Terra: My name is Terra Castro. I’ve raced with team LUNA since 2005. I joined the traveling team, the pro biking team in 2006. I have been with them ever since and raced internationally in the Ironman Triathlon and transitioned in 2013, 2014 to being a full time coach retired from triathlon racing. I transitioned over to running full time and coaching.
I run an endurance program through my coaching company called, Be Bold Crew in Detroit, Michigan. It’s linked up with Detroit tough gym. That’s what I do full time now. I meet with athletes. I coach probably 40 athletes within that program and then people around the US via trainingpeaks.com, an online training log.
I was brought up to share my passion and shine my light. My Be Bold coaching company each letter means something. The B is believing in yourself and what you can do. The O is outpour of effort. The L means being a light to others or shining your light. The D stands for being determined and dedicated toward reaching your goals. I work with a few elite juniors but also my adults who are maybe just getting into fitness. I really want them to learn that it’s not just about the fitness but the bigger picture. That it motivates them to get out the door each day.
Q: It sounds like you’ve had a long time to build up this belief in yourself and this confidence to be able to share it with others. How did you get into that sport and how has it helped you develop that sense?
Terra: I got into the sport. We always had to do one sport. I got tired of swimming and one of my coaches went to running. I remember being 14 or 15 and I was watching the Chicago Triathlon, which at the time was called Mrs. T’s - the world’s biggest triathlon. My grandfather was racing it. I got super competitive seeing other girls my age. The next year I did my first triathlon. I had no idea what I was doing. I qualified for Nationals. In my third race ever, I qualified to do triathlon world.
My grandfather, he’s my buddy. I would really say like a second dad. He has race professionally as a cyclist and alternate in the ’56 Olympics in cycling. He and I just connected on that athletic level. He and I have traveled the world. He’s an example to me of hard work, that family legacy of sport, but using the sport to do life with others and community, and to help others grow. He’s on his sixth round of cancer. He’s a five-time cancer survivor. That’s where that be bold comes from. Yeah, my perspective of my last two years of racing pro, I did really well. I kept going up the ladder. Life got a little harder. I ended up getting divorced last year. Stuff happens, but it’s what you hold as your north and my faith. Being bold is part of that. That’s where my family has held me true to my values.
Q: Wow, is your grandfather still active even going through cancer treatments?
Terra: Absolutely, he is very active. Matter of fact, he runs about four miles a day. He has neuropathy in his legs. He can’t feel his legs unfortunately when he needs to use the restroom, those kinds of things. He’s that bold guy to me. He still does what he can. I helped him sign up for the Chicago marathon in the fall for the lottery. We’re hoping he gets in. He will be 84. That’s the standard. He came from Denmark. He’s American but he was born here and moved over there at 6 months. That’s just his life. That’s the family I’ve come from. LUNA to me is that. They’re true to their values. Co-owners Gary and Kit love all of the team members and host us at their house. It’s a family.
Q: That’s amazing. If that doesn’t inspire you then what does?
Terra: I don’t know. I have no excuse to not get out the door. I want to share my story. That’s the big thing about LUNA, sharing your story and being courageous no matter what you face. Divorce sucks but I was married 12 years. I’m 34 but life keeps going. That’s where using the sport to shine your light, that’s what I was given. Some people are CEO’s. I was given legs that go fast.
Q: How did you know that you were good at sports?
Terra: Yeah, I kind of did but I’m very type A and did well. That natural kid that did well without trying very hard. Then my dad played football in college. My mom swam. There was always this genetic aspect. Then I just won’t quit. I just have that personality. I’m just going to keep going through that wall until it breaks down and I’m going to get to that next level. I knew and then the blessing of the LUNA contract fell into my lap.
It just snowballed into an amazing career.
Q: I hear that your grandfather still tries to go out there and cheer you on, right?
Terra: Oh yes, absolutely. He has probably been to all my Ironman’s except for Ironman Hawaii. There are a couple other ones he’s missed but we’ve been to Australia together, Germany, France, Switzerland. It’s very important to me to share this journey with family and having him there was always a calming sense. He can sense when I’m holding back and not pushing or he’s the one that can yell at me and tell me to go and I listen.
Q: That’s amazing. Back to LUNA and your belief in how they support women athletes to really be everything they can be. What does it mean to you to hear that everyone benefits when woman pursues her own unique adventure?
