Jennifer Vandergriff, Triathlete

38, Psychologist at Memphis VAMC and Owner of Vandergriff Psychological Services, PLLC

Family: Sean (husband), Kira and Cooper (cats), and Rowan (dog)


I started running competitively a little over a decade ago doing local 5Ks. To my surprise, over the years I’ve found that my favorite distance is actually the half marathon. My first one was the St. Jude Half Marathon in 2010.


My last few triathlons were the Dragon Fly sprint triathlon and Paris Landing sprint triathlon earlier this summer; I was 4th in my age group at Dragon Fly and 2nd in my age group at Paris Landing. I also participated in the Big Dam Bridge 50-mile bike ride last month.  


The sprint distance triathlon is my favorite distance. I love the challenge of pacing myself through swimming, biking, and running, and the triathlon community here has been so welcoming. That said, my favorite event is probably the 2019 U.S. Masters Spring National Championships for swimming.  


Spending time working out is a way I take care of myself; it gives me a chance to refocus and recharge.


I’m planning on signing up for the Victory Winter Fondo here in town, and testing out some trail running this winter before aiming for a spring half marathon.  


A few years ago, I had a cartilage tear in my right hip. Since I wasn’t able to run for a while, I shifted to swimming during my rehab process. Ultimately, this is what started me on the path to both masters swimming and triathlon. 


My favorite place to travel has been Ireland. As part of my education, I took summer classes through University College Cork and loved everything about the experience.


Bari is my favorite restaurant. I always order the spaghetti alla carbonara. (The orecchiette alla Pugliese is delicious too. I usually steal some when my husband orders it.)


Top three albums are Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Big Star’s #1 Record, and the Beatles’ Abbey Road. 


“If one could run without getting tired, I don’t think one would often want to do anything else.” —C.S. Lewis


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