Team Athletes

TEAM SHERI ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

NAME: Ashley Powers

AGE: 30

PROFESSION: Teacher

FAMILY LIFE: Married with a beautiful dog-no kids

YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS: 4

GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR: The Boston Marathon in 3:10:00 or under

WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS: For a change and challenge

CHALLENGES: Always wanting to do more!

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Just completed the Boston Marathon in 3:00:32
Qualified for Kona at IMCanada- 1st Ironman

INTERESTING FACTS: I used to be very unhealthy and live a completely different type of lifestyle in my early 20s.

WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY: That I possess a lot of GRIT!

OTHER INFORMATION- Ashley is a TS coach and awesome athlete

WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS : Well…he enjoys the traveling race experience, but I think he wishes I could achieve my goals

TS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK SCOTT TAYLOR
Age: 45
Profession: National Customer Manager – Maple Leaf Foods

Family Life: Very full. Great wife – Jen and beautiful daughter Grace

Years doing triathlons: 7

Goal Race For the Year: Florida 70.3 and Tremblant championship

Why you started triathlons: I use to watch the Hawaii Ironman when I was much younger and thought they were such amazing athletes.

Challenges: Work, family and training balance. I need 36 hours in a day to get everything accomplished that I have on my schedule.

Accomplishments: Getting older and still getting faster.

Interesting Facts: I’m a member of the Canadian Ski Patrol (volunteer) and I assist other people off the hill that have done injury to themselves.

What have you learned about yourself along the way: Anything is possible you just have to believe in your abilities.

What does your spouse think of this? Jen gave up asking “where does it all end” several years ago. My family and Sheri are my biggest support network.

Scott and proud coach Sheri at the Haines City 70.3 after qualifying for the World Championships

Sheri Fraser Coaching's photo.

Sheri Fraser Coaching's photo.

without having to train/TRI

TEAM SHERI ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

NAME Gillian Martine Roberts

AGE 23

PROFFESSION Recently graduated student and recently employed physical education teacher (stating this September)

FAMILY LIFE Just moved back to London with my parents in March for a 5 month period of time. I will be moving to Prince George British Columbia in September, for my new job, and to be with my boyfriend of 5 years.

YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS 3 years

GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR Just finished it! It was Ironman Muncie 70.3. My next big goal is to do the Ironman 70.3 in Victoria in 2015 and improve my time.

WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS I was already a runner and a swimmer and loved both of those activities, and thought it would be really fun to learn how to cycle. I love competition and pushing myself to achieve new goals. Triathlon offers me many challenges to work towards and I cannot imagine my life without it now.

CHALLENGES Having just finished 5 years of University far away from home, I am very broke. And as many know, triathlon is not a cheap sport. So money has always been a challenge for me. I am fortunate to have amazing parents who support my dreams and who help me with money sometimes, which is awesome! Throughout the past few years being a full time student, working 35 hours a week, homework, trying to have a social life and volunteering made finding time to train a challenge as well, but it all worked out.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Training really hard to improve my half marathon time this year and achieving a personal best time of 1:29:55. Also finishing my first half ironman, despite my crash in the middle of the race and fracturing my elbow.

INTERESTING FACTS
I used to be a competitive synchronized swimmer and competed for 10 years. I also coached synchro for 8 years.

WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY
I have learned that I am very stubborn. When I set my mind to finish something, nothing will stop me from doing that (even a fractured bone). I have also learnt really how painful this sport can be but that I am tougher than I ever thought I was, and that through all of that pain I can still have the time of my life.

OTHER INFORMATION
I want to thank the team Sheri athletes (and especially Sheri), for being so amazing to me this summer. I have had, and am continuing to have, an amazing time being a part of this incredible group of people. You have all thought me so much and I will be sad to leave you after just getting to know you.

WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS
Well I am not married yet……….. but my boyfriend thinks I am pretty bad ass. He tells me on the daily how impressed he is with what I do. I have inspired him to train for a half ironman as well!

Photo: TEAM  SHERI  ATHLETE  OF THE WEEK  NAME Gillian Martine Roberts   AGE  23  PROFFESSION Recently graduated student and recently employed physical education teacher (stating this September)   FAMILY LIFE Just moved back to London with my parents in March for a 5 month period of time.  I will be moving to Prince George British Columbia in September, for my new job, and to be with my boyfriend of 5 years.    YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS  3 years   GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR  Just finished it!  It was Ironman Muncie 70.3.  My next big goal is to do the Ironman 70.3 in Victoria in 2015 and improve my time.    WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS  I was already a runner and a swimmer and loved both of those activities, and thought it would be really fun to learn how to cycle.  I love competition and pushing myself to achieve new goals.  Triathlon offers me many challenges to work towards and I cannot imagine my life without it now.   CHALLENGES Having just finished 5 years of University far away from home, I am very broke.  And as many know, triathlon is not a cheap sport.  So money has always been a challenge for me.  I am fortunate to have amazing parents who support my dreams and who help me with money sometimes, which is awesome!  Throughout the past few years being a full time student, working 35 hours a week, homework, trying to have a social life and volunteering made finding time to train a challenge as well, but it all worked out.    ACCOMPLISHMENTS Training really hard to improve my half marathon time this year and achieving a personal best time of 1:29:55.  Also finishing my first half ironman, despite my crash in the middle of the race and fracturing my elbow.      INTERESTING FACTS I used to be a competitive synchronized swimmer and competed for 10 years.  I also coached synchro for 8 years.    WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY I have learned that I am very stubborn.  When I set my mind to finish something, nothing will stop me from doing that (even a fractured bone).  I have also learnt really how painful this sport can be but that I am tougher than I ever thought I was, and that through all of that pain I can still have the time of my life.    OTHER INFORMATION I want to thank the team Sheri athletes (and especially Sheri), for being so amazing to me this summer.  I have had, and am continuing to have, an amazing time being a part of this incredible group of people.  You have all thought me so much and I will be sad to leave you after just getting to know you.    WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS  Well I am not married yet……….. but my boyfriend thinks I am pretty bad ass.  He tells me on the daily how impressed he is with what I do.  I have inspired him to train for a half ironman as well!