Terra: I think it’s that aspect like I was saying of sharing your story, being an example and leading through that. It trickles down. When one person takes that step, another person’s going to see it. A young girl might see it. Then there’s this ripple effect. We need to keep encouraging women to do it- to be bold and be confident and go outside the comfort zone even if it’s walking a 5K or going to the gym three days a week. I love that LUNA’s been so passionate and gentle about it too. There’s a grace about it and staying true to that we’re women and we have different nutritional needs, maybe different emotional needs than men and that’s okay. We have multiple world champions on our team. We also have cancer survivors who are on the age group teams. We have women who have never run who run a 5K. That wide variety is so encouraging and it leaves the door open that no one feels intimidated. I think that’s really important. It’s about empowering women to be confident.
Q: Within your own company, the be bold, what kind of inspiring stories have you seen from just doing that?
Terra: You know there’s a few. I love working with teenagers. I was a teenager once. I definitely remember that time frame of it being so miserable. You don’t really understand your parents, your emotions, and your hormones. I traveled around the US last year with a junior. Sometimes you don’t know the impact you’re making until later or after the fact.
She wrote me a letter that I have on my pin board in my office. It’s private but the impact that I made on her life and helped her to see maybe some wise choices. Also to help her pull out the athlete in her. It’s hard. People are on their iPhones and they’re Instagramming and socializing. Selfies and going out to partying and at 16 it’s hard to differentiate what’s most important. She’s a very gifted, national champion level athlete. We were able to encourage her and direct her toward now she’s going to Monterey at the youth games in a couple months. It’s about investing. I was a volunteer coaching through this with her. We met three times a week. We went to breakfast. We did life together which is important. As a coach, that it’s not just giving them workout but teaching them how to put the workout for their life and how to do life. They’re young. That was a really touching thing. Really touching.
Q: Do you consider yourself a role model then?
Terra: Yeah, I hope so. That’s the whole idea of the Be Bold. Beboldcrew.com is my website. I want all of my athletes to be mentor to others. If that trickled down like LUNA does. It’s not just about the coach but it’s about the team of athletes that I have. The athletes that meet at Detroit’s tough gym, we meet daily for workouts whether it’s swim, bike, and or run. We do community service work. They’re going to help me with a kids’ triathlon in the city of Detroit this summer. They encourage one another. We’re all different levels. Some people run seven-minute miles. Some people run 12-minute miles. Somehow the group works together and we all train together. That’s where the role model stuff comes in. I leave it to my athletes so then I can step back and I’m just coaching. They’re doing the encouraging if that makes sense.
Q: How has it been different from being a competitor to being a coach? Seeing both sides now.
Terra: You know, it’s funny. It was a hard transition at first. I had lived. I was a pro since 2003 so over 10 years of training full time, six to eight hours a day. All I did was sleep, eat, do life as a triathlete. It took me a good year to just find my balance again. I didn’t remember what normal life was like working 16 hours a day at a desk or running a business. I’m finally getting the swing of things. It’s very helpful as a coach to see that other side. The life I lived as a pro isn’t normal. Quite frankly isn’t healthy for most people. It’s nice now to see what my athletes are going through so I can relate better to them as a coach.
Q: Wow, that’s great. We talked a little bit about all the different people who are a part of the crew and all the things they’ve accomplished. How do you think that you or LUNA help women break through to accomplish something they didn’t think they otherwise could have?
Terra: I think whether it’s the Team LUNA Chix or my daily workouts at the gym, I think it’s accountability. It’s great to think you want to do something but it’s putting it down on paper, writing a goal, telling someone and then being accountable to working towards it. I think as women we’re so good about getting together, chit chatting and having happy hour but as women athletes we have a whole another level of “How are your goals going? what’s going on? How can I help you? What do you need from me? Can we do this together?” That’s what LUNA’s about.
It’s been great through my career, LUNA Pro Catharine Pendrel would send me emails. You’re doing great. Stay focused. I remember the last Olympics sending her emails before the race. We love you. You can do this. It’s that encouragement that women need. We have more emotional needs than men. This whole women community that we’ve developed really does that. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or you’re just getting started. We can all encourage one another.
Q: That’s great. It’s strength in numbers.
