Issue 19 • November 2013

“Tri”ing To Be More Than Mom

You see them a mile away, bounding down the run course toward the finish line. Their faces are beaming with the kind of smiles that move you to overlook the crustiness and ripe smell of a triathlete and to HUG them tightly.

On September 29, 2013, at the Hammerhead Olympic/Sprint Triathlon, Camp Blanding, 7 women stand out from the rest – you can tell they’ve cut through some layers in life to meet their challenge head on. There are fear layers (a few are nervous about swimming), there are equipment layers (a few have pieced together triathlon gear) and there are family layers (all the women have husbands and kids on the sidelines). Vanessa Law, Tiffany Esser, Jenn Vandeloo, Nicole O Sullivan, Carrie Sellers, Kristina Sinclair, and Susan Whelan….have a celebratory spirit unlike most triathletes. It comes from more than just accomplishing an individual, physical goal. It comes from training differently, keeping family time intact and strengthening bonds with friends.

Skye Johnson started Tri with Skye, keeping in mind that mom triathletes have to make a lot of sacrifices. Triathlons are time sucking monsters. There’s usually at least one area you have to focus on (spend a little more time swimming, for example, if you are afraid of open water); there’s also the biking (time in the saddle sometimes requires hours of daylight). These factors can be a problem if you’re a mom with limited time and a dream to overcome a personal weakness.

Tri with Skye is a 6-8 week couch to sprint triathlon training program.  It’s targeted at moms who have a desire to fulfill triathlon goals but don’t have the tools or time to figure out where to begin.

Sessions are 6-8 weeks and include:

  • 2 coached group bike rides every week
  • 1 coached track session every week
  • 1 swim clinic by Planet Swim, offering individualized swim technique through the world famous IKKOS training equipment (valued at $325/person)
  • Accessibility to expensive triathlon equipment, such as bikes, helmets and tri suits

While Tri with Skye’s program covers all the necessities for beginner triathlon training, like coaching and gear, it’s really 2 unique offerings that set the plan apart.


Busy moms are made for focused workouts. This idea just might be Tri with Skye’s secret to success– the busier you are, the more focused your workouts can be. Think about pre-kid days when you could let a day slip by without exercising, just because there was always another opportunity around the bend. When you have a family and a million things to do, it’s NOW or never, there’s no time to contemplate, only time to tear into the workout on schedule.


There’s a certain amount of resistance and drudgery that comes with anything, even something you are passionate about. Think “mothering” and “packing school lunches”. We all know about training resistance, how even when you want something (like a triathlon finisher medal), how just before you are about to stick a toe in the water, a cement wall flies up or a strange debilitating cramp in your left calf. Having a group around you is a little like having body guards. They ward off pesky deterrents and escort you where you need to be. In a group of triathlon moms, there’s bound to be someone who understands your obstacles and someone else who knows you have to chase your goal, come wall or cramp. Why is group fitness so important? While some workouts are scary, others are successes, but having no one to talk to is worst of all.


For these 7 women, the grand finale may have been home stretch. For me, it was the dads waiting at the finish line. Toddlers on shoulders, babies tucked in jackets, these dads were donning signs like cloaks of pride. Most women working through piles of laundry and miles of workouts accomplish a feat, but who cares if we get it all done, if the people we love aren’t supportive. For the guy who thinks support is over rated, think again. Genuine support is shinier than a finisher’s medal. For the guy who thinks this article is only for chicks, think again. Mom musings are only irrelevant if you don’t care about quality of life! There are guy lessons here too…someone gets to benefit from a fit, happy mom.


“My goal is to PR and to finally feel comfortable in the water. I am wary of everything in the lake!  I would not train for a triathlon without a coach and group because I know Skye and all the other women will push me to push myself.”

Vanessa Law

“My personal fear was to not reach my full potential. This training helped me dig deep and discover what I am made of. I can push myself harder with the cheering and support of fellow moms by my side. My ultimate goal is to one day complete an Ironman 70.3.”

Tiffany Esser

“My first goal was to be able to train for this tri without getting too stressed.  I did not want to feel exhausted or to spread myself too thin. Training with this group of women is constant encouragement from people who understand exactly what I am going through. My husband, friends, and family support me but the training group gives me a pat on the back for the small successes only they can recognize.”

Jenn Vandeloo

“ACCOUNTABILITY, SUPPORT, & RESOURCES…this is why I do Tri with Skye. After my first child was born, I started running for the first time in my life, at age 31. Two years later, I ran my first half-marathon. And now, after my second child was born, I completed my first sprint triathlon, at age 34! Who knew?!”

Carrie Sellers

“I am a runner.  I’d never swam or biked before.  I have a fear of open water swimming.  But having Skye’s support, along with the encouragement of the group, made all the difference in the world. I was able to face my fears and accomplish something I NEVER thought was possible for me!!!”

Nicole  O Sullivan




  1. November 17, 2013 at 8:03 pm — Reply

    I think the world of Skye and her training. The Moms are so luckie to have her available. She works hard and knows how to get you ready for any marathon or triathalon.

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