We all love a good comeback story and as we are counting down to the Winter Olympics, NBC just launched this inspiring commercial of skier Lindsey Vonn. If you aren’t familiar with the popular skier, she is one of the most decorated female skiers in the US but has suffered significant injuries while racing and training to her knee and most recently a severe arm fracture.
But a champion who doesn’t quit, Lindsey will be representing the US at the 2018 Olympics in the coming weeks. If you haven’t seen the commercial, grab a tissue and give it a watch her comeback story:
This week we also highlighted the story of Paul Linck on our podcast. Paul is an Atlanta-based athlete who almost lost his life to cancer in 2016. He fought back to race the Ironman World Championship in Kona this past year.
All of us have some sort of come back story. We all start with hopes and dreams and then life derails us.
For some of us, it’s an accident or illness like Lindsey and Paul.
For others, it’s a job loss, a child with a disability, a relationship that went sideways, a bout of depression that never seems to go away, aging parents or –insert your story–.
Sometimes we feel like we’ll never be the person we were before our life was interrupted.
And we won’t be.
But we have the opportunity to be someone else.
Someone wiser and stronger.
Someone who understands loss and has more empathy for others.
Someone who knows that she is strong and can make it through anything.
One thing we have learned over the years is sometimes making a comeback in your life can be as simple as giving yourself the challenge to try something new. That’s why we strongly encourage people to sign up for their first triathlon. Over the years we’ve heard hundreds of stories of men and women who have seen their lives change through the process of training.
We put together a free resource to help you get started on your journey. Just download it here
Paul Linck has been a consistent face on the triathlon circuit around the Southeast for the past decade, although you may sometimes may confuse him with his twin brother who is also an avid racer and his biggest fan.
After taking up running to get into shape and meeting some big goals, Paul transitioned over to triathlon with many of the same rookie mistakes that all beginners make. He found himself to be a strong cyclist and runner and a passable swimmer and soon this hobby became a passion.
Paul has raced every distance from Sprint to Ironman and has qualified 5 times for the Ironman World Championship Race in Hawaii.
In 2015 he raced the bike portion of Ironman Florida as a relay for the Kyle Pease Foundation. Between the chair and the Kyle Pease athlete, Paul pushed more than his bodyweight for 112 miles.
Feeling strong as a result of the preparation to push in the race, Paul decided to give a full Ironman a go just two weeks later in Arizona. There he qualified once again for the Ironman World Championship.
Everything was on track until a doctor’s visit in 2016. Paul was diagnosed with cancer and ended up spending the next year fighting for his life.
Ironman gave Paul a one-year deferral and going back to Kona became a personal challenge that fueled his spirit through a long and difficult recovery.
April Gellatly might be the most positive person you encounter on an Ironman course. With lots of energy, positive feedback and a LOUD voice, and likely dressed in pink, you’ll know April when you meet her. Once a pro-triathlete, she is now active on the course as a coach and cheerleader.
April started got her start in triathlon early in life. Her community had a very active youth triathlon program. As the youngest of three, a sister who was a world-class swimmer and a talented brother, April found herself excelling in triathlon. It was a place where she got the attention of the most important man in her life, her dad.
Tragically, at the age of 20, April lost her dad to suicide. After his death, she once again returned to triathlon as her place of stability. She set her sights on racing the Ironman World Championship and qualified at her first Ironman in Wisconsin. April shares about that first race experience – both her rookie mistakes and what it meant to complete that race with her dad in mind.
April graduated from college on the verge of the recession and just one year into her first job, she was laid off. Again, she found triathlon to be a place of stability and decided to take her pro card.
April shares the good and bad of life as a pro and what made her decide to leave the pro world and focus on her coaching business. She has a passion for triathlon and you might even find her racing on a pink cruiser with her mom!
Whether you’re thinking of your first triathlon or dreaming of Kona, April’s story of grit and her practical advice will get you ready for the next step.
Tere Derbez-Zacher started swimming when she was 24-years old and began to dream of becoming a World Champion. Her coach told her she was too old and didn’t have the abilities. Rather than giving up, she promptly left that coach and found an inexperienced coach who believed in her and was eager to learn. She now has 10 World Championship medals – 1 Gold, 7 Silver and 2 Bronze. It was through this experience that Tere learned the power of your mindset to achieve big goals.
Listen to the podcast
Wanting to understand more about the power of the mind, Tere moved from Mexico to Arizona to pursue not one but two Master’s degrees (one in counseling and one in sports psychology). It was there she met her husband and eventually had their daughter.