Terra: Absolutely. We’re not supposed to do life alone. Do life. Do sports. Sports are so healing too. Sports are not only about going fast but using them to heal our soul. I learned that over the last year of getting divorced. I feel like I can relate to more people now because life drama. Sport can also be healing in terms of turning your life around.
Q: Not every woman is super active. People are active on different levels. Say someone wants to get into it, why do you think they should get on a mountain bike if they never have before or train for a marathon?
Terra: You have to face your fears. It’s easy to stay comfortable. I made a pact with myself after I realized where my marriage was going that I had settled for a very long time. Never settling is a great way to live in terms of it’s so easy to stay comfortable. It’s so easy to just get into a routine and not live your life. Do the things that are scary. If it’s walking three miles. If that’s scary, let’s get you started. Let’s start with half a mile.
Let’s start with two lap of the track. Facing those things is going to make you a better, bolder and stronger person. It just takes a little courage in facing that fear and taking that first step. It can be anything. You don’t have to go and do a marathon. It can be the 5K. It could be going to the gym and joining a Zumba class. Being active is just the most important thing.
Q: That’s great. That brings to mind the image of bravery to me. You do have to be brave to get out of your comfort zone. What does it mean to you?
Terra: Being brave, I think for me that means the whole not settling. It means being courageous when there are storms. There will be storms but the thing with storms is there are rainbows at the end. You have to be brave enough to stick out that storm to see that rainbow. LUNA has given me so much strength. The people in this community to stay true to myself and my values and be brave enough to talk all those steps to get to that rainbow. It might be a little cheesy explanation but it’s a great visual. It’s a storm and hail. It might get yuckier before it gets better but there is that rainbow. I’m living it now. I’m happy. I’m training. I own a business in Detroit. People want to tear down our city but we’re growing. There are kids who come. Last week we had six junior high kids, a couple parents and ten members of our gym. We have almost 200 members clean the streets together. We got bagels donated and coffee. It’s about doing life and community. Leaving a legacy, be brave enough to leave a legacy to change people’s life.
Q: That’s interesting that you are in Detroit because we hear so many things going on there that are not good. How has that challenge been to grow a business in a city that a lot of people might able seeing as falling apart?
Terra: I was born and raised in metro Detroit, so a suburb. When I ended up getting divorced I moved back home obviously to live with my parents. It’s funny. People call the city broken but it matched where I was in my emotions and where I was in my life. Come to find u, the city like myself, we’re not broken. We’re just building. I had to choose joy like our city is choosing joy. There’s a beautiful clock in our city. We have this huge group of young entrepreneurs that meet. We go for runs together. Who own businesses, one’s an organic juice company called Drought. The other one is Parker Street Market. I’m actually going to move into a little space next to their market and put in a little endurance gym there. We are banding together as business owners to change what’s happening in the city. We clean the streets. It’s crazy. It’s going to take time but it’s a bunch of people who don’t quit. We are brave enough to say, we don’t care. Obviously you need to be smart. Don’t leave your purse in the car. There’s certain streets that you don’t drive. I’m 34 and run the street with the women in my group. We’re perfectly fine. It’s the movies and the news that scare people away.
Q: That’s true. It is all about the perception. You never know until you actually go there.
Terra: Yeah, I’m a white girl opening a business in Detroit. My boyfriend owns his own business too. We’re in the black. We don’t have debt. We were having to turn people away. We’re about to have a waiting list for our gym. These are people who drive from the suburbs into Detroit to work out. It’s cool. I don’t even know how to explain it other than if you are bold enough to stand up and want to change a culture, people are willing to hear you out and join you. That’s what LUNA’s doing.
Q: Absolute, they’re giving voice and really uplifting women who are not only athletes but film makers. They’re business owners. You totally embody that.
Terra I wouldn’t be here without them. I would not. There will be a day where I get to sit in front of Gary and Kit and just explain how much, not just financially, equipment and stuff, but how much they have taught me and grown me as a company.
Q: How did you change from before LUNA to now?
