Multisport and Motherhood

Multisport and Motherhood

by Laura C.

My plate is undoubtedly full.  I work part-time, have two young kids, a husband who frequently travels internationally for work, an aging parent, and all of the commitments that come with raising kids… school responsibilities, participation in a myriad of activities, scheduling playdates, church commitments, not to mention the daily to-do list of kid hygiene, meals, laundry, and tending to our elderly dog… the list goes on and on!  Add to all of this chaos that I love the sport of triathlon.  It may seem impossible to some that amidst all of these activities, I could even fit in a workout or training for a race.  Turns out, it’s quite the opposite; this is actually what keeps me sane and helps fuel me (along with a little coffee) 🙂 as a mother.  My experiences with ET have only heightened my interest and love for the sport and I am realizing how Experience Triathlon and being a coached athlete has helped me to streamline my training so that I can be there for all of these commitments.

My mom was a runner, and she got me hooked on running and swimming at an early age.  She was a bit afraid of the water and made certain that my sister and I did not face the same fear; we spent lots of time in swimming lessons, which progressed to participation in swim team.  As for running, I remember doing a race with her when I was in grade school and we made a game out of counting to see if we could pass anyone on the way towards the finish line.  (We did!)  It was so much fun!  I continued with track and cross country in junior high and high school, then took on the challenge of running the Chicago Marathon during graduate school.

My love of triathlon began in 2001, when I decided that my body wasn’t cut out for the rigors of the marathon. My husband helped me figure out the biking element, and I entered my first triathlon.  Needless to say, I was hooked!  I participated in tris during the summer months for a couple years before my focus switched to starting a family.  Once the kids were toddlers, I got back to triathlons, but I always felt like I was just winging it in races and training, kind of making up my own workouts and spending LOTS of time searching magazines and the web for ideas.  I knew that with some more guidance, I could perform better and be more organized.  I learned about ET after visiting their booth at SheROX expo in mid June, 2011.  I had considered seeking a coach to help me get more streamlined but I had not yet found a group or coaching experience that seemed to be a good fit.  I discovered that ET was having a Summer Camp in Madison, WI and I literally couldn’t stop thinking about attending—it seemed like just what I was looking for.  After talking with Coach Joe, I decided to take the total plunge and not only attend camp, but to sign up as a coached athlete with my AWESOME coach, Coach Suzy.  A great decision!!!

Since then, my time with ET has been wonderful!  Summer Camp in Madison was a little intimidating at first, because I didn’t know anyone in ET and had only met Coach Suzy once, but my fears were quickly gone, as everyone was friendly and fun, and so dedicated.  Now I really look forward to the group runs and biking for the camaraderie and great people.  I love the variety and challenge that Coach Suzy’s workouts provide, and I know that these are workouts I would not attempt on my own without the input, guidance, and encouragement of a coach.  Not to mention the fact that I no longer have to spend time searching for workout ideas in books, magazines, the web–just wake up and do my scheduled workout!  I feel that I have become more accountable (to myself and to Coach Suzy) and rarely skip a workout just because my day has been crazy, or because I haven’t allotted enough time for a workout.  Because I am more organized with my training, this helps me to focus more time on all of the other responsibilities that I have, namely my family.  Based on Coach Suzy’s input, I had great tris this summer at the Danskin Women’s Triathlon and the Chicago Triathlon, finishing in the top ten in my age group at both races.  Most recently, I had what felt to me like a breakthrough race at the Hot Chocolate 15K, finishing in 1:17 and improving my time from 2010 by 4 minutes!  Thanks for pushing and encouraging me, Coach!

One of the other important lessons that I have learned from ET and Coach Suzy, relates to staying present to whatever you are presently involved in.  Sometime this means staying focused on a particular leg of a triathlon.  I’ve come to appreciate that this is also a good philosophy for a busy mom to follow.  For me, it also means trying to really focus my attention on the kids when we are playing, rather than checking my email, washing dishes, or sorting the mail.  It means concentrating on getting the “chores” at home done so that I can get to that workout or free time with my family.  It means allowing myself to be 100% available to the task at hand mentally and physically; it’s tough to do this, but really important.  I’m very appreciative to Suzy for having offered this piece of advice.

Juggling this lifestyle is no doubt crazy.  There are many times when it’s hard to fit in everything that some days present, and I feel like I’m on the go from when the alarm sounds at 5am until my head hits the pillow at 11pm, and I still haven’t even touched that laundry! 🙂 But joining ET has been an excellent decision; I don’t have to figure out the triathlon stuff alone and have an awesome support system in the team and in my husband!  Swimming, biking, and running keep me sane and help relieve stress, thus making me a happier mom and wife. Finally, it’s important to me to be a role model of a strong, active, athletic woman for my kids, especially for my daughter, and I know that they see this through my training and races.

For any mom (or dad for that matter!) out there looking for some support in their triathlon training, or thinking about doing their first triathlon, I would highly recommend ET!  Your plate may be full like mine, but there’s always room on it for support and guidance from seasoned coaches and a team like ET!  In the end you may even find that you actually have MORE time to dedicate to your loved ones.

Thanks so much to Coach Suzy, Coach Joe, and the whole ET group for being so warm and welcoming.  And thanks also to my husband Mike for everything-love you honey!

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