A friend invited her to go out for a run one weekend and she was hooked. Tere set a new goal of representing Mexico in the Rio Olympics. At the age of 44, she went to the games as the first alternate on the Olympic team. She’s not done yet. She hopes to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Team in Tokyo where she would compete at the age of 48.
Tere believes that you are the only one who determines your limits and she spends her time teaching that to both aspiring and high-level athletes. We have a great conversation about how you develop this mindset, how you protect your life from people who will not help you achieve your goals, how to find the right coach and why some coaches will not empower your dreams as well as much more
You don’t want to miss this conversation where we hear her story and learn insights on how to master your mindset to accomplish big goals.
Tere teaches private clinics and works with individual athletes. You can find her at Insightful Runner
My club, Atlanta Triathlon Club, participates in this challenge each year. Having a competitive nature, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge each year as we join together as a team to try to swim, bike or run more miles than other clubs.
This year, the club decided to put more emphasis on training all three sports over the winter after seeing some members struggle with injury or burn out after focusing on a single sport too much. A few years when I swam 25 miles in a month, my chiropractor gave me a stern warning to never do that again with the shoulder issues that I have.
Because December was so busy and I got sick, I wasn’t super into the challenge this year until my friend Tim planted the idea of streaking during bike month. Don’t worry mom, this kind of streaking is done fully (mostly) clothed.
After my bike accident in June, my bike and I had a break-up. Literally, my bike broke and I put it up not to be touched again for months. I hauled it out of storage and took it to my trusted mechanic at all3sports. A few days later it came back repaired and clean.
I believe I was a few glasses of wine in on December 30th when I sent a text message to Tim saying I was in for the January bike streak. If you’ve ever met Tim, he’s the most dedicated, consistent athlete I know so I knew that when I made a commitment to streak with him, there was no backing out.
January 1 found me tired from a New Year’s Eve party and getting the very short ride in before heading to Shinabrunch, an all-day brunch my friends Jeff and Andre Shinabarger host on New Year’s Day. I really wanted to text Tim to say I’d start on the 2nd, but I knew if I did that, I would never start. So 40-minutes later, I had put in the first trainer ride on my bike in almost 6-months and was ready for brunch.
As I write this, I just completed day 11. Some days have been good, and some have not been so good. If you’ve ever gotten back on the saddle day after day after a long absence, you know why. And many rides are short – just 30-minutes and very easy!
A few people have asked, why bother? Does a short, easy ride really do anything for you?
Physically, not really. I get a little muscle memory but when is say some days are really easy — they are like easy, easy.
For me, this challenge is more of a mental challenge.
I was having a great season when I had my bike accident and afterwards, I dreaded the bike. I couldn’t keep up when I went to ride. I was seeing all of the hard work I had put in that year vanish and I was nervous about another accident.
The less I trained, the less I wanted to train.
And that was okay, there are seasons to rest and recover.
But one thing I know about myself is that discipline in one area of my life leads to discipline in other areas of my life.
And the easiest place to get the ball rolling is in my fitness routine.
When I choose to do something, even when I don’t FEEL like it., even when I don’t see the immediate benefit, I get empowered.
I train myself to do the things I don’t want to do which in turn helps me be more successful in my overall goals.
Goal setting is fun. It’s the hard work that it takes in between setting the goal and completing it that requires you to push through all of those times you don’t feel like doing something.
And oddly, when I jump on the trainer and put in a ride, even a very short ride, I feel empowered to finish the tasks that I don’t feel like doing that day related to my other goals.
I have big goals for 2018. Like some scary big ones. I’ve realized that goals need habits cultivated in my life if I want to see them through.
So that’s why I’ve committed to riding my bike every day in January. I don’t have a secret Ironman on the calendar. I’m not trying to rack up miles for a challenge. I’m only partially motivated by getting back into shape. Those would all be good reasons.
But for me, I need to once-again train my mind to push through the moments that I don’t feel like doing something to accomplish a goal. To know that I am able to do the things I say I will do.
As Bethany and I have been talking more about our motto at Grit and Dirt, we’ve talked about how much we like the idea of a small change disrupting your life.
The word disrupt often has a negative connotation but in many cases, we need a disruption to take us out of the routine that is comfortable but unfulfilling or the excuses we make that keep us from our goals.
Choosing to bring something in that disrupts us from the norm can be a powerful catalyst for change.
That’s why we really believe that if you’ve been on the fence about signing up for that first triathlon, or 5k, or Spartan Race…or whatever it may be, that you should do it!