Terra: You know, I was young. When I signed with LUNA, I was 25. I was actually trying to start a business with my ex-husband. It went under and we were going bankrupt. I got on my knees and we prayed about this. Literally in 24 hours I had this contract. It’s one of these things where you’re at the right place at the right time. I literally would not be in the sport if I hadn’t come across the LUNA deal. I had emailed an agent and they literally saved my career and have directed my steps since in a positive way. You’re young. When you start in the sport, you’re like it’s going to be great. I’m going to make all this money and all these things. I’ve lived a lifestyle that not many triathletes have gotten. They struggle to find sponsors, bike support, and clothing. This is the whole package. It was bikes, some financial support and love and care. It was a blessing. It was an absolute blessing. Now I pray every day that I give that back. They give it to me and now I’m trying to give that to the community that I’m in. Plus, I give out like a bazillion mini LUNA bars all the time at my gym. People love it. Especially the boys. I hand out product and people are hoarding the free bars. It’s good. It’s a good place to be in 11 years.
Q: You’ve talked a lot about ups and downs. What’s the hardest/most worthy challenge you’re facing right now? (Professionally) What’s the hardest/most worthy challenge you’re facing right now? (Personally)
Terra: In sport, I’ve had some dark moments in terms of flat tires or almost injuries and reevaluations of where my fitness it, that kind of thing. I think the hardest thing in life has been having to redo my life. What I thought was me starting over in the last year actually was just moving forward. It was finally hitting my rainbow. I have a boyfriend now and we believe the same. We’re running businesses in Detroit together. He’s here at the LUNA summit with me. He’s out doing his run. Life can be even better than you can imagine. I didn’t know that. The not settling, I settled for a long time. Looking back it makes me a little sad that I could’ve maybe made some different choices. Those choices have led me to where I’m at now so I’m grateful for those dark times. If I didn’t have the dark times I wouldn’t be where I’m at.
Q: It sounds like you’re in such a good place right now. It sounds like you’re the happiest you’ve probably ever been.
Terra: Yes, the thing is I didn’t know this … I thought it existed but now I know. I’m grateful for that. Sport helped me get there and making some proper choices.
Q: What advice would you give then to other women who are struggling to accomplish something whether it be a sport or whether it be a business goal or career goal?
Terra: I would say never quit. Never ever, it’s going to get hard. It’ll get shitty and it might get shittier. I don’t know how you want to bleep that one out. There will be dark moments but that’s where you stick your feet down and you stand firm on your values and you are brave and you are bold and you are courageous. You focus on the strength that you’re given and that you have. Most everyone has the strength, they just don’t utilize it fully. Get accountability. Join a LUNA group. Go start working out. Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. Don’t quit. Just one step at a time, you might go backwards and you’ll go forward again but be brave enough to move forward. I actually tattooed be bold. The day I decided I asked for my divorce I got it tattooed on my forearm because I don’t want to forget that I chose to be bold. When it’s hard, I look down at my forearm and I’m like, okay. I didn’t forget. I think for women that just stands out to me. Being bold, brave and courageous. Whether it’s a business goal, fitness goal, or some kind of life goal, you just don’t quit.
Q: Wow, that’s such a mantra. Be bold.
Terra: It is. I just can’t let go of it. That’s why my coaching company is that. I don’t know. There’s just something about it.
Q: Now, if you could get a whole day to yourself – because it sounds like you’re a very busy woman—what would you do?
Terra: A whole day to myself. Right now, I’d probably sleep.
Q: What if it was a week?
Terra: You know what? I would go up north. In northern Michigan there are so many lakes. I would just spend time in the woods and be quiet. I would throw my phone in the water. I would have no social media and no internet. I would read. I would run. I would just train because there’s a lot of peace that I get from training. That was my quiet place. Now that I don’t have as much time to train, I miss that because it’s comfortable. Also we shouldn’t focus on living comfortable lives because where get comfortable that’s when we settle. I would just love a week of that self-care and that quiet. I’m not used to having a bazillion voicemails and emails, managing people and all these things, lawyers. It’s fun but it would be nice to check out for a week.
Q: Absolutely, wouldn’t we all?
Terra: I know. I know it exists. I know someday. This is where you set timelines too in life. You’ll live a certain way. We call it hustle. People in Detroit call it Detroit Hustles Harder. People make sure it’s like that. We do. If you can make a business survive in Detroit, you can make a business survive anywhere just because of the finances and the logistics and stuff. For now, be bold go big, work harder.
Q: Do you think that in 20 years when you look back on your life, what do you think you’ll have wanted to accomplish? What do you wish for yourself personally?
