Multisport Mastery is pleased to announce the June 2010 Featured Athlete:
Jill Bonniwell of Lisle, Illinois
How did Jill get started in sport? Jill is known to have one of the fastest swim splits in her age group, if not the entire race. In her last race, Jill beat all of the men and women out the water. Not surprisingly, Jill started swimming on a team when she was 12 years old. From then on, she swam year-round on teams.
Making the switch from swimming was easy after college. Jill continued to feel the need to compete. So, she set her sights on the Chicago Marathon. When she finished the race, she felt a familiar sense of accomplishment, loved the atmosphere and enjoyed herself along the way. The next year, she entered the race along with her mom. She enjoyed the race again, especially watching her mom complete her first marathon, but wanted to move away from strictly running. Enter triathlon. That was about seven years ago.
This is Jill’s first year working with a coach. She has found the experience to be very helpful and enjoys not doubting the training plan. So far this year, Jill has achieved many personal bests. She kicked off the year finishing 8th in her competitive age group at California 70.3. Jill not only bested her PR for the half Ironman distance but also for the half marathon. She admits that her running has really come a long way this year. The evidence came at the Quarryman 10-Miler where she placed 3rd overall. Jill recently finished 10th in her age group at Buffalo Springs 70.3 in a highly competitive field. And, just last weekend, Jill earned her first course win at Lake Holiday Triathlon where she finished 6 minutes ahead of the next woman and beat all but four of the mean.
What a breakthrough!
Jill balances her training with a full-time position as an education coordinator at a local museum. Like many others, she feels the hardest part of training is finding balance. In her words, “sometimes there just doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to do all that you want to do.” Days with double workouts means waking up early, which she admits, has never been her thing. How does she find the motivation to train?
“I think back to the feeling of finishing a race or a tough workout or training week. The sense of accomplishment reminds me why I do this. I also think about my friends and people I met through the sport that are out there training as well.”
Jill has two races left in her 2010 season, another half Ironman and then an Olympic distance race. As for what lies ahead, Jill says she doesn’t like to look too far ahead. “If I can just look to the end of this season, I'd like to finish my races knowing that I gave it my all. One of the two remaining races that I have this year, I've done a couple of times, so I'd definitely like to PR.”
I have no doubt Jill will continue to flourish and achieve her goals. When you do the hard work, trust your training and believe in yourself, your potential is limitless and you get that much closer to achieving your goals. Congratulations, Jill!