TS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Tiffany Landon
Age 40
Profession : Hearing Instrument Specialist, Registered Nurse

Family Life : I have a busy household, 3 year old twins, Jack and Megan and a 6 year old Emily. My husband, Nathan and I have been married for 14 years

Years doing triathlons. 1 and hopefully many more.

Goal race for the year : Iron Girl in Aug. I am hoping to beat my time I had last year.

Why I started doing triathlons. :
I wanted to improve my overall fitness level. My girlfriend saw iron girl ad and asked me to do it with her. It took me 2 months before I signed up because I never thought I had the athletic ability to do it and I am very happy I did. It has changed my life and have never regretted the decision. I have met a lot of supportive people and have had a lot of fun. I encourage anyone who is thinking if doing it to just do it. You won’t regret it.

Challenges

I don’t consider myself an athlete, my confidence about myself has always been a challenge.

I have had recent abdominal surgery and feel like I am starting from scratch again. It has been frustrating for me physically and mentally.

Also time, my husband and I are both self employed. We each have our own business and are involved in all business operations. Our family life is also busy with soccer, gymnastics and swimming lessons. Adding training to the mix is hard to balance. I need 40 hours in a day to get everything done.

Accomplishments.

Having enough courage to get my butt off the couch and sign up to a triathlon and finishing it. I did 3 triathlons last summer, and the warrior dash.

Interesting facts.

I coach my 3 year olds’ soccer team.

What you have learned about yourself along the way.

I keep surprising myself with what I can do. I need to train in order to keep my sanity with life. I feel better about myself and have learned to laugh at myself. Triathlons can have embarrassing moments for you but well worth it.

Other information.

My 6 year old daughter has been asking me about triathlons and seems interested in it. Makes me proud as a mom to have influenced her in a healthier lifestyle. I hope to one day complete a triathlon with her.

I also enjoyed doing the first triathlon so much I talked my staff into completing a women’s only triathlon last September and everyone finished and enjoyed it.

What does your spouse think of all this

Maybe to early to tell!! Although he has been at every triathlon I did last summer cheering me on. Even when I was trying to do the running portion with my bike helmet on!!

Photo: TS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK      Tiffany Landon Age 40 Profession : Hearing Instrument Specialist, Registered Nurse  Family Life : I have a busy household, 3 year old twins, Jack and Megan and a 6 year old Emily. My husband, Nathan and I have been married for 14 years  Years doing triathlons. 1 and hopefully many more.   Goal race for the year  :   Iron Girl in Aug. I am hoping to beat my time I had last year.   Why I started doing triathlons. :   I wanted to improve my overall fitness level. My girlfriend saw iron girl ad and asked me to do it with her. It took me 2 months before I signed up because I never thought I had the athletic ability to do it and I am very happy I did. It has changed my life and have never regretted the decision. I have met a lot of supportive people and have had a lot of fun. I encourage anyone who is thinking if doing it to just do it. You won't regret it.   Challenges   I don't consider myself an athlete, my confidence about myself has always been a challenge.   I have had recent abdominal surgery and feel like I am starting from scratch again. It has been frustrating for me physically and mentally.   Also time, my husband and I are both self employed. We each have our own business and are involved in all business operations. Our family life is also busy with soccer, gymnastics and swimming lessons. Adding training to the mix is hard to balance. I need 40 hours in a day to get everything done.  Accomplishments.  Having enough courage to get my butt off the couch and sign up to a triathlon and finishing it. I did 3 triathlons last summer, and the warrior dash.   Interesting facts.   I coach my 3 year olds' soccer team.   What you have learned about yourself along the way.   I keep surprising myself with what I can do. I need to train in order to keep my sanity with life. I feel better about myself and have learned to laugh at myself. Triathlons can have embarrassing moments for you but well worth it.  Other information.   My 6 year old daughter has been asking me about triathlons and seems interested in it. Makes me proud as a mom to have influenced her in a healthier lifestyle. I hope to one day complete a triathlon with her.   I also enjoyed doing the first triathlon so much I talked my staff into completing a women's only triathlon last September and everyone finished and enjoyed it.   What does your spouse think of all this  Maybe to early to tell!! Although he has been at every triathlon I did last summer cheering me on. Even when I was trying to do the running portion with my bike helmet on!!

TEAM SHERI ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Check out Sharon’s journey to becoming a professional Triathlete, and the Director of a successful Charity
She is an amazing lady and has a very interesting story to share.

NAME: Sharon Gallant

AGE: 38

PROFFESSION:

Founder & Executive Director, Fit Active Beautiful (FAB) Foundation.

FAMILY LIFE

YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS:

First triathlon was at age 30

GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR:

Mont Tremblant. I’m hoping to race between 10:00-10:15

WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS:

Oddly enough, doing an Ironman is the very first dream I can remember having.

