• XTRI.COM – Married to the Sport: What’s It Like Being A Pro Triathlete’s Spouse?

    1/27/09

    As age groupers, many of us fantasize (and glorify) what it’s like to be a pro triathlete. What’s it like when you’re job is to train every day and race in amazing locations around the world? What’s it like to get top of the line bikes, wheels, wetsuits, apparel, etc. for free? Obviously these questions leave out the inherent stresses – mentally and physically – that come with having to perform at a top level constantly.

    But there’s a side to the pro lifestyle story that we don’t often think or hear about. Many of the pro men and women are married with kids. So what’s it like for the other half while the wife or hubby are out training and racing in sometimes far off locations? We decided to chat with some spouses to get their side of the story – how they met, how they handle time apart, how they support their spouses through often grueling seasons.

    Amanda Lovato

    How did you and Michael meet, and at what point were you in your careers?

    Michael and I met back in 1999. We were both age group triathletes competing at the World Championship in Montreal, Canada. We flirted with each other for a few days, before we actually hooked up! ;) (Am I allowed to say that?) I just thought he was so nice and so CUTE! We were absolutely smitten with each other. Despite Michael living in Austin, TX and me living in Baltimore, MD we made sure that we saw each other every three weeks for two years until we eventually moved to Boulder (from Austin for Michael and from Baltimore for me). I look back now and I see how much we both gave up for one another. It amazes me. It really shows that we were commited to each other from the very beginning!

    Do you think you have an edge as a couple, both being professional triathletes? Does it lead to a better understanding of each other’s need to train a lot, and at sometimes inconvenient hours of the day?

    I’m not sure if Michael and I have an edge on anyone else just because we are a couple. Sometimes I look at my friends whose husbands put 100 percent of themselves into their wives’ tirathlon careers and I (selfishly) think of how great it would be if Michael put all of my needs first. However, I do not think I would be truly happy being married to someone like that…

    No one knows me better than my husband. I am number one in his life and he is number one in my life, with or without triathlon. And our marriage comes first…ALWAYS!

    With both of us being professional athletes, I don’t think either of us minds the long training hours…it is, afterall, our job and our passion. We support each other 110 percent!

    Working with NAS, Michael travels around the country a lot from May through November. Do you accompany him on these trips? Does all the travel have an effect on your relationship?

    The travel that Michael does without me does not affect our relationship in a bad way, partly because we are on the phone with each other up to 11 times a day…Yes, we counted after Paula Newby-Fraser accused us of being codependant…haha! If talking on the phone up to 11 times a day makes us codependant, then I guess we are, but it obviously works for us!

    I miss Michael when he is gone. And I know he misses me. However, it makes his homecoming all that more sweet!

    Besides your athletic career, you also have a career as a realtor in Boulder. How do you balance everything?

    Haha! Yes, great question! It seems as though I always have a client wanting me to show them homes as I am boarding a plane!! However, I am so lucky! I have an amazing partner whose name is Dan Heine. We work together at Goodacre and Co. There is absolutely no way that I could practice real estate successfully without Dan. Dan is 100 percent commited to real estate and to our partnership! Whenever I am gone, he takes over. And I am forever grateful. Even when my career is over as a triathlete, I will continue with my partnership with Dan. We have a great partnership as well as a wonderful friendship!!

    How do you think your life will change when (if?!) you both retire from professional racing?

    Yes, we will retire from triathlon someday. We might still race as age groupers, however, we will not be racing as professionals at 50. :)

    We both hope to continue in the sport in some capacity, whether it is coaching, working for NA sports…who knows. We love triathlon. After all, it brought us together.

    I’m not sure our lives will change all that much after our professional triathlon careers end. We met when we both had “real jobs”. We put each other first then as well as now. We will continue to be commited to each other first and foremost even after triathlon is over.

    Thanks Amanda!