Are you ready to get started but need some support? We’ve started a Grit and Dirt online community via facebook. It’s a place you can share your story and get a whole lot of dirt on training and racing….or just ask all the questions you want to ask before you sign up.
Haley Chura didn’t dream of becoming a professional triathlete when she was a collegiate swimmer at the University of Georgia. Far from it, she dreamed of life as an accountant.
After graduating from UGA, Haley went on to work for an accounting firm in Atlanta. It was her boss who challenged her to start running with him. She ran her first marathon with him and beat him by a minute. This led her to join the Master’s Team at Dynamo Multisport and beginning to race triathlon.
After a few years and a lot of racing, Haley ended up quitting her job to become a pro triathlete.
Haley’s journey as a pro has been full of ups and downs and valuable lessons. She was hit by a car while training in the North Georgia Mountains and the aftermath of the accident eventually led her to relocate to Montana. Get the full story
Haley’s seen some big success on the Ironman and 70.3 circuits, winning Ironman Brazil and placing in the top 10 at the 70.3 World Championship and she’s now using her platform to influence women in sport as the host of the Ironwomen Podcast.
Haley is down to earth and a ton of fun and a self-proclaimed great talker (we agree!). We think you’ll enjoy our interview with her as much as we did!
On a final note, this podcast is being released on the same day her alma mater, the University of Georgia is playing in the National Championship Football Game! Go Dawgs!
As soon as you start a conversation with Jeff and Andre Shinabarger, you know that they are truly opposites in every way. Their playful banter and opposite perspective when sharing a story give you insight into how two strong-willed leaders who want to change the world have learned how to stay in love and raise a healthy family while they pursue their passions.
Jeff and Andre always knew they had big dreams. She serves as a Physician’s Assistant at Grady Healthcare in Atlanta and Jeff is the Founder and Executive Director of a nonprofit in Atlanta called Plywood People, where he leads a community of startups who are doing good. Listen to their story.
It doesn’t take long to hear their passion for impacting the world. They have dreams and have worked hard to build a platform for those dreams. But, early in their lives as new parents, they started to discover that they had to change the way they were living if they wanted to stay in love and raise a healthy family. This led them to a series of decisions which included a 3-month sabbatical in Nicaragua where they began the process of changing the way they operated as a couple and a family.
This interview is chalked full of dirt for anyone wrestling with some of those same questions as they live out their passion. You’ll learn how they’ve created rhythms in life that work for them and the radical steps they’ve taken to stay healthy in the midst of a busy life.
Even though Jesica D’Avanza grew up with parents who instilled confidence in her abilities from an early age and a father who was a role model as an elite runner, when it came to her own personal journey to running, Jesica shares a story that many of us can relate to.
She grew up running high school track but as she began her own journey into endurance running, she started to realize how some of her self-limited beliefs were holding her back. The things she learned as she set goals first to complete long-distance events and then to hit time goals, started to grow her confidence in other areas of her life. Listen to her full story on the podcast.
In 2012, Jesica began her blog, runladylike.com – appropriately named by combining the words “run” and “unladylike” – where she shares her uncensored and unladylike adventures of running and marathon training. (listen to the podcast for poop stories – yep, we all have them, she just isn’t shy about sharing them!)
Jesica also shares about her journey to becoming a mom and how she’s had to adapt to the change in her body from pregnancy and childbirth. She’s very honest about the physical and mental challenges that come with having your body completely transformed.
Jesica has completed eight marathons, 12 half marathons and numerous triathlons, including two half iron distance races. She received her marathon coaching certification from the North American Academy of Sport Fitness Professionals and actively coaches runners of all levels. In her day job, she serves as vice president of marketing communications for the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to ending muscle disease. You can connect with her at @rUnladylike on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Business owners understand that the time, intentional effort, and planning they put into their business will directly result in the long-term success and growth of their business. As they began to build and grow a successful fitness business (FitWit), Josh and Erin Guerrieri found this to be true. They had to spend time working on the business instead of just working in the business. It’s allowed them to ride the wave of fitness trends and build a sustainable business that continues to grow. Read more “Podcast – Josh and Erin Guerrieri on Running a Family Like a Small Business”
Megan Melgaard may have gills. At least that’s what most people would think when they start to understand how much time she spends in the water. Today we chat with this entrepreneur (or better yet, ‘aquapreneur’) to learn the all about the adventures and challenges she’s encountered while following her dreams. Read more “Podcast Megan Melgaard on Swimming Adventures and Changing Lives”