Terra: I’m getting all teary eyed. This is a teary-eyed interview. I want to look back … It’s funny. My boyfriend and I were just talking about this yesterday. We’ve had some business stuff come up. We want to be true, loyal to the people in our lives but true to our values and look back and see the legacy that we’ve left. Hopefully grandkids, kids but we just touched people’s lives and made the community around us happy. It’s not about us. It never is. It’s not about me. It’s about us. The community that I’m in, I hope to make an impact whether it’s little or big. It not being a selfish desire but about others.
Terra: Hopefully I’ll find myself in 20 years sitting on a beach up north in a chair with a coffee and a book. I’ll still be working out but there’s a point where you slow down and you hand over what you’re doing to someone else. You let them carry it on.
Terra: So that other people get that blessing. Hopefully sharing my blessings that I’ve had with others. LUNA’s helping me do that. I’m not racing professional in the capacity that I was but I’m still a part of their team. That’s a blessing and I’m very grateful for that.
Q: Perfect and what are you doing with the team now?
Terra: I’m a LUNA-sponsored athlete. I go around and teach clinics for the numerous teams that we have round the US. If you go to LUNA.TeamLUNAChix.com you’ll see all the teams that we have, mountain biking, running, triathlon, cycling. Then I do a lot of media tours. I’ll be in New York City in May teaching some spin classes. I love motivational speaking. I think they redirected now what I’m doing to share my story which I love. I’ll share it to anyone who will listen. Sharing the passion that is LUNA. It’s turned from going through tons of races to racing a little bit but then doing more marketing and branding stuff. It’s fun.
Q: Yeah, so for next year where do you hope to be? What do you hope to accomplish?
Terra: Next year, in 2016 I will have hoped to run a sub-three hour marathon. I was trying to qualify for Olympic trials in the marathon but owning a business is very busy. I have limited training time, imagine that. I’m trying to take care of myself. In a year from now I hope to be a bit more organized. Hopefully maybe have an assistant. I have an assistant coach I hired this week. I hope to be married and potentially looking at the option of kids. It’s up to the business I hope to expand and I hope to have a second gym.
Q: Big goals and we wish you the best of luck. It sounds like you’re well on your way.
Terra: Thank you. Absolutely, yeah, it was part of the be bold thing. I just can’t stay where I’m at.
Q: When looking back, how would you define your own adventure" (personally and professionally)?
Terra: Bold and courageous. Stay true to your mission. Believe. Stand firm. Hustle and stay humble.
Q: In 20 years when you are looking back on your life, what do you hope you will have accomplished? What do you wish for yourself?
Terra: I impacted others shining my light in coaching and sport. I founded a thriving community in Detroit through be bold crew and Detroit tough with the company expanding both with athletes and coaches so I can enjoy more management and marketing role from home. Kids and more time in the woods.
Q: How do you create time in your life for your work/training?
Terra: Ask for help from others, no excuses no whining, there is an hour a day to train. It's my recharge quiet time and is needed because I still have athletic goals along side my business goals. You have to delegate duties, be realistic to do list with priority items the focus daily, letting go and shutting down by 8 pm daily when possible
Q: How do you create time in your life for rest/rejuvenation?
Terra: I just started working to get one full day off a week. Been pushing 7 days a week, but that's what it takes- hustle- when starting a company. I try to fit in a daily nap even if 20 minutes of closing my eyes. In the morning I use quiet time to journal and pray. I schedule a weekend away once a month with boyfriend - up north to the woods to train and recharge.
Q: Tell me about a time when you’ve pushed out of your comfort zone, but did it anyway?
Terra: In the final mile plus of Ironman Kentucky 2013, I had a choice to dig deep and pass a girl about 1/2 mile ahead of me, to run into 3rd. In that moment I had to shut off the how I felt/tell my legs to shut up, and work to make the pass. I will never forget that finish.
Q: Tell me a time when you followed your true north, even when everyone around you was saying the opposite?
Terra: When I moved to Detroit post divorce. It's been the best thing and hardest thing I have ever done.
Q: As a member of Team LUNA Chix, you are connecting your work with LUNA. What was it about LUNA that compelled you to trust your personal brand with theirs?
Terra: LUNA has been a sponsor of mine since I toed my first Ironman start line. They have been a part of my sport journey and now my sport business journey. LUNA believes in being bold as I do. Bold steps to encourage women to be active and to conquer the women nutrition market.
Q: In 6 words or less, how would you encourage. a women to be bold? or to break through?
Terra: Believe. Outpour of effort. Light. Determined.