Being a triathlete takes a special type of person. You must be dedicated. You must be strong. And you must be willing to never give up on your dreams, even when the going gets tough.
In today’s athlete mash-up (a new blog series you can look forward to seeing every month or so!) I’ll introduce you to two AMAZING athletes here at Rising Tide Triathlon Coaching. Often, when you train for an endurance event like Ironman, time spent practicing can seem all consuming. And that’s why I’d like to take a step back today to show you a different side of our crazy-awesome swimmer-biker-runners.
Not only are these two ladies borderline superhuman in the sport of triathlon, wait until you learn a little more about their lives outside the sport! Jen Knickerbocker and Sarah Jarvis are both Ironmans AND Super Mommas. Sarah is our pro and training for triathlon is her full-time job, while Jen is a pro in the business world – traveling internationally 50-80% of the time as a senior partner at Deloitte.
Interested in learning more about how Sarah and Jen balance their family/training/work loads? Check out our interviews below with these two ladies. You’ll be amazed! First, we’ll hear from each about their family lives before looking at some combined answers, including advice and tips about being Super Mommas.
Sarah grew up in Germany. Her family being very active, she played all sorts of sports until falling in love with triathlon at 16 years old. She came to the States in 1998 as a high school exchange student. The rest is history!
Sarah – What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Most of all, routine gets me out of bed. Alarm goes off and I get up. I just do it without thinking. If I happen to have a rough morning, I ask myself: which decision are you going to regret: Getting up or sleeping in? I like to be home and done training when my kids get back from school so I can spend the afternoon with them. I can only do that if I wake up early.
Tell us more about your kids and family!
I met Karl, my husband, at Brigham Young University. He was getting his Masters in Biology and I studied linguistics. After a year of running, biking, climbing, and mountaineering together, we got married in 2004 in Utah. Now, we have two active and fun boys: Max (7) and Noah (10).
So…What do your kids think of your triathlon training?
Honestly? They don’t care a whole lot. They are involved in other sports and although they have both done a couple of kids’ triathlons, they want to be doing what their friends are doing. They come to a couple of my races each year and mostly enjoy squirting me with the water guns they bring along!
When they get older, I hope to be able to do some fun athletic adventures with them but they do not need to be triathlon related. From time to time we talk about how having a goal or dream requires some sacrifices along the way but the journey should also be fulfilling and fun!
Jen currently lives in Brentwood, TN and is a partner at Deloitte. She balances the 80% international travel that her job requires with Ironman racing. Her positive attitude is the first thing you notice when you meet her, it's no wonder she's found success in Ironman racing!
Okay Jen, so what gets you out of bed in the morning?
I love to solve challenging problems and thrive on accomplishment. Not to mention any chance to get out in nature will get me up in a heartbeat. Fitness also gets me out of bed - it is a priority. I had heart surgery 10 years ago and I am committed to keeping my heart healthy so I can be here for my kids and can climb mountains when I'm 95!
Tell us more about your kids and family!
I have five awesome, very active, athletic boys! Two are in college now (21 and 19 years old), two are in high school (17 and 14) and I have one sweet 1st grader (6). I've been married to my very best friend for 24 blissful years. He's been a full-time dad for 20 years and is THE REASON for all of my success in life and at work.
Love it! What do your kids think about your training?
My kids think it's normal for me to set up my bike on a trainer while I watch a soccer or lacrosse game, to run while they warm-up or at halftime, or to be walking in the door from a swim when they're coming down for breakfast before school. And I think that's perfect.
I know they're proud of me when I finish an Ironman or a 50k or a 50-miler, and I think this has contributed to their self-confidence as well. I've set the example that if you put in the work to accomplish something big, you can do just that!
We also asked Sarah and Jen a few other questions, which they answered quite similarly! While every triathlete is unique, there are just some things we all agree on :).
So I have to ask – what is your favorite aspect about being a triathlete?
(Spoiler Alert: Neither could pick JUST ONE favorite thing!)
Sarah: I love traveling to new/fun/beautiful/warm places, the amazing triathlon community (they’re like family), and being in good enough shape to basically do anything at the drop of a hat. Traveling to new/fun/beautiful /warm places and spending a lot of time outside!
Jen: I enjoy the multi-sport aspect (the variety of the workouts), how strong I feel when I train consistently, and the community of fun, committed athletes.
What is the one piece of advice you would like to give to moms competing in triathlon?
Sarah: Find a friend who you can swap childcare with - this was the main thing that saved me as a young mother.
Jen: Being an active, fit mom is a gift to your kids - you're demonstrating the value of health, and your energy and positivity will benefit your family and all those around you.
You’ve had a long day of training, what do you do to chill/relax/have fun?
Sarah: At the end of the day, I am most relaxed when I know I have spent enough time with my family.
Jen: I love hanging out with my family and friends.
So there you have it! Our athletes here at RTTC are not only talented in the sport, but also in their personal lives (no surprise there). Balance is key when it comes to all aspects of life, and I hope getting to know Sarah and Jen a little more has inspired you! They inspire us every day here.
The importance of family, love and support has been a key theme throughout today’s athlete mash-up. Do you have someone or a group of people who inspire and support your dreams and aspirations? Post about them @RisingTideTri on Instagram, FaceBook and Twitter.