I can still recall the moment I was sitting on the floor in my living room watching this event unfold on TV. My imagination was captured. I had no idea what it really meant, only that I would be an Ironman one day. After losing touch with that dream, I met several people in my late 20s who were active triathletes and it reignited a passion….and the rest is history!

CHALLENGES

My challenges are likely no different than most in the triathlon community – time! I have an incredibly busy job that extends into most evenings and week-ends, making work/life balance challenging at times. While I do have flexibility in the mornings, which is when I do most of my workouts, I have a ton of detail and responsibility swirling around in my head non-stop.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS

I’m most proud of raising my daughter and having a good relationship with her. Adult relationships are always a choice and I value and respect that.

I’m also very proud that I found the courage to start FAB and push myself way outside my comfort zone to make good things happen. At my core, I’m an introvert, so being the face and voice of a charity and sharing and celebrating my private life and journey has been challenging at times.

I worked hard and finished Ironman Tremblant in 10:29 last year and decided to race as a pro this year. I obviously have no problem starting at the bottom and crawling my way up

INTERESTING FACTS

Most interesting fact about me right now is that, not only did I have a daughter when I was 17; I’m going to be a grandma at 38!

After many years of believing that my daughter’s road to parenthood would likely be paved with fertility treatments due to a condition she was diagnosed with at 16, we’ve been surprised and blessed with a baby girl who’s developing healthy and is expected to join our family in November.

You can bet I’m going to rewrite the book on grandparenthood

WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY

More than what I’ve learned about myself along the way, triathlons constantly reinforce lessons I’ve learned and affords me the opportunity to take those lessons and shape my journey. Each training day, each race, each season has a way of gently or willfully slapping you in the face with things we know, value and appreciate. A healthy sense of humor is recommended, as triathlons aren’t for the faint of heart. He is some fun, yet obvious things training and racing reminds me of:

1. Let go of the things you can’t control (your genetics, where you live, your age, your equipment) and honor yourself the things you can (get your ass out of bed when the alarm goes off, enjoy a cup of strong coffee and then train your ass off in the smartest way passible – you and you alone know what you put in).
2. Mind over matter Have a life and training mantra cause it’s going to get messy out there!
3. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome…so when something isn’t working, try something else
4. Too much of anything can be a bad thing. Pick a thing related to triathlons and it applies…gels, cliff bars, running, cycling, sun, water, Gatorade…there is an endless list…
5. You get what you give. There is no faking your way through an Ironman.
6. The human mind and body is capable of great things. Be inspired.
7. Equally as important as finding joy in what you do if finding humor in what you do. Laugh often

OTHER INFORMATION

I’ve attached the story of FAB. It’s a speech I give to groups when I share information on FAB. If you’d like to include information on FAB, this might be worth including. If not, that’s fine too! I’m good either way.

WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS

Lucky for me, my partner is unconditionally supportive and is always my rock and push when I need it. He has much more confidence and passion in me than I do many days. He not only makes sure I have what I need, he makes sure my bike has what she needs, the car is ready to go, the route is mapped out, the hotel or campground is booked and the coffee is on. When I’m feeling insecure or unprepared, he always reminds me of the road behind us, which has usually been paved with awesome workouts. Oh, and did I mention that he also wakes up a stupid o-clock with me and joins me for my workouts because he too is doing Ironman Mont Tremblant? Yup, that’s Andy and he’s awesome!

Seven Lessons

For those who don’t know about FAB, I like to share our story through 7 life lessons I’ve learned. Each lesson has helped shape me personally and has each has been woven into the fabric of FAB.

1) Dreams Matter

Becoming an Ironman was the very first dream I remember having.

I can still recall the moment that I was sitting on the floor as a little girl watching this event unfold on TV. My imagination was captured. I had no idea what it really meant, only that I would be an Ironman.

I’ll come back to this dream a bit later, but what I want to share is this….

Dreams matter. They matter because they give us hope.

• They give us focus and purpose
• Help us drowned out the noise
• They push us to grow
• They keep us moving forward and they inspire others

At FAB, our goal is to inspire girls to dream big and live big.

2) It’s Not About What Happens To You

Like many, I experienced a lot of trauma and challenges as a young teen. When I was about 13 my family unit crumbled when both of my parents became addicted to crack cocaine. My father join a motorcycle gang and my mother ended up in and out of jail for years.

By the time I was 16, I was living in poverty, I had dropped out of school, I was in a bad relationship and I had become pregnant.

The future didn’t look good. Although I knew I could do more and wanted to do more, I had no idea how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.

Before I had the capacity to invest in myself, I made a commitment to my daughter that we would end the poverty cycle in her generation. That led me to a career in the financial services industry. I went back to school and after a few years found myself doing really well. The more success I achieved, the more I began to understand a simple but life changing truth. Successful people set goals. And not only that, but that there is a model for setting goals. And anyone could take that model and direct their life in a meaningful way.

The other life changing realization I had after I started running at 26 is there is very little difference between setting a goal for a 5k and setting a goal in life. In fact, sport is a fantastic vehicle to teach us skills that we may or may not tap into because we may or may not know we have them.

The more I lived and appreciated these concepts, the more I felt my purpose in life shifting. I spent a lot of time thinking about how to combine the power of sport and goal setting skills to provide young girls with an opportunity to challenge themselves and experience ‘I Can’.

In May of 2008 on a sunny afternoon in Nova Scotia after taking part in a 24-hour relay race, I was talking with a friend of mine about what we would be doing if we could do whatever we wanted. We both described similar visions – working with youth and using running as a vehicle to inspire and empower. At the end of the conversation he said to me…I just don’t know if I’m brave enough to make the change. Although I didn’t say it out loud, I remember thinking to myself ‘I don’t want to be a person who looks back and wishes they had chosen a different path’.

