faulty water bottle hand off.A rib injury sustained in that accident caused years of chronic pain and an inability to a ride a bike. Joanna started her triathlon hiatus in August, 2010.
Undeterred by persistent pain from the injury, Joanna turned to running. She decided to try her hand at something different- her first ever US Cross Country National Championships where she ran as a Masters athlete. Joanna was named the National Champion in the 40-44 age division.
In December 2011, Joanna qualified for her sixth Olympic Trials at the California International Marathon. A few months later, Joanna finished first overall in the Masters division at the cross Country Championships in St. Louis. Joanna set several best times in running events from 10k to the marathon.
In 2014, Joanna won the Shamrock Marathon, broke the Colorado state record in the 40-44 age division in the half marathon, and placed second in the Masters Marathon National Championships at the Twin Cities Marathon.
Joanna has been a coach and mentor to endurance athletes of all ages and abilities since 2003. In the past decade, Joanna has helped athletes reach their goals by concentrating on both the physical and mental aspects of training and competing. In 2013, Joanna expanded her coaching business and created Race Ready Coaching with partner Jared Berg. Race Ready Coaching aims to help athletes achieve their personal best in running, cycling and triathlon through innovative training plans, multi-media, and education.
Joanna has been successful academically while pursuing her athletic dreams. After receiving a B.A. in Psychology (1992) at Brown University Providence, RI, she went on to Northwestern University Chicago, IL to earn her M.S. in Genetic Counseling (1995). Motivated by the excitement of independent research, Joanna earned her Ph.D. in Genetic Epidemiology (2001) at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD. She continued her education as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the same institution.