Jeff Nichols of Hinsdale, Illinois
What got you started in triathlon?
I come from a running background, and my start in triathlon was triggered by a running injury. I started swimming to keep in shape while I recovered from my injury. I enjoyed swimming so much that, once I was able to start running again, I continued swimming at the same time. At some point, I said to myself, "heck, all I need now is a bike and I can do a triathlon." I bought a bike, did my first triathlon, and I was hooked.
What was the highlight of your 2011 season?
IM Wisconsin was the highlight of my 2011 season. It was my first IM and an epic day. The swim was picture-perfect. A beautiful sunrise with thousands of your soon-to-be closest friends, and an incredible energy in the air. The crowd support on the bike and run was amazing and made you feel like a rock star (at times when you felt nothing like one). Finally, celebrating the event with my family was a memory to cherish.
How do you balance a busy career and your role as a father/husband?
Balance - what is that? Seriously, finding a good balance between work, my family, and training can be challenging. Thankfully, I have a flexible work schedule and a family that is very supportive. My family travels with me to all of my races and they are my #1 fans. My wife and I also do a good job of coordinating my training with life's responsibilities.
Liz is irreplaceable. I started working with Liz in 2008 and my experience has been top-notch. She was instrumental in helping me achieve my goals, and keeping me healthy along the way. I owe my successes to Liz's guidance - no doubt.
As Jeff's coach, it is a pleasure to find new ways to fulfill his relentless hunger for more work, new goals and bigger challenges. His positive attitude, his attention to detail and his strong ability to recover keep Jeff healthy and successful. I am excited to watch him continue to grow as an athlete and take on course at Ironman Lake Placid this summer.