3) Follow Your Passion

Shortly after that conversation I decided that I needed to follow my passion in life; and that my passion was helping young girls become strong women.

With that decision, I left my career in financial services and started FAB and our FAB Girls 5K Challenge.

Our FAB Girls 5K Challenge is a 12-week program that challenges girls in grades 6, 7 and 8 – specifically in disadvantaged communities – to train for and complete a 5 km run.

The aim of our program is two-fold:

• To encourage youth girls to become more physically active and engage in healthy living, and

• To help develop goal-setting skills that can be used to achieve any future goal or dream.

In 5 short years, we’ve grown from our initial pilot in 2009 with 9 girls and 2 volunteer coaches to running our program in 13 locations across the city with almost 200 girls and 50 volunteer coaches.

4) Remove Barriers To Create Opportunities

The largest barriers to participation for girls living in lower income communities are:

• Registration fees
• Transportation
• Equipment

We remove all of them. We understood early in the process that if we wanted to engage girls living in lower income communities we needed to remove the barriers to participation.

The first thing we did was decide to offer our program in the communities girls live in so they can walk to our program.

In addition, each girl who participates in our program receives:

• An I’m FAB training shirt
• A new pair of quality running shoes
• Healthy snacks at each of our training sessions
• Free entry and bus transportation into program events

5) Have Focus and Keep It Simple

In a world where there is a lot of need, we’ve developed a very clear focus.

Our focus:

• Girls in grades 6 through 8
• Who live in lower income communities in Hamilton

Why is this our focus?

• If you are a girl living in Hamilton you are more likely to live in poverty than if you were a boy
• 24% of the girl population is living below the poverty line

With growth comes challenges and complexity, but at our core, we have a very focused and simple model.

6) Never Give Up On Your Dreams

While I came into triathlons late in life, I fulfilled my childhood dream in 2010 when I was crossed the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid and was declared an Ironman. 11 hours, 18 minutes.

One of the great things about dreams is they are often stepping stones in life. They inspire us get to a place we weren’t sure we could get to. And when we arrive at that place, we tend to keep going. We keep challenging ourselves. We keep growing.

My triathlon journey has been no different. Last year I crossed the finish line of Ironman Mont Tremblant in 10 hours 29 minutes, bettering the professional standard by more than 15 minutes. I’ve earned the right to line up wit the very best triathletes in the world.

In April when we kicked off our 2014 program with almost 200 FAB Girls from across the city, I had the privilege of sharing my ironman journey with them. Not because I have any illusions of really competing with the very best. But because in sharing my journey I undoubtedly inspired them to realize that if I could overcome the barriers in my life and not give up on my dreams, they can too.

7) The last lesion, The Power of I Can

As individuals, we only do what we believe we can do. This is true for each of us. And it is also true to the over 4000 girls between the ages of 10-14 in Hamilton living below the poverty line.

At the core of this belief is a confidence that even though you don’t know what lies ahead, you have the tools and confidence to face challenges head on.

I’d like to share with you a story of I can that came out of our program last year.

Last year we had a girl who had just arrived from Pakistan find her way to our program. Four weeks into our program we take part in a 3K Mud Run. She was feeling very timid and asked her coaches if she could sit out because she wasn’t sure that she was ready. Her coaches were very supportive and suggested they go to the start line to cheer the rest of the girls on. So there they were at the start line, cheering all of our FAB Girls on. Then without warning when the gun went off she takes off with the other girls into the woods. Her coaches were both surprised and a bit worried. Somewhere along the route this young girl meets up with a FAB coach from a different program location and they decided to finish the run together. The FAB Girl’s coaches waited at the finish line and before long she crests the final hill to the finish with a huge grin on her face. After the cheering and hugs the FAB coach who finished the event with her looked at her and said, now tell your coaches what you learned out there. And without hesitation she smiled and confidently said “I Can!”.

So here’s the thing…..a girl who believes she can, moves towards challenges in life with confidence that she’ll be able to figure things out.

A girl who doesn’t believe she can; doesn’t.

Let’s take a moment to consider what happens when a girl population of 4000 doesn’t believe they can?

This is why building skills and confidence is important. This is why we believe FAB is important.

Our goal is to inspire girls to dream big and live big. We do this by helping girls understand the relationships between setting a goal, developing and executing a plan and achieving a dream.

Thank you.

