How long have you been coached by Endorphin Fitness? 8 years
What made you decide to join EF? A couple friends had been doing some of the bike workouts with EF and saying how great it was. I had done a few triathlons but was looking for more structured coaching. Looking at the group schedule, I was impressed with the number of coached workouts offered and decided to give it a try. The coaches were amazing and I was seeing big improvements in my fitness so I’m glad I took the leap.
Tell me a little bit about your fitness / triathlon journey from start to finish. My fitness journey started as an adult. While in school (high school and college), I primarily challenged myself academically. After graduating college I started seeking a new way to challenge myself and I found cycling. After years of just exploring Wisconsin’s northeast county roads, sometimes going 60+ miles just because, I decided I wanted to do a century. In 2000, I completed my first century bike ride and continued riding at least one century every year through 2005. By that time I had moved to Iowa and I had friends who were running marathons. I thought, if I can ride 100 miles, I can surely run 26.2 so I signed up to run my first marathon in fall 2005. It wasn’t pretty, but I did complete my first marathon. That was also when I heard someone talking about their Ironman triathlon race in Madison, Wisconsin which piqued my interest. In 2006, while still living in Iowa, I found a coach and started to learn to swim. However, by May I was moving across the country to Virginia and I switched back to running and completed my second marathon in Hawaii. In 2007, I decided I wanted to do a triathlon so I signed up for the inaugural I Love the Tavern sprint tri. Again, it wasn’t pretty, but I was so excited that I finished the swim, I just had a huge smile throughout the bike and run. At that point, I was hooked. I completed multiple sprints, Olympics and a couple half Ironman races over the next several years. By 2012, I was ready to attempt my first full Ironman and the EF team that year decided to race IMWI. It was destiny! That was an incredible journey, from training all they way through the race. The next year I raced IMFL with a huge group of friends from EF which was a blast! I continued to mix in running and some tris over that last few years, but this year I decided to turn all my attention to running, focusing primarily on 5k’s. And I’ve only just started…
How has Endorphin Fitness taught you to be more? I think over the years working with so many of the amazing coaches at EF, I have pushed past perceived limits for myself and discovered that I am capable of so much more. This of course carries over into life in general and there’s a quiet confidence that comes with that.
Which race distances have you done and what is your favorite? I have done everything from a 5k to a marathon and sprints to full Ironman. My favorite distance…right now I’m having a blast running 5k’s! I’ll probably build back up to half marathons at some point.
What are your main goals this season? My goal this season is run focus. I’m going back to basics with running, relearning fundamentals and focusing on my speed. I had so many mental blocks around running, and specifically running fast, that I wanted to take this year to break those down and test new limits. Basically, redefining my mantra “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” It means one thing when you are training or racing an Ironman triathlon, but it is totally different when racing a 5k.
How has your season gone this far this year? Amazing! I have shaved nearly 3 minutes off my 5k time in 9 months! Not sure what else to say other than I am having a ton of fun and have re-discovered my joy in the training/racing.
Tell me about your favorite and least favorite race experience. I think one of my most memorable race experiences was my first ironman at Ironman Wisconsin. Set in Madison, it was basically racing in my hometown which was awesome! Although there were a lot of amazing moments during that race, one that I will never forget is as I was running around the capital square that last time making my way to the finish chute, I said out loud “What the heck did I just do?” A fellow athlete near me replied “You just made a memory.” Maybe my least favorite race experience was my DNF at Rev3 Williamsburg in 2013. At the time I was heartbroken, but looking back I was able to use that experience, build from it, and go on to have a great race later that year at IMFL.
What is your favorite part about triathlon? Although I’m not racing triathlons this year, I think my favorite part of triathlon is the community. I have so many amazing friends that I have met through this great sport. That makes my heart full. But if you are asking what discipline in triathlon is my favorite – the bike. Hands down. (Sorry, Coach Ryan.)