An Interview With Christine Meyer
How did you get into triathlon?
I was under a great deal of stress personally, and needed to find a way to cope with it, so my best friend decided to take me to the gym every single day. This went on for about 6 months. I was feeling great, less stressed, more focused, leaner, and stronger, but I was also feeling bored with the gym scene, and longed to be outside. I'd watched Ironman competitions on TV for years, and dreamed of being able to do something like that. Luckily I had a friend who had done a lot of racing, and she offered to coach me. At first, the training seemed unbelievably hard. I'd never been on a road bike, swam in a wetsuit, or ran over a mile before! Every time I hit a new milestone, I would break down in tears because I was so happy and proud. I couldn't believe I was really doing something I never thought was possible. Through my training, I discovered Athletes Lounge and Gary. They were a huge help, and so kind to me even though I had no clue how to change a flat tire. They taught me about gear, racing, and everything trisport. I loved it so much, I went to work for them, and I'm still involved today as the buyer for run and swim products.
All of these experiences changed me to my very core. I would not be the person I am today without this sport, my family, and my friends. The finish line high you get from triathlon is like nothing else! The challenges have evolved, and I cry less these days, but I keep coming back for more.
Tell us about your first race experience.
I'm pretty sure I experienced every emotion within a 4 hour period on the day of my first race. I was nervous, scared, and excited from the moment I woke up. I could barely get my breakfast down, and cried all the way to the race because I didn't think I could do it. Lucky for me, I have an amazing husband who kicked me out of the car and said, "See you at the finish line!" I was a mess and felt completely freaked out. When the gun went off for the swim, suddenly a switch flipped in me. I instantly went from a very scared newbie to a fearless veteran. I got out, swam as hard as I could, jumped on my borrowed cyclocross bike, and rode my heart out. Then came the run. I'm not the fastest runner out there, so I did my best to hang on, trying to take in every moment because you only get one first time. As I came to the last quarter mile of the run, I could hear everyone cheering at the finish line. The feeling of accomplishment hit me like a ton of bricks. It was all I could do to hold back the wall of tears. Hearing all the people cheering, the music pumping, and your name being announced felt surreal. I had never experienced anything like it.
What are your race day must-haves you rely on?
It really depends on the distance. A sprint is nothing compared to the amount of stuff I need for an Ironman. For the swim, I always use my Blue Seventy wetsuit and TYR Special Ops goggles. For the bike, of course it's my Cervelo P3 equipped with a Garmin 520. I'm a liquid nutrition person on the bike, so I usually have some kind of drink in grape or watermelon flavor. I'm always wearing a running watch...even when I'm not running! Oakley glasses with a Prizm Road lens are a must for all training and racing. Some things I keep in my race bag that always come in handy are electrical tape, scissors, Body Glide, sunscreen and a Sharpie.
Do you have a favorite event that you've competed in?
I love the 70.3 distance. It's a great mix of endurance and speed. I love going as fast as possible, but sprints and Olympics are too short. My favorite race of all time is the Ironman Oceanside 70.3. It's an ocean swim, a closed bike course on Camp Pendleton, and a run along the ocean. The streets are lined with people cheering, and you can't help but smile every moment of that race. The full Ironman is by far the most special, and requires that you put your heart and soul into training for that long day. I'm excited to take on a few 70.3's and a full Ironman in 2018.
What events would you recommend for women that want to get into trisports?
Locally, the Girlfriends Tri is awesome! This is a great first race that's all women, starting with a downstream swim near shore, flat bike ride, and run, all with the amazing support of Why Racing.
Most races have friends-and-family and try-a-tri divisions. These are great ways to start racing with your friends, without worrying about the competition. Joining a group or tri club is also an excellent way to learn about the sport. Most clubs have focused races and group training plans, so you'll never be at a loss for a workout buddy in a tri club. The tri community is so helpful and supportive- when you're surrounded by others who encourage you and lift you up, you can achieve more than you ever thought was possible. Find a support system that works for you, whether it's a tri club or group, friends, or online community. Some of my most cherished friendships have come from triathlon and the community. We all do this because we love the feeling, we love the sport, and we want to support and encourage others!