Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wow Women Wednesday: Kathy and her Journey at the Xterra National Championship

Kathy Waite from sideline cheerleader to podium winner! 
Hi y'all! I don't know about you, but I love to read about women who are rocking motherhood and finding time to follow their dreams! Kathy is a friend of my sister Jessie, who lives in Colorado (I mean, you can't get better at outdoor living than there!).

Anyways, I saw her post on her podium win via Jessie and loved it. What an accomplishment as the competition attracts some of the best trail runners from across the country! During the race, athletes swim, mountain bike and trail run through rough terrain and elevation.

So inspiring to me as a mom to really make time for my dreams as well as taking care of my family. 

Here's her race recap.


Waite family 

We are in Maui for the XTERRA World Championship race so I have a few quiet moments to myself to write answers to your questions.

I am a 40-year-old mom of three daughters: Emma is 13 and and my twins, Sofia and Noel, are 11 years old. I grew up running with my dad since the age of six years old, but I didn't learn to swim (for real) and bike until I was in my 30s. The reason I got into the triathlon was that I was inspired by a few girlfriends and then I met my husband, Cody, who is a professional triathlete, in 2008. Thankfully, he is not much taller than I am so I was able to ride his bikes. I quickly fell in love with road and mountain biking.

Kathy and her husband Cody 
For a couple of years, I acted as cheerleader for Cody, going with him around Colorado and the country on the XTERRA circuit. I fell in love with the sport but I wasn't in shape to race and I was still learning to mountain bike. I began seriously training for triathlon in 2010 after I recovered from a three level spinal fusion. I am lucky to be coached by husband and to train with our local triathlon club, EPC Multisport. 

I used to be the slowest one in the group but chasing the boys made me get faster and stronger. I was not a podium contender for the first couple of years I raced. This is year four of training and racing and it is so rewarding to see all the hard work paying off.

Balancing life
The most challenging part of the sport is balancing training with being a mom and running a business. I am co-owner of a CrossFit gym in Lakewood, All Pro CrossFit and co-owner of Cody and my triathlon coaching business, Endurance Performance Coaching. I feel better physically, mentally and emotionally when I am focused on goals, so I believe the challenge of triathlon makes me a better person. I am happier than I would be without it. It is a fun life to get to train and race with friends!

Race Day 

I was really nervous going into my last race of the season, the XTERRA National Championship in Snowbasin, Utah. I have had an amazing season this year, finishing on the podium at every race and winning age group regional champ. The pressure was on to meet my final goal: winning the national championship. I texted my friend and business partner, Mark, the day before the race and said that I was afraid I wouldn't be brave enough to suffer on race day. 

He responded that I was brave. His steadfast belief in my inner strength formed the mantra that I repeated over and over again during the run leg of the race: "I am brave, I am tough, I am strong." I truly believe that a successful race comes down to your mental toughness, to be being willing to suffer through pain, and to pushing yourself beyond what you want to do. We can always do more than we think we can.

More about the race: I came off the bike in second place in my age group, or at least I thought so. I knew that I hadn't caught one particular girl that I was aiming for and I wasn't sure who else was ahead of me. I knew I had to run really hard to try to catch her and possibly others. The run begins with a steep mile climb up the side of the ski slope at Snowbasin, which is so painful after a climb-intensive bike ride. 

Waite during the run portion of the race. 
As I neared the top of the first climb, I saw my target cresting the hill. I pushed on to catch her and, even as I passed her, I wondered if I'd be able to hold onto the lead because I was suffering so much. I also wondered if there was another girl in my age group ahead of me. I repeated the mantra numerous times, willing myself to suffer and to have no regrets in the race. I was thrilled to cross the finish line and discover I had, indeed, won my age group. No regrets!

Thanks for sharing your story, Kathy! I love that reminder to "be brave!" Great for every aspect of our lives.

Do you have any mantras that you repeat during hard races?

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