Michelle Nicholson, 37
A little bit about you (profession, hobbies, athletic background, etc.):
I am a self-employed Personal Assistant and Professional Organizer. I have always enjoyed sports and competition. Growing up I played soccer, volleyball, and softball. I swam and even did the high jump. Later, after high school, I played ice hockey in a men’s league and I even rowed crew at UCLA for 1 year.
When did you complete your first triathlon (and if you’ve completed more than one, how many)?
I have completed 2 mini triathlons. My first one was last year in June and the second was the Santa Barbara triathlon last August.
What inspires you to train/compete?
Training for triathlons helps me to focus on a goal and to push myself. Otherwise I get bored very easily.
What is your favorite thing about the sport?
The challenge of getting my body ready for 3 sports. Not just one! I actually LOVE the swimming in the ocean segment.
What’s your least favorite thing?
Biking… it hurts my behind.
What is the best advice you ever received regarding the sport of triathlon?
Before my first triathlon, my husband gave me a great pep talk. He told me to just treat it like a long workout. My goal was just to finish. This advice really help to calm my anxiety and have fun competing.
Share your top three (or one, or ten) training tips:
- Start early and build. Cardio vascular endurance is key.
- Don’t just focus on your best leg. Make sure to train for your weakest leg as well.
How do you stay motivated?
I try to get a friend to compete with me. It really motivates me if I KNOW that I will be accountable.
How has training for or participating in triathlon(s) affected other areas of your life?
It took me 3 years to complete my first triathlon after signing up. Just weeks after signing up, I discovered that I was pregnant. No go that year. Then the next year, 2 months before the event, I found out that I had melanoma skin cancer and had to have surgery on my shoulder to remove the cancer and could not compete. By the 3rd year, nothing was going to stop me. I see triathlons as a metaphor for life. No one thing in life is going to get you through, so just keep trying and keep going. The finish line is out there somewhere.
Any words of encouragement for novice or aspiring triathletes?
One great training tip for me was to approach my first triathlon as an information gathering event. I had no idea how it was going to be or what to expect. For first timers, reduce your stress and just have fun the first time. Take in your surroundings. The next year that you do the same triathlon can be the time you COMPETE!!
Do you have a post-triathlon indulgence?
It is awful… but TACO BELL!