Mary Liz Olazabal Rockstar Triathlete

Mary Liz Olazabal Rockstar Triathlete

Coach’s Notes: When Mary Liz first started she was in chronic pain in her foot, so we made the call to stop running all together, instead of pushing through as so many athletes do!

This was a tough call because she loved running and did not want to stop.

I’m a big believer that pain can be your teacher, but you have to actually listen!! After 2 years of physical therapy, skills and drills and only training and racing the swim and bike- Mary Liz is now a triathlete again!

So happy she took the time to let the body heal and can do what she loves. She is a huge inspiration as one of our fastest short course female triathletes.

She earned 2nd place podium at the Clash Sprint race last month- Way to go Mary Liz.

Short course triathletes MATTER!!! You are a true Rockstar Triathlete.

Age: 54

Profession: 5th Grade Teacher

Why you chose FCC to help you on your triathlon/health and wellness journey? I had done some triathlon training with a friend and competed in some sprint triathlons. Then I joined friends who trained with Erinne for their first triathlon. The great people at Full Circle have kept me hooked ever since.

What is your “A” race for this season? I don’t have an A race. I’m just trying to get stronger and more proficient at the skills within each discipline so that I can go from seeing a race as an accomplishment to something that’s fun.

Please share your BIG goals: I’d like to figure out how to swim correctly. I have age old bad habits that I am still trying to kick. I’d like to become a better and more comfortable swimmer. I’d also like to gain strength on the bike. I recently, finally,  bought a tri – bike, so I’m still getting used to it. I have a big bike vacation coming up this summer with lots of hills. Gaining strength over the next few months will be a big help.

Tell me about your successes so far:

In December I raced my first sprint since starting with Full Circle. I have been suffering from tendonitis in my foot for 3 years. Weekly PT and focusing on the aquabike became my thing. I didn’t feel much like a triathlete without the third leg of the triathlon. So, I was thrilled to finally participate in a “real” triathlon. My best part was the run. I ran it in under 25 minutes, which was a first for me for a 5k. This week I participated in the Clash Sprint distance. I didn’t freak out in the swim and the bike was really comfortable. That’s a big improvement for me. I actually enjoyed it in real time. Rather than feeling a sense of accomplishment afterwards, I actually found joy in the swimming and riding. The run was hot and still felt like work. I was glad when that part was over!

What were some of your biggest Improvements in performance for the each of the following? Swim, Bike, Run, and Nutrition/Health. Please include any Personal Records and Goals achieved:

Swim – I still have a lot to learn, but I’m able to control the panic I feel at the start of the race. I’ve learned to talk to myself, build my speed gradually, and sight more often to stay on course.

Bike – I am working on being strong through the whole pedal stroke, pulling and pushing. My speed in races keeps getting faster. I know that is not a great barometer to use. I need to focus on the metrics and learn to use my power meters and heart rate which would give me a much better measure to go by.

Run – I spent so long not running and then running with no acceleration, that I’ve had time to work on my form (fast feet, squeeze the glutes and try to keep my hips forward and lean forward). It’s really helped me lower the pain and make me somewhat faster.

Name 2 or 3 things that have made the biggest difference in your journey:

1.Reframing the morning workout as a gift I give myself helps me be more consistent about getting up at 5am. 

2.Seeking the joy in triathlon, rather than a podium finish, has helped with the panic I feel before the swim.

3.Creating new healthier rituals in terms of nutrition has helped my sugar cravings.

4.Finding a sleep routine that works for me (Including a series of leg/hip exercises for sciatic pain and meditation) has been a game changer.

What excites you the most about being involved in triathlon?

First, it’s truly a way to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and I believe that’s critical as we get older. We cannot control the world around us, we can only control how we react. So, putting ourselves in uncomfortable situations gives us a chance to practice.

There’s always more to learn and ways to grow in this sport. I’ve never spent too much time thinking about biking and there’s a lot I’d like to learn so that I can become stronger and enjoy it more.

What would you say to another person who was on the fence about joining our training program?

If someone were on the fence I would let them know that Full Circle is so much more than just the swim, bike and run. It’s about people, a positive lifestyle, and creating a better you.

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