February’s featured athlete is:
Stefanie Frank from Boulder City, Nevada
Stefanie’s start in the sport was very casual. In 2006, one of her personal training clients sent her a link to the Pumpkinman sprint triathlon. Her client wanted to know if the race would be a good goal. Stef not only said yes but agreed to sign up for the race too. Not knowing how to swim, Stefanie admits that it was probably one of the slowest sprint triathlons ever. Yet she crossed the finish line and knew then – she was hooked!
Of all three sports, running is her favorite because it is the simplest of the three and she believes she has the capability of becoming even faster. In the past year, Stef has worked hard to become more confident with her running and, as a result, has set personal bests in everything from the 5K to the half marathon.
Stefanie feels her biggest challenge is becoming more skilled and confident on the bike. At first she mistakenly thought the bike would be the easiest part of triathlon and the swimming the hardest part. In the past year, Stef has learned to enjoy swimming and now feels the bike is her limiter. Hey, when you enjoy the pool and you are confident about your running – there is only one sport left, the bike! This year she plans to work hard to improve her confidence with the bike, to become less tentative as a cyclist and more skilled overall.
Stefanie and I started working together in late 2007. Before then, she had an entire season of starting the line of several triathlons but not finishing one. Stefanie had done all of the training but come race day there was a disconnect between that training and her confidence. So, in 2008, we worked diligently at improving her confidence. A big part of this was getting Stefanie to embrace that idea that she is an athlete and then assigning her weekly exercises to strengthen her new confidence and strong athlete identity.
Once Stefanie believed in herself as an athlete, her goals and improvement became almost unstoppable. She not only trained for but completed her first half Ironman last November. Choosing what is known as one of the hardest courses in the sport, Stef made it across both start and finish lines at Silverman. No half Ironman is ever easy, especially when you get over 4 flats during the bike portion of the race! Yet Stef had it in her head that this was her race to own – and she kept moving forward and crossed that finish line.
This year, Stefanie has selected Beach 2 Battleship Half Ironman as her top goal. This will be the first time she has traveled to a race and the terrain is unlike what she is used to. Still, she has her eyes on the prize. This year she’s not just going to finish – she’s going to do “well” for herself. Each athlete defines their own goals and I know Stefanie is determined to have her very best swim, bike and run.
In the past year I have watched Stefanie bloom. Sport has transformed who she is and how she holds herself. When I first met Stefanie, she was so tentative. The Stefanie I see now is bold, brave and hungry. In the past year, she has looked for opportunities to stretch herself and grow – and embraces these opportunities whole-heartedly. No longer do small obstacles become big road blocks. She is able to keep moving forward and, most importantly, keep her momentum going towards the big picture – her goals!
This year we felt it was important for Stefanie to keep pushing herself past boundaries and expecting more. It seemed that swimming with a masters team would be that next brave step. Stefanie not only agreed but decided she wanted to go 3 days a week. It isn’t easy but she takes it each time and knows that patience with her progress and most importantly with herself will pay off this year. Not only that but she also has found herself several strong and meaningful training partners. One of her training partners, Tony, keeps her company on long workouts and pushes her when necessary. About him, Stef says:
“Training with a 69 year old training partner reinforces my conviction that for me that triathlon is a lifestyle that preserves health, vitality, youthfulness and achievement.”
As for her advice to others in the sport, Stefanie says:
“Have a good handle on why you are doing it (your heart will tell you) and not to be too hard on yourself if you are not as fast as you want to be at first. Push yourself to meet your goals, YES (having a coach helps with that)! If you are willing to put in the work and be patient you will improve and grow stronger. In my case I have improved exponentially and still feel that I have limitless potential."
Stefanie, we are so excited to see where you will go this year. 2009 is limitless and only you will determine how far you will go!