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How Triathlon Makes Me a Better Mom

To celebrate Mother’s Day, we asked triathlete moms about what they’ve experienced in this intersection of tri-ing and mom-ming.

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In a lot of ways, being a triathlete is not that different from being a mom. Both roles are tough, unpredictable, and require calm problem-solving on the fly. Both roles foster a new appreciation for the what the human body can do. And both roles are hugely rewarding. It makes sense, then, that moms make great triathletes. As it turns out, it works the other way, too. To celebrate Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 13), we asked triathlete moms about what they’ve experienced in this intersection of tri-ing and mom-ming. Their answers ranged from poignant to humorous to inspirational.

“Triathlon has been a great way for me to reconnect with my collegiate son. We have had a blast discovering tris together, including doing a half-iron together this past fall. We even got one of his younger brothers to do one with us! Driving out with him to nationals in Omaha from New Jersey will rank as one of my favorite road trips of all time, especially since he is graduating and moving farther away this summer.” – Kris Byrnes

Angie Allen

“How does triathlon make me a better parent? My kids are building up more antibodies because the house is never clean. Does that count?” – Angie Allen

“I’m happier when I exercise. Happier me is a better mom. During my second half Ironman, I struggled so bad on the run but knowing my son was waiting at the end saw me through. He loves to run, and I hope watching me encourages him to be active in the future.”- Sonya Leigh

“My time training and competing has made me a better mom and wife. It was crucial self-care as, I felt healthy, had something that gave me positive results for my effort, and allowed me to be a part of a fun community.” –Susanne Navas

“I signed up for my first tri about this time last year and I’m forever changed. I’ve been able to demonstrate for my three adult children that you can dream and achieve goals at any age. Training makes me a better woman, being a better woman makes me a better mom.” – Leslie Castaneda Ramirez

“Because I tri, I’m living a healthy life, I’m mentally stronger, and I’m a positive example to my family.” -Michele Stuurman

Emily Summers Skelly

“Crossing the finish line with your baby in tow—as a mom, it represents so much. Hard work, dedication, and the sense of accomplishment at the finish. The gift that I get to share with my family is beyond words. As a parent that is also divorced, I will never forget my second marathon. As I turned the 18th mile, seeing my son and ex-husband cheering me through was one of the best moments of my life. It’s that feeling you get when you know what you are doing is right. It’s good. Damn good!” – Emily Summers Skelly

“It’s hard work, but the satisfaction of fitting in workouts around sleeping children makes me feel like a superwoman.” –Whitney Davis

“I have three children and my youngest, now 14, has been tri-ing with me since he was eight. I love that we share this sport and the joy it has brought us. But I know all my children are watching and share in my struggles and my triumphs, and have learned that anything is possible, and to not be afraid to do things out of their comfort zone. In an age where I think everyone is looking for a hack for everything, tri reminds me and teaches my children how important it is to do the work, day in and day out, and get results.” – Megan Tobin 

Multitasking, time management, planning ahead, packing a bag, managing all-day snacks, quick outfit changes, ignoring wet pants all day, and continuing through massive fatigue—how has triathlon not made me a better parent?” – Erin Chesser