Photo: TEAM SHERI  ATHLETE  OF THE WEEK  Check out Sharon's journey to becoming a professional Triathlete, and the Director of a successful Charity She is an amazing lady and has a very interesting story to share.     NAME:  Sharon Gallant  AGE:  38  PROFFESSION:    Founder & Executive Director, Fit Active Beautiful (FAB) Foundation.   FAMILY LIFE  YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS:    First triathlon was at age 30  GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR:    Mont Tremblant.  I’m hoping to race between 10:00-10:15  WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS:  Oddly enough, doing an Ironman is the very first dream I can remember having.    I can still recall the moment I was sitting on the floor in my living room watching this event unfold on TV.  My imagination was captured.  I had no idea what it really meant, only that I would be an Ironman one day.  After losing touch with that dream, I met several people in my late 20s who were active triathletes and it reignited a passion….and the rest is history!  CHALLENGES  My challenges are likely no different than most in the triathlon community – time!  I have an incredibly busy job that extends into most evenings and week-ends, making work/life balance challenging at times.  While I do have flexibility in the mornings, which is when I do most of my workouts, I have a ton of detail and responsibility swirling around in my head non-stop.  ACCOMPLISHMENTS  I’m most proud of raising my daughter and having a good relationship with her.  Adult relationships are always a choice and I value and respect that.    I’m also very proud that I found the courage to start FAB and push myself way outside my comfort zone to make good things happen.  At my core, I’m an introvert, so being the face and voice of a charity and sharing and celebrating my private life and journey has been challenging at times.  I worked hard and finished Ironman Tremblant in 10:29 last year and decided to race as a pro this year.  I obviously have no problem starting at the bottom and crawling my way up   INTERESTING FACTS  Most interesting fact about me right now is that, not only did I have a daughter when I was 17; I’m going to be a grandma at 38!    After many years of believing that my daughter’s road to parenthood would likely be paved with fertility treatments due to a condition she was diagnosed with at 16, we’ve been surprised and blessed with a baby girl who’s developing healthy and is expected to join our family in November.    You can bet I’m going to rewrite the book on grandparenthood   WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY  More than what I’ve learned about myself along the way, triathlons constantly reinforce lessons I’ve learned and affords me the opportunity to take those lessons and shape my journey.  Each training day, each race, each season has a way of gently or willfully slapping you in the face with things we know, value and appreciate.  A healthy sense of humor is recommended, as triathlons aren’t for the faint of heart.  He is some fun, yet obvious things training and racing reminds me of:  1. Let go of the things you can’t control (your genetics, where you live, your age, your equipment) and honor yourself the things you can (get your ass out of bed when the alarm goes off, enjoy a cup of strong coffee and then train your ass off in the smartest way passible – you and you alone know what you put in). 2. Mind over matter  Have a life and training mantra cause it’s going to get messy out there!   3. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome…so when something isn’t working, try something else  4. Too much of anything can be a bad thing.  Pick a thing related to triathlons and it applies…gels, cliff bars, running, cycling, sun, water, Gatorade…there is an endless list… 5. You get what you give.  There is no faking your way through an Ironman.   6. The human mind and body is capable of great things.  Be inspired. 7. Equally as important as finding joy in what you do if finding humor in what you do.  Laugh often   OTHER INFORMATION  I’ve attached the story of FAB.  It’s a speech I give to groups when I share information on FAB.  If you’d like to include information on FAB, this might be worth including.  If not, that’s fine too!  I’m good either way.  WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS   Lucky for me, my partner is unconditionally supportive and is always my rock and push when I need it.  He has much more confidence and passion in me than I do many days.   He not only makes sure I have what I need, he makes sure my bike has what she needs, the car is ready to go, the route is mapped out, the hotel or campground is booked and the coffee is on.  When I’m feeling insecure or unprepared, he always reminds me of the road behind us, which has usually been paved with awesome workouts.  Oh, and did I mention that he also wakes up a stupid o-clock with me and joins me for my workouts because he too is doing Ironman Mont Tremblant?  Yup, that’s Andy and he’s awesome!    Seven Lessons   For those who don’t know about FAB, I like to share our story through 7 life lessons I’ve learned.  Each lesson has helped shape me personally and has each has been woven into the fabric of FAB.  1) Dreams Matter  Becoming an Ironman was the very first dream I remember having.  I can still recall the moment that I was sitting on the floor as a little girl watching this event unfold on TV.  My imagination was captured.  I had no idea what it really meant, only that I would be an Ironman.  I’ll come back to this dream a bit later, but what I want to share is this….  Dreams matter.  They matter because they give us hope.    • They give us focus and purpose • Help us drowned out the noise • They push us to grow • They keep us moving forward and they inspire others  At FAB, our goal is to inspire girls to dream big and live big.  2) It’s Not About What Happens To You   Like many, I experienced a lot of trauma and challenges as a young teen. When I was about 13 my family unit crumbled when both of my parents became addicted to crack cocaine.  My father join a motorcycle gang and my mother ended up in and out of jail for years.     By the time I was 16, I was living in poverty, I had dropped out of school, I was in a bad relationship and I had become pregnant.     The future didn’t look good.  Although I knew I could do more and wanted to do more, I had no idea how to get from where I was to where I wanted to be.   Before I had the capacity to invest in myself, I made a commitment to my daughter that we would end the poverty cycle in her generation.  That led me to a career in the financial services industry.  I went back to school and after a few years found myself doing really well.  