How long have you been a member of Team LUNA Chix?
This is my second season on the Phoenix Triathlon team. I have been on the team since April 2014.
What inspired you to join the team?
It was the encouragement I received from the LUNA Chix when I first entered the triathlon world that inspired me to join the team after I gained experience. I wanted to help women take their first steps, just like LUNA Chix helped me get started. I was inspired by the encouragement of like-minded women to do something that I didn’t think was possible.
I had been a runner for a few years when joined a LUNA bike in August 2012. Running injuries led me to try swimming and biking as cross training, but I didn’t think I’d ever actually DO a triathlon. I was the slowest person on the ride ride, but the LUNA team made me feel welcome. LUNA Chick Jill stayed with me the whole time, encouraging me because, she said, I could do more than I thought I could.
The next weekend, I showed up at LUNA’s open water swim clinic with then LUNA Pro Terra Castro at a nearby lake. We learned about wetsuits, drafting in the water and (gasp!) peeing on the bike. LUNA Chick Kim discussed googles with me and even offered to meet me for coffee because I was kinda, sorta thinking about doing a triathlon.
One more LUNA bike workout, and I was convinced. I was going to be a triathlete. I completed by first one in September, two months after my first LUNA workout, and I remember seeing LUNA Chick Laura before the race with a big smile, telling me “You’re going to love this.” She was right.
What's the value of the Team LUNA Chix program?
The program is invaluable.
The Pro team is filled of amazing athletes that have advanced sports for women of all levels. The LUNA pros are so accomplished (for instance this year, Katerina Nash won her first endure event at the Nor-Cal Enduro series and Catharine Pendrel won the Sea Otter Classic XC), yet they are so humble and willing to help the local teams by leading clinics in our cities and at Summit. They are amazing!
The sponsored athletes offer a great guide to the many of us who are balancing our race schedules with busy lives. As my life is about to get a lot busier (with a baby due June 11) , I can look to Andrea Fisher as an example of a woman who has young children, yet still finds time to excel at triathlons.
And of course the local teams have provided the most value to me. The local Phoenix team has created an atmosphere of encouragement that has led to the strongest bond among friends. I’ve watched women accomplish so much by being connected to LUNA from their first open water swim to their Ironman distance PR, and I’ve met some pretty heft goals myself, including two 70.3 distance races and competing in a triathlon while I was eight months pregnant.
What's been the most memorable event/race during your time with TLC?
My most memorable race was in May 2015, when I raced with my LUNA kit at eight months pregnant. It was at Esprit de She, a female-only triathlon in Tempe, AZ, that our team used as a focal point for the season. We held clinics in advance that specifically targeted the Esprit de She course to encourage women to participate.
I was happy to only volunteer at the event, which was the original plan, but the Friday before I got the opportunity to get a race entry. I discussed with the LUNA team, and they encouraged me to go for it. I wasn’t sure I could do it, even the short super sprint distance, but I had the fire inside me to try. Plus, since I did the shortest distance, I was still able to volunteer for the women who competed in the longer races.
Yes, I was slow; yes, I didn’t quite fit in my kit; and yes, the eight miles on the bike felt like 60; but I did it! It was so great to get the encouragement from spectators as they would say “Go LUNA mama!” and “You are amazing.”
It was the most memorable because it embodies what being on the LUNA team means: taking the leap into something you want that’s hard. I did it knowing I had the support and love of like-minded women. People outside of this world may think I’m crazy, but the LUNA Chix and their supporters get me; that is something I won’t forget.
What female (or male) pro athlete do you look up to and why?
I want to answer every LUNA pro athlete! I want to handle a bike like Andrea Waldis, jump from triathlons to cyclocross like Hannah Rae Finchamp, and get an Olympic medal like Georgia Gould.
But the athlete that I most look up to is LUNA sponsored athlete Terra Castro. She led an open water swim clinic for the Phoenix Triathlon Team in 2012 that I attended before I competed in a triathlon. Watching her ease in the water and her run form were amazing, and she was so kind to give us tips on improving in these areas of triathlon. I saw her, and I thought, “If that’s a triathlete, that’s what I’m want to be.”
A year later, Terra came back to lead a transition clinic for the team. By this time had a few races under my belt, but was not on the LUNA team yet. She showed us how to lay out our items and how to put cycling shoes on while riding so we could leave them clipped on the bike.
I still use the tips she gave us about swimming, running and transitions, but the best lesson she taught was to keep it fun. She said racing should be fun, and if it isn’t, we need to change something to make it that way. That’s something I remind myself when the training gets discouraging.
I’ve followed Terra on social media after her retirement from the LUNA pro team and her move to Detroit where she coaches at a gym and continues to push people to accomplish their goals. Plus, I am in love with her new dog Luna; Terra, please post more pics of her!
What does "be bold" or "stepping out of your comfort zone" mean to you and how have you lived out either of these mantras in your own life?
Real life happens outside of the comfort zone. It’s a risk, and it’s scary to know that failure is just over that cliff, but expanding beyond want you know can do is what give us memories. Happiness comes from growth, and that can only be achieved by leaving the security of sameness.
Triathlons are a great way for me to step out of my comfort zone, always with a mind to conquer new distances, challenges and races. My first sprint was so remarkable, but then so was the first Olympic. In 2014, I completed my first 70.3 in a race I was warned against; it was a difficult course and poorly run. After that, I knew I could do anything. My second 70.3 triathlon came a week after I found out I was pregnant.
This pregnancy has spurred many uncomfortable thoughts. I am happy and excited for my son to come within the next two weeks, but it’s not comfortable to think about how he will change everything. Can I still be a triathlete? Will I be able to meet my work and personal commitments with a baby? Can I even be a mom?
I’m sure the answers will be yes; in fact, they have to be yeses for me to keep sane.
But just to ensure I continue to step out of my comfort zone, I have signed up for my third 70.3 triathlon less than five months after I give birth. Thankfully, I will have the support of most of the Phoenix LUNA Triathlon team and other amazing tri women who have also signed up for Ironman Austin 70.3 on Nov. 8.
Can I train for this race with a new born? It won’t be comfortable, but it will give me memories and make me happy.
What LUNA flavor coincides with your personality and why?
My favorite LUNA bar: Honey Salted Peanut. Like me, its diversity combines to create a sweet, strong package that’s (mostly) organic. Also like me, it encourages women to get through difficult training days.