Multisport Mastery is pleased to announce the January 2012 Featured Athlete:
Tami Ritchie of Ankeny, Iowa
Tami is setting out upon her second year as a professional triathlete. Last year, she made a solid entry into the professional ranks of our sport with a top 10 finish at Kansas 70.3 and earning enough points overall to compete at the 70.3 World Championship. Often one of the first out of the water, Tami has been working hard to balance herself out in all 3 sports and continue to make steady gains in her performances at the professional level. Right now, Tami is gearing up for Ironman Texas in May. We caught up with her in between Ironman training and her full-time work as a nurse.
Prior to starting triathlon I was a swimmer. I started swimming at age 9 or 10 and continued through college at Iowa State University. After that I took about a year off of any competition before I had to sign up for something. So I signed up for Grandma's marathon in 2007. Soon after, a friend convinced me to sign up for a triathlon that was two weeks later. So I bought a used bike on eBay and completed a triathlon. I didn’t go in the aerobars and was scared that my feet were hooked directly into the bike! Yet, immediately I was hooked on the sport.
What did you learn in your first year as a pro?
Competing at the professional is a whole different ball game. I felt like a newbie all over again for the first few races. Every small thing matters and anything can happen. As a pro, you can be all alone on the race course for the majority of a race, so learning to remain focused and continually push myself and race even when there is no one in sight to race is critical.
How has your training/racing changed from age grouper to pro?
I’m doing more training but that might have something to do with an ironman on the race schedule too. Honestly, there weren’t any drastic changes in the way I trained, but I do feel more compelled to get in all my workouts now. For every workout I miss there is another pro gal out there that didn't miss one.
How do you balance a full-time job with training/pro racing?
It's tough and I don't think it would be possible if I didn't truly love triathlon as much as I do. There are a lot of sacrifices that I make in other areas of my life and I wouldn't be able to do that if I didn't love what I was doing. I find getting an adequate amount of sleep, eating nourishing foods and making time for some social activities all help me stay healthy and allow me to balance work and training.
We’re looking forward to watch Tami grow as a professional and achieve her 2012 goals!