The more success I achieved, the more I began to understand a simple but life changing truth.  Successful people set goals.  And not only that, but that there is a model for setting goals.  And anyone could take that model and direct their life in a meaningful way.   The other life changing realization I had after I started running at 26 is there is very little difference between setting a goal for a 5k and setting a goal in life.   In fact, sport is a fantastic vehicle to teach us skills that we may or may not tap into because we may or may not know we have them.    The more I lived and appreciated these concepts, the more I felt my purpose in life shifting.  I spent a lot of time thinking about how to combine the power of sport and goal setting skills to provide young girls with an opportunity to challenge themselves and experience ‘I Can’.  In May of 2008 on a sunny afternoon in Nova Scotia after taking part in a 24-hour relay race, I was talking with a friend of mine about what we would be doing if we could do whatever we wanted.  We both described similar visions – working with youth and using running as a vehicle to inspire and empower.  At the end of the conversation he said to me…I just don’t know if I’m brave enough to make the change.  Although I didn’t say it out loud, I remember thinking to myself ‘I don’t want to be a person who looks back and wishes they had chosen a different path’.  3) Follow Your Passion   Shortly after that conversation I decided that I needed to follow my passion in life; and that my passion was helping young girls become strong women.    With that decision, I left my career in financial services and started FAB and our FAB Girls 5K Challenge.  Our FAB Girls 5K Challenge is a 12-week program that challenges girls in grades 6, 7 and 8 – specifically in disadvantaged communities - to train for and complete a 5 km run.   The aim of our program is two-fold:   • To encourage youth girls to become more physically active and engage in healthy living, and   • To help develop goal-setting skills that can be used to achieve any future goal or dream.  In 5 short years, we’ve grown from our initial pilot in 2009 with 9 girls and 2 volunteer coaches to running our program in 13 locations across the city with almost 200 girls and 50 volunteer coaches.  4) Remove Barriers To Create Opportunities  The largest barriers to participation for girls living in lower income communities are:  • Registration fees • Transportation • Equipment  We remove all of them.  We understood early in the process that if we wanted to engage girls living in lower income communities we needed to remove the barriers to participation.  The first thing we did was decide to offer our program in the communities girls live in so they can walk to our program.  In addition, each girl who participates in our program receives:  • An I’m FAB training shirt • A new pair of quality running shoes • Healthy snacks at each of our training sessions • Free entry and bus transportation into program events  5) Have Focus and Keep It Simple  In a world where there is a lot of need, we’ve developed a very clear focus.   Our focus:  • Girls in grades 6 through 8 • Who live in lower income communities in Hamilton  Why is this our focus?  • If you are a girl living in Hamilton you are more likely to live in poverty than if you were a boy • 24% of the girl population is living below the poverty line  With growth comes challenges and complexity, but at our core, we have a very focused and simple model.  6) Never Give Up On Your Dreams  While I came into triathlons late in life, I fulfilled my childhood dream in 2010 when I was crossed the finish line at Ironman Lake Placid and was declared an Ironman.  11 hours, 18 minutes.  One of the great things about dreams is they are often stepping stones in life.  They inspire us get to a place we weren’t sure we could get to.  And when we arrive at that place, we tend to keep going.  We keep challenging ourselves.  We keep growing.   My triathlon journey has been no different.  Last year I crossed the finish line of Ironman Mont Tremblant in 10 hours 29 minutes, bettering the professional standard by more than 15 minutes.  I’ve earned the right to line up wit the very best triathletes in the world.    In April when we kicked off our 2014 program with almost 200 FAB Girls from across the city, I had the privilege of sharing my ironman journey with them.  Not because I have any illusions of really competing with the very best.  But because in sharing my journey I undoubtedly inspired them to realize that if I could overcome the barriers in my life and not give up on my dreams, they can too.  7) The last lesion, The Power of I Can  As individuals, we only do what we believe we can do.  This is true for each of us.  And it is also true to the over 4000 girls between the ages of 10-14 in Hamilton living below the poverty line.  At the core of this belief is a confidence that even though you don’t know what lies ahead, you have the tools and confidence to face challenges head on.  I’d like to share with you a story of I can that came out of our program last year.  Last year we had a girl who had just arrived from Pakistan find her way to our program. Four weeks into our program we take part in a 3K Mud Run.   She was feeling very timid and asked her coaches if she could sit out because she wasn’t sure that she was ready.  Her coaches were very supportive and suggested they go to the start line to cheer the rest of the girls on.  So there they were at the start line, cheering all of our FAB Girls on.  Then without warning when the gun went off she takes off with the other girls into the woods.  Her coaches were both surprised and a bit worried.  Somewhere along the route this young girl meets up with a FAB coach from a different program location and they decided to finish the run together.  The FAB Girl’s coaches waited at the finish line and before long she crests the final hill to the finish with a huge grin on her face.  After the cheering and hugs the FAB coach who finished the event with her looked at her and said, now tell your coaches what you learned out there.  And without hesitation she smiled and confidently said “I Can!”.    So here’s the thing…..a girl who believes she can, moves towards challenges in life with confidence that she’ll be able to figure things out.  A girl who doesn’t believe she can; doesn’t.  Let's take a moment to consider what happens when a girl population of 4000 doesn't believe they can?  This is why building skills and confidence is important.  This is why we believe FAB is important.  Our goal is to inspire girls to dream big and live big.  We do this by helping girls understand the relationships between setting a goal, developing and executing a plan and achieving a dream.  Thank you.

