Paula Findlay Shares Her Path From Struggle to Success

Health, love, and happiness has led this former ITU star down a new path. Plus, she shares a day of fueling.

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At the 2012 London Olympics, Paula Findlay finished in last place, sobbing and mouthing the words, “I’m sorry,” as she crossed the line. It was a crushing blow for the then 23-year-old Canadian star who was carrying her country’s hopes of medaling at the Games, only to struggle with a hip injury that flared up at the worst possible time.

Now eight years older and with far more life experience under her race belt, Findlay has landed in a much happier place. She’s healthy. She’s in love. She’s thriving in her home base of Portland, Oregon. She’s obsessed with her puppy. And oh yeah, she’s been winning races again, too.

After more ups and downs on the ITU circuit, additional injuries, and various shifts in training and coaches, Findlay found herself on a new path in the sport in 2018: racing long course. “It felt challenging and refreshing,” she said of the switch. “Unlike ITU, where I was traveling and racing all the time, now I can settle down a bit and control my own destiny.” She transitioned well, winning the 70.3 North American Pro Championships in St. George, Utah, in her debut long-course season. Since then, she has racked up several podium finishes, including late 2019 back-to-back wins at Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells and Challenge Daytona.

Alongside her boyfriend of two years, fellow pro triathlete Eric Lagerstrom, Findlay spends many of her days biking and running in the lush green woodlands or winding mountain roads surrounding Portland. They take trips in their bespoke camper van (complete with room for bike trainers) and document most of their training adventures on their YouTube channel “That Triathlon Life,” featuring envy-inducing backdrops and cameo appearances by their German wirehaired pointer, Flynn.

It’s a completely different version than that of her younger self, who often felt the weight of the world on her shoulders and crumbled when she could no longer hold it up.

“Now, I don’t put that pressure on myself to do amazing every day,” Findlay said of her personal growth and newfound success. “It’s just about hard work and consistency and being in a great environment around people who I love.”

Paula now lives in Oregon. Photo: Eric Lagerstrom

How Paula Findlay Fuels

6 A.M. Wake up, walk, and feed our puppy Flynn

7 A.M. Breakfast, usually two pieces of Dave’s Killer Bread toast with almond butter, honey, and two tablespoons
of hemp seeds, plus cappuccino with oat milk and a glass of OJ

9 A.M. Snack with trainer workout: one Picky Bar and two bottles of Skratch

11:30 A.M. Turkey wrap with hummus, spinach, tomato, and cucumber, plus an apple

2 P.M. 2% Greek yogurt with almond butter and Picky Bar granola, and another cappuccino with oat milk before the second workout at 3 p.m.

5 P.M. Post-workout smoothie with almond milk, almond butter, ba- nana, dates, and protein powder

7 P.M. Quinoa bowl for dinner: one cup quinoa, baked tofu, spinach, roasted sweet potato, chopped peppers, cucumber, corn, and beets with avocado-lime dressing

9 P.M. Night-time snack of yogurt and granola, or a cookie, muffin, or chocolate before bed at 9:30 p.m.