Meet Steph of @runtrimom on instagram and www.runtrimom.com! In all honesty, she's one of my favorite people ever that I've met online (that still sounds so creepy hahaha). She is a TOTAL rockstar, lover of life, and free spirit. I just can't explain how amazing she is, but I think you'll get a taste of it in this blog post! I'm so excited she was willing to share with us! <3 ENJOY!
Tell us a little bit about yourself (name, what you do, where you’re from)
My name is Stephanie Johnson and I was born and raised in Boise, Idaho but Chicago has been my home the past 12 years! I got my degree in Marketing at Utah State University and worked at a large Investment Management firm downtown Chicago for many years. Realizing that wasn't my true passion, I quit my corporate job and went to an ashram in Hawaii for a month to study yoga and meditation where I got certified to teach yoga. I am a single mom of two young boys who are my absolute world. I am a Reiki Master and Teacher. My passion lies with teaching yoga and energy/healing work. Between raising boys, my yoga schedule and training for an Ironman life stays pretty active and keeps me on my toes...but I wouldn't change a thing!
What ironman race are you doing? What made you decide this race?
Ironman Arizona! This will be my first full! I have a lot of family and friends in the west so it was an easy choice for my first. Support is SO crucial to racing and seeing familiar faces that I love on the course will give me the energy I need to make it to the finish! The terrain is similar to what I train in as well...nice and flat with lots of wind! Ha!
How did you know it was time to take on the big 140.6?
I don't honestly have a clue...I don't know if I even know NOW is time! Haha! My motto is Dream Really Freaking Big! I guess to live that to the fullest I just decided to jump in! I couldn't swim a single lap 18 months ago and didn't own a bike. Bob Scott, age 84 and still competing in Ironman, took me under his guidance and mentored me through my first year. He taught me to swim and helped me buy a tri bike. I owe my triathlon journey and great passion of the sport to his friendship over the past year. For the rest of my life, no matter what, he will always be my Ironman hero. It has been and will continue to be one crazy journey but I don't know if anyone really feels "ready" to take on the Ironman distance...it is daunting! You have to learn to BELIEVE so much in yourself that you know you have it in you. I believe once you let go of the fear of failing you are really ready. With the fear gone you are ready to brave the Ironman road. With nothing to prove to anyone or even yourself, you have to see the intensity of training with determination deep within, to push through the grind every day, smile your face off while having fun, and realize no matter what...you are SO brave for stepping up to that start line.
Have you done any half ironmans/marathons in the past? If so, which ones?
I got consistent with running in October 2012 and have done many half marathons since. The most memorable half marathon was in Kenya this March. I ran with 20-30 children surrounding me the whole time and over half didn't have shoes! When it got really hot and I was feeling the effects of the altitude and hills one 11 year old girl grabbed my hand and said are you ok? I replied I was getting tired and she smiled big and told me that I would be ok because God was with me and would help me to the finish. I will never forget the feeling of strength and peace with that simple and innocent statement.
I have done the Chicago Marathon twice, Berlin, Germany Marathon, St. Louis Marathon, and I did a marathon on a treadmill as a training run for my 50k race in April 2014! I ran Chicago and Berlin within 14 days of each other!
I started racing triathlons a year ago and have completed one Sprint, three Olympic, and one 70.3. Triathlons have stolen my heart!
Do you have any races planned for the coming months?
This year I will be doing the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon and focusing on Triathlon. I have a few more Olympic distances, Ironman Steelhead 70.3, and then Ironman Arizona in November! I'm sure a few more races will be thrown in too! Haha! I am a sucker for a good race! No shame!
Which training program are you using?
I am self coached. I do a lot of research on training and utilize all my brilliant and knowledgeable friends. I believe coaching is great for some people but it isn't my style and my life is so here and there and everywhere that I need to be able to fit training in when it is convenient for me. I did start Masters Swim class a few weeks ago and it has been absolutely amazing. I highly recommend it for newbie swimmers like myself! My number one priority is to keep it FUN so doing it my way seems to be the best route for me.
Nutrition-What is your diet like?
I have been eating a pescatarian diet (includes fish but no other meat) for three months now. I feel an incredible difference! When I deepened my yoga practice it lead me to this decision and for NOW it has been working very well for my body. I drink green juice and coconut water every single day and swear by the benefits for my recovery and skin. I eat a TON of nut butter and bananas. Another key component to my diet is eggs. I buy my eggs straight from a farmer every week. Once you've had farm fresh you can't go back! I eat 4 full eggs every day. Yes including the yolk! That's where all the best nutrients and vitamins are. I strongly believe in balance too! I enjoy pizza, sushi, desserts and wine with my friends as well. I never restrict food or "diet". Everything in moderation. Eat for FUN but eat to TRAIN.
Balance-How do you balance being a mom and training for an ironman?
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare. I have breakfast and lunch prepped the night before. I don't have cable so don't get sucked into TV. I train when my kids go down at night and utilize the gym child center. When the boys are with their dad, I train. It's a lifestyle and it's fun for me! I incorporate my boys into my workouts and run and bike WITH them! I don't have the time...I MAKE the time to follow my heart and passions. My kids are involved in this Ironman training as much as me and constantly talk about it and cheer for me. They are my biggest fans and I get to teach them by example so many life lessons such as, there are no limits to how big you can dream, never give up even when we fall down, have fun but also work hard and perseverance to a goal. It's the greatest blessing to me to be their Ironmama!
Do you have any advice for those that wish to do an ironman as a mom?
If I can do it...anyone can. I couldn't swim. Legit could.not.swim. Couldn't bike. I learned that being a beginner is OK and quite a beautiful part of the process. You only get to be a beginner once in your life. You will SHOW your kids more life lessons through training for a race than you could ever tell them. Children won't remember what you say...they will remember what you do and how you made them feel. Get your family involved! Make it a FAMILY race where everyone can work to support your goal. Keep your significant other and children a priority and schedule time for them into your schedule. Cut out all other distractions. Learn to say NO to anything not worth your time. You deserve to follow your dreams AND be a mother. There is nothing you can't do if you only believe in your worth and your heart.
I know that you love yoga as well. Do you feel this is important to your ironman training?
My yoga practice is my foundation. Racing is 90% mental and yoga teaches to control the mind first and then the body. Through yoga I have been able to work toward cultivating an equanimous mind and control my breath. That has propelled me through the fear and panic of open water swimming, the lows of a long bike ride or run that inevitably creep their way in and know when I can push and when to back off. Beyond the stretching which has helped keep me injury free, the meditative and spiritual aspect of yoga is what has got me to many finish lines. I owe my racing to yoga and believe everyone should practice yoga. For the physical benefits of course but mostly to maintain an equanimous mind during intense training sessions and on race day.
Any last words of advice?
You are more fearless than your fears. This has resonated with me a lot in the past months. I have fears of course but I have been learning that they have no control over me and my life. Fear will never keep me from living life to the fullest or participating in a sport I love so much. Be FEARLESS! Be brave. Learn to step outside your comfort zone and taste the goodness life has to offer. Be courageous enough to boldy move in the direction of your dreams and follow that amazingly perfect heart of yours. Be open to the possibility that it may lead you to the most incredible places that you have ever traveled and you will discover hidden talents about yourself both physically and in your mind. The antidote to fear is love so move forward in life LOVING with every bit of your soul and watch fear and doubt disappear and make way for possible and incredible. Redefine your possible. Be Fearless.