Our Athlete of the Week is Beni Thompson. She decided to join EF in June 2016. She knew that if she wanted to complete a full Ironman, she wouldn’t be able to do it without working with a coach.
Her fitness journey begins at age 26, when she participated in triathlons until 29. The last triathlon she did at that time was Ironman Lake Placid in 2000. She collapsed 6 miles from the finish line. It has been permanently stuck in her mind and heart that she didn’t finish. It wasn’t until 2016 that Beni came back to triathlon after having five children between 2002-2007. It took her a while to get back in shape after the twins. Two years ago, she had an Achilles tendon surgery. A friend asked Beni if she would do the kinetic half Ironman at Lake Anna. As soon as she finished that triathlon, she knew she wanted to start training for the Ironman she never finished, which was when she joined EF and met Parker. Parker helped Beni refine her goals to include qualifying for Kona. Parker saw the abilities and potential in Beni differently than she had. That is when Beni started learning about Live Red. Parker has since continued to help Beni refine her goals, including goals she wouldn’t have imagined attempting without his help. With his help, Beni completed another half Ironman and finally went to Ironman North Carolina 2016 where she qualified for Kona! It still makes her smile really big when she thinks of it. However, the bike leg of Ironman NC got cut short because of local flooding. So again, she knew she hadn’t really completed an Ironman. Parker suggested Beni sign up for Ironman Texas. She also did a half Ironman in Pucon, Chile in January, Texas Ironman in April, Rockhall Olympic Distance and Rev3 Olympic Distance in June and July.
Endorphin Fitness taught Beni to “Be More” when she started working with Parker. He could tell that she had real problems believing in herself. She couldn’t even look him in the eye when he told her what goals he thought she could achieve. Parker kept working with Beni, kept pushing to get her past the limits she had set in her mind. Parker inspired her by his own example. He kept Beni laughing which really helped whenever she felt fatigued or had a bad workout or race. Whenever Beni thinks of Live Red, she doesn’t think of winning a race in the measure of her success. Winning for Beni is believing in herself. If she believes in herself and lets everything else get out of the way, when she is at the start line it never fails. She always surpasses what she thought she was capable. Of course it is hard and she can’t always do it. Most of Beni’s fear of failure gets in the way, but Parker taught her to learn from “failures”.
So far, Beni’s season has been great. For the Kinetic Half Ironman, she won masters and fifth overall. Patriots Half IM she was second overall, Ironman NC she was 1st in age group, 6th overall, Pucon 1/2 Ironman 1st age group and 1st overall female, ironman Texas 10th age group, Rockhall Olympic distance 2nd overall, Rev3 Olympic distance 1st overall.
Triathlon has been a roller coaster ride for Beni. Her least favorite race was Ironman Texas, because some guy stopped her mid-swim and decided he wanted to punch Beni! Plus she also had a suit malfunction that left her half nude in the water for a little bit!
Her favorite race was Half Ironman Pucon. There are a couple of reasons: Beni was born in Chile so she was racing in the country of her birth and many of her relatives were living there. Although she was racing as an age grouper, she later found out that former pro Ironman champion Lisa Bentley was racing in her age group and Beni actually beat her for first place! This helped Beni earn her entry into World’s Half Ironman.
Although she is not the best swimmer, she typically comes out of the swim behind. Her favorite part about triathlon is getting on the bike and trying to pass anyone and everyone she can see in front of her until she crosses the finish line.
Triathlon is about a commitment to fitness. It’s not about the fanciest bike or equipment. Other than your own self-motivation your best asset to achieving your goals is the coach that helps you to get there. If you have to choose between equipment and coaching, coaching will help you reach your goals.