TEAM SHERI ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Kevin Siah

AGE
31

PROFFESSION
Accountant

FAMILY LIFE
Married with no children

YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS
First sprint triathlon was 13-14 years ago but started getting really serious into the iron distance about 5 years ago

GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR
Ironman Malaysia in my home country on September 27, 2014. Would love to finish under 10 hours but with the challenge of the heat/humidity and some short, steep climbs, would be happy just racing to my best on the day.

WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS
I actually started off as a relay participant for a few triathlons as a swimmer and a couple of times as a runner. I enjoyed the atmosphere and camaraderie. So I thought I’ll challenge myself and give it a go. The 3km run in my first sprint triathlon felt like the longest 3km ever! A few more triathlons after that and it seemed like natural progression to do the iron distance. Now, it’s pretty much an addiction. I enjoy challenging and pushing myself in training and in races, my own competition is myself.

CHALLENGES
I’ve been really fortunate as there aren’t too many obstacles to logging my training. My work schedule is fixed and I rarely work outside my office hours. We don’t have kids so it is a lot easier. But having just arrived in Canada early last year, training through winter would top my list of challenges. Also, my wife and I share the car, so we have to juggle a bit with commuting to both our work and my training.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Completed 7 Ironman triathlons with personal best of 10 hours 15 minutes in Ironman Cairns, Australia in 2012

INTERESTING FACTS
I only breathe through my nose while I run

WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY
I would not have imagined that I would complete an Ironman, let alone 7 with a few more planned in the near future. Apart from the race itself, training for 15-20 hours a week for most of the year, which seemed somewhat impossible a few years ago, is now very much an adopted lifestyle. Yes, I am now an Ironman addict!

OTHER INFORMATION
Our 2 year stint in Canada is coming to an end. We would be returning to Australia in end of October. We truly enjoyed ourselves here (apart from the extreme winter!) We’ll be missing everyone – Team Sheri athletes and London Triathlon Club!

WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS
I’m very blessed that my wife is very supportive of this lifestyle (addiction) of mine. She’s a post doctoral fellow researcher and often does her research work while I’m out training, so I don’t feel too guilty. She is also supportive that most of our holiday trips are planned around races. Every now and then, a nice meal outside does wonders – both for our relationship and the training.

Photo: TEAM  SHERI  ATHLETE  OF THE WEEK  NAME  Kevin Siah  AGE  31  PROFFESSION  Accountant  FAMILY LIFE  Married with no children  YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS  First sprint triathlon was 13-14 years ago but started getting really serious into the iron distance about 5 years ago  GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR  Ironman Malaysia in my home country on September 27, 2014. Would love to finish under 10 hours but with the challenge of the heat/humidity and some short, steep climbs, would be happy just racing to my best on the day.  WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS  I actually started off as a relay participant for a few triathlons as a swimmer and a couple of times as a runner. I enjoyed the atmosphere and camaraderie. So I thought I’ll challenge myself and give it a go. The 3km run in my first sprint triathlon felt like the longest 3km ever! A few more triathlons after that and it seemed like natural progression to do the iron distance. Now, it’s pretty much an addiction. I enjoy challenging and pushing myself in training and in races, my own competition is myself.  CHALLENGES I’ve been really fortunate as there aren’t too many obstacles to logging my training. My work schedule is fixed and I rarely work outside my office hours. We don’t have kids so it is a lot easier. But having just arrived in Canada early last year, training through winter would top my list of challenges. Also, my wife and I share the car, so we have to juggle a bit with commuting to both our work and my training.  ACCOMPLISHMENTS Completed 7 Ironman triathlons with personal best of 10 hours 15 minutes in Ironman Cairns, Australia in 2012  INTERESTING FACTS I only breathe through my nose while I run   WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY I would not have imagined that I would complete an Ironman, let alone 7 with a few more planned in the near future. Apart from the race itself, training for 15-20 hours a week for most of the year, which seemed somewhat impossible a few years ago, is now very much an adopted lifestyle. Yes, I am now an Ironman addict!  OTHER INFORMATION Our 2 year stint in Canada is coming to an end. We would be returning to Australia in end of October. We truly enjoyed ourselves here (apart from the extreme winter!) We’ll be missing everyone – Team Sheri athletes and London Triathlon Club!  WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS  I’m very blessed that my wife is very supportive of this lifestyle (addiction) of mine. She’s a post doctoral fellow researcher and often does her research work while I’m out training, so I don’t feel too guilty. She is also supportive that most of our holiday trips are planned around races. Every now and then, a nice meal outside does wonders – both for our relationship and the training.


TEAM SHERI ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
Photo: TEAM  SHERI  ATHLETE  OF THE WEEK  NAME:  Catherine Stephens   AGE:  56  PROFFESSION:  Employment Counsellor   FAMILY LIFE: Single – one son – Robert 29  YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS: 1 year  GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR – Iron Girl in August and Olympic Distant in September.  WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS –I was inspired through my nephew George Stephens as he had done an Olympic Distance a few years ago.  I was inspired through other people’s stories that I met doing triathlon, cycling and running in 2012 and in 2013.    I initially did it because I wanted to know if I could in fact do it.  I like triathlon as it gives me a sense of purpose, and to improving my overall health through a fitness program that challenges me.  I love meeting other people and listening to their stories.   I do triathlon to experience the overall journey through swimming, cycling and running.  I do it for the fitness, for the fun and more importantly for the self-discovery.  CHALLENGES: My biggest challenge is my own self-doubt about my own abilities and confidence.  Considering that I was really never athletic in high school or over the past 3 decades wasn’t sure if I was physically capable of doing a triathlon.  Having been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (pain and fatigue) 17 years ago I was unclear whether I could participate in the training requirements and whether I could compete or even complete an event.  Another challenge was starting this sport in my mid 50’s  ACCOMPLISHMENTS Sheri Fraser’s Spring Tri Camp –2013 – Biggest loser in body fat Competed in 3 Triathlons in 2013: 1st Triathlon:  Florida Challenge Sprint – Age Division Winner –April 21, 2013 2nd: Iron Girl – August 10, 2013 3rd: Sprint, Guelph Lake 2, August 31, 2013 Sheri Fraser’s Spring Tri Camp - 2014 – Biggest loser in body fat  • Experienced a significant growth in all 3 sports in comparison to spring 2013 – I am gaining confidence to cycle while standing up and climbing hills. I am gaining confidence in not applying the brakes while going downhill. Learning to make peace in swimming in open lakes and running better.  INTERESTING FACTS – Having fibromyalgia no longer stops me. In fact I feel better than sitting on the couch.  I feel better being involved in a training program as I have more energy and having a lot more fun too.    WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY  I can do it!  I enjoy the process of training and competing.  With a desire, determination and setting goals – I can achieve what I set out to do.   OTHER INFORMATION Still working on the FEAR Factors – swimming in open water in Florida and Ontario. Still working on how to swim, cycle and run better.   WHAT DOES YOUR family THINK OF ALL THIS   My son Robert is very proud of my accomplishments and he is happy to see that I have found a sport that I am enjoying.      My parents are very proud of me and are happy that I have found a sport that is very meaningful.
NAME: Catherine Stephens

AGE: 56

PROFFESSION: Employment Counsellor

FAMILY LIFE: Single – one son – Robert 29

YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS: 1 year

GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR – Iron Girl in August and Olympic Distant in September.

WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS –I was inspired through my nephew George Stephens as he had done an Olympic Distance a few years ago. I was inspired through other people’s stories that I met doing triathlon, cycling and running in 2012 and in 2013.

I initially did it because I wanted to know if I could in fact do it. I like triathlon as it gives me a sense of purpose, and to improving my overall health through a fitness program that challenges me. I love meeting other people and listening to their stories.

I do triathlon to experience the overall journey through swimming, cycling and running. I do it for the fitness, for the fun and more importantly for the self-discovery.

CHALLENGES: My biggest challenge is my own self-doubt about my own abilities and confidence. Considering that I was really never athletic in high school or over the past 3 decades wasn’t sure if I was physically capable of doing a triathlon. Having been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (pain and fatigue) 17 years ago I was unclear whether I could participate in the training requirements and whether I could compete or even complete an event. Another challenge was starting this sport in my mid 50’s

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Sheri Fraser’s Spring Tri Camp –2013 – Biggest loser in body fat
Competed in 3 Triathlons in 2013:
1st Triathlon: Florida Challenge Sprint – Age Division Winner –April 21, 2013
2nd: Iron Girl – August 10, 2013
3rd: Sprint, Guelph Lake 2, August 31, 2013
Sheri Fraser’s Spring Tri Camp – 2014 – Biggest loser in body fat
• Experienced a significant growth in all 3 sports in comparison to spring 2013 – I am gaining confidence to cycle while standing up and climbing hills. I am gaining confidence in not applying the brakes while going downhill. Learning to make peace in swimming in open lakes and running better.

INTERESTING FACTS – Having fibromyalgia no longer stops me. In fact I feel better than sitting on the couch. I feel better being involved in a training program as I have more energy and having a lot more fun too.

WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY

I can do it!
I enjoy the process of training and competing.

With a desire, determination and setting goals – I can achieve what I set out to do.

OTHER INFORMATION
Still working on the FEAR Factors – swimming in open water in Florida and Ontario. Still working on how to swim, cycle and run better.

WHAT DOES YOUR family THINK OF ALL THIS

My son Robert is very proud of my accomplishments and he is happy to see that I have found a sport that I am enjoying.

My parents are very proud of me and are happy that I have found a sport that is very meaningful.

TEAM SHERI ATHLETE OF THE WEEK

Photo: TEAM  SHERI  ATHLETE  OF THE WEEK  NAME Maria Gough  AGE 47  PROFESSION Senior Director of Administration  FAMILY LIFE Married to Andrew  YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS 2  GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR Ironman Mont Tremblant  WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS Great way to stay fit  CHALLENGES Balancing training and work schedules  ACCOMPLISHMENTS Marathon and Half Marathon Handful of Sprints and Olympic triathlon distances Musselman Half Ironman  INTERESTING FACTS Love to travel   WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY Learned to overcome fear of open water  OTHER INFORMATION It’s a great sport full of interesting people and I really enjoy the friendships that I have made.  WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS  I am fortunate to have a VERY supportive spouse!

NAME
Maria Gough

AGE
47

PROFESSION
Senior Director of Administration

FAMILY LIFE
Married to Andrew

YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS
2

GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR
Ironman Mont Tremblant

WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS
Great way to stay fit

CHALLENGES
Balancing training and work schedules

ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Marathon and Half Marathon
Handful of Sprints and Olympic triathlon distances
Musselman Half Ironman

INTERESTING FACTS
Love to travel

WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY
Learned to overcome fear of open water

OTHER INFORMATION
It’s a great sport full of interesting people and I really enjoy the friendships that I have made.

WHAT DOES YOUR SPOUSE THINK OF ALL THIS
I am fortunate to have a VERY supportive spouse

TEAM SHERI ATHLETE OF THE WEEK
NAME:    Matt Feltham AGE: 37

PROFESSION: Physician

FAMILY LIFE: Married to Janis, 2 boys (Luke 8, Noah 5)

YEARS DOING TRIATHLONS: 3

GOAL RACE FOR THE YEAR: Ironman Mont Tremblant

WHY YOU STARTED DOING TRIATHLONS: Called Sheri 3 years ago to help me with several acquired running injuries. She told me I should buy a bike and learn to swim. Got hooked after my first one.

CHALLENGES: Balancing work, family and training. Coping with winter.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Stayed happily married 
Marathon PB in Chicago 2013: (3:04)
Ironman Lake Placid 2013

INTERESTING FACTS: Planning family year abroad to Australia in 2016. (and maybe squeeze in an Ironman)

WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED ABOUT YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY: If you want to go fast you have to be willing to hurt, not just in the race but during training.

OTHER INFORMATION: Changing work life in 2014 to never have to experience another Canadian winter. Ever.

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