Athlete of the Week – Monica Woodward
Fitness became a part of Monica’s life when she began her weight loss journey in 2009 and lost more than 70 pounds within the span of a year. Shortly after that, she became a certified personal trainer. Once moving to Richmond in 2012, she began running in local races and loved it! It wasn’t until she caught the Ironman World Championship on TV that the triathlon seed was planted. She made a pact with a friend to start doing triathlons in 2016. So Monica bought a bike and rode for the first time since she was 15, screaming the entire time! She had been swimming since she was a little kid, so swimming felt very natural. Of course, the running was already in her back pocket. Monica’s first triathlon was the RTC Sprint in 2016. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time. She still gets butterflies before each race!
Monica joined Endorphin Fitness in December 2015 after meeting someone at the EF booth at a local race and was given a flyer. Monica was considering doing triathlon and had heard great things about EF from several friends. It turned out to be a great fit for her!
Just last weekend, Monica completed her 50th race! She still considers herself a rookie at triathlon and has only done a few sprints and two Olympics. She really enjoyed the Patriots Olympic race. Monica feels her strength of holding a Zone 3-4 for a longer time really helps her at this distance. Monica also loves half marathons. She likes locking in at a pace and just going the distance. It’s a challenging distance, but Monica doesn’t think the training consumes your life in any way.
The RTC Sprint 2016, Monica’s first triathlon, was definitely her favorite. It was the first race where she felt like she had a personal cheering station. Her new teammates cheered her on along the course. Competing teammates cheered her on as they passed each other on the bike or run, and many strangers who didn’t know her called out, “Go Endorphin!” as she passed them. The support of the triathlon community surprised her and made her feel so welcome in her first tri– and now every race since.
Monica’s favorite part about triathlon is being able to set individual goals for each part of triathlon and keep working to attain them. Monica loves running, but triathlon makes her step out of her comfort zone and push herself more. “Plus, it’s really cool to tell people you’re a triathlete,” comments Monica.
2017 was a great year for Monica. She PR’d in nearly every run and triathlon this year, but she still believes she has more work to do! For this season, Monica strives to goals of a sub 2:00 min/100m swim and increase speed and power on the bike. For run, she has goals of sub 9:00 short distances and to break 2 hours in the half marathon.
Endorphin Fitness has taught Monica to “Be More” through the coaches who have really helped her believe in herself and her abilities. Monica tends to doubt herself and not push past her comfort zone. But, her EF coaches have helped her overcome the negativity in her head and really push herself more than she thought she could do.
When we asked Monica about advice to beginners, she listed three main points for us: don’t be afraid to ask questions, teammates are your best mentors, and learn to be humble.
- “Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You don’t know what you don’t know. I keep learning from every practice, race, and season!”
- “Teammates are your best mentors. EF has some amazing triathletes swimming, riding, and running right next to you. Watch them and learn from them. Every level of triathlete has something to contribute to your learning—Ironman to fellow rookie.”
- “Learn to be humble. You may panic in the swim, you’ll fall as you learn to unclip, and you will bonk on the run, but take it all as a learning experience and a moment of personal growth. It happens to us all.”