Our Athlete of the Week this week is Alexandra Poole!
Alexandra began her triathlon journey by competing in weekly races at a park next door to her house in 2014. She did not have a coach or many goals for the sport other than to improve her time at that specific one-hour race each week. By the end of the summer, she had achieved her goal of lowering her time significantly. She wanted to set new goals, however, she did not know where to begin. Fortunately, a few weeks later, she met the coach of a triathlon team nearby. After training with that team for the next two years, she was introduced to draft legal racing. Since then, she has improved immensely. When she joined Endorphin Fitness, she started focusing more on swimming, which led her to a top 20 finish at Youth Elite Nationals this past season.
Alexandra decided to join Endorphin Fitness when her friends told her about how much they had improved at Endorphin Fitness with Coach Michael. Thinking back, Alexandra says, “I think what ultimately made me want to join was when I warmed up with EF at a race in Clermont, Florida. The team atmosphere was so different from what I had previously experienced, and it made me feel very motivated. “
For triathlon, Alexandra has completed the sprint and super sprint distances. Her favorite is the sprint distance. Someday soon, Alexandra would like to complete a half Ironman. If she were capable of doing that, she would feel as though she was capable of much more than she initially thought.
Alexandra’s favorite part about triathlon is that it doesn’t get boring. Many of her friends do one sport 6-7 days a week, but she feels especially lucky to do several; it’s always exciting for her.
Alexandra’s favorite race experience was at East Coast Triathlon Festival 2017. She did not think she was going to qualify for Nationals at that race, even though it was her goal. Her friends in Connecticut wished her luck the night before the race, which motivated her a lot. She realized how lucky she was to have such supportive friends. Right before the race, Coach Michael came up to wish her luck and discuss race strategy. Alexandra still has her dad’s picture of her and Michael talking that day. Alexandra says she has never had a coach as supportive as Michael is, and that was what really put her in the right mindset. She ended placing 16th and qualifying. She was elated. After always considering herself one of the slower triathletes her age, her perception was changed after this race.
2016 Youth Elite Nationals was not as great for Alexandra. She placed in the mid-40s, even though she expected to place much higher. It is said that in a triathlon, you cannot win the race in the swim, but you can lose it. Alexandra lost it in the swim. Cycling is her strongest of the three components in triathlon; but since it was a draft legal race she struggled to make up time on the bike. It was frustrating for her, seeing the field way ahead of her, when she knew she had trained just much as many of them. It took several weeks after that to get her motivation back up to train. But what is most important is that she did. She was able to use that race to inspire herself to get faster. It took some time and prompting from parents and friends, but she thinks it was the right way to approach failure.
So far this 2017 season has been the best season yet. Since joining EF, Alexandra has qualified for Nationals at ECTF, and placed 18th at Nationals. After recovering from mono during the beginning months of 2017 and unable to train, she did not think it was feasible for her. She didn’t think she was going to be able to compete at draft legal races this season. But Alexandra prevailed and she did. Alex comments on her season, “I think it’s fair to say that I succeeded this triathlon season. That’s something I’m really proud of.”
This coming season, Alexandra will be aging up from Youth Elite to Junior Elite. She has heard from many of her triathlon friends that the transition from Youth Elite to Junior Elite is very difficult. Unsure of what she will be capable of this season, Alexandra set smaller goals for herself. Some of them include improving her swim technique, running under 20 minutes for a 5k, and improving her transitions.
Endorphin Fitness has taught Alexandra to Be More by always taking a positive approach to coaching and training. The workouts that she tries to fit into her busy days are not easy by any means. However, she can tell that Coach Michael makes sure that she does not feel discouraged if she does not perform as well as she hoped. They reassess and move on, which is encouraging for Alexandra.
When we asked Alexandra about her advice to beginners, she said, “My best advice to beginners is to keep going. There are going to be bad times and good times. Everyone fails; it is part of the process. I have had really bad workouts and races, but I think what determines whether or not one is able to succeed is how they deal with failure. Today, you will complete a hard workout and tomorrow you will take on the world. Always remember that.”