Q: How long have you and Kate been married?
A: Kate and I have been married for almost 2 and a half years. And we were together for eight years before that.
Q: Have you been doing triathlon as long as you’ve known her?
A: No. The sport hadn’t crossed my mind until 2010 when Kate and I caught the Cap Tex Tri in downtown Austin on accident. We ended up staying for the finish because I insisted. That next year I competed at Cap Tex. I didn’t get serious about the sport until early 2016, when I met coach Natasha Van de Merwe and starting training at the Austin Aquatics and Sports Academy.
Q: Is she into triathlon, too? If not, what’s her passion?
A: My wife has competed in only one triathlon, TriWaco in 2013, and I don’t see her coming back. She still swims three to four times per week, runs five or six times per week and throws in the occasional bike ride on the weekend. She also takes pilates and TRX classes to stay fit. While she doesn’t compete in the sport of triathlon as we know it, she does her own kind of triathlon week to week.
Q: How do you balance your training with your relationship and family life?
A: I work in the Intensive Care Unit at Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas. My schedule is all over the place and changes from week to week. I work every other weekend and do administrative work on the side. I only work three days a week, but my days are 12 to 14 hours long.
I typically train for three to four hours on my off days, but also train at home after work, anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. On those days, my wife typically takes care of dinner.
On my off days, I try and get all of my workouts done in the morning or early afternoon so when Kate comes home, dinner is ready to go, and we can walk the dog together or go to bed a bit earlier.
Part of finding balance, is being flexible with training. My wife has to be priority No. 1. Training is important, but should never come before your relationship. Knowing when to skip training for the night is sometimes necessary to keeping my home harmonious.
The other thing I do is plan dates or gatherings with friends, so we have something to look forward to.
Q: How does she support you in training and racing?
A: She understands my dreams and motivations for racing. She knows I will not stop finding ways to challenge myself. Aside from that, whenever I have a weird ache, or pain she is always my go-to for her assessment skills and knowledge. (She has a doctorate in physical therapy.)
She also supports me in the kitchen. Since I started training for triathlons, I also started eating so much more food. She started doubling my portions and making extra healthy snacks that I can eat before or after a training session.
Q: What’s the most helpful/sweetest thing she’s done to support you in racing or training?
A: My wife just completed her doctorate of physical therapy from Texas State University. Doctoral programs are no joke, and during the semesters she has very little time to do anything but eat, sleep and study.
Back in 2017, I was competing in the Olympic-distance triathlon at TriWaco. Before the race, she told me she was not going to be able to go. Given her work load and dedication to the program, I was understanding. She would have lost a half-day. When I exited T1 on my bike, I looked left, and there she was cheering me on with our puppy!
Q: How do you show her you appreciate her support?
A: I tell her all the time. I communicate how much her support means to me. I say it so often she is probably tired hearing of it. But I also grab her flowers from the flower shop, cook a nice meal for her or takie her out for ice cream or gelato (her favorite treats). I know she wants to be at most events, but I know that she gets tired too. I give her permission to skip events if she has other things to do, and I am ok with that.
Q: How is your life together different during off-season?
A: I think of the off-season as an important time to revitalize the relationship. During the off season, we tend to make more extensive plans and take day trips or vacations. We spend more time grabbing early morning coffee at our local coffee shop, getting breakfast or brunch with friends over the weekend, or get this: We sleep in. We spend more time cooking together, hiking with our dog and just relaxing.
Q: How important is having a supportive partner to your success as an athlete?
A: It is of the utmost importance. Having a supportive partner is the only way I could do what I do and compete as a triathlete. But all that support is contingent on a detailed plan as to what the upcoming race calendar looks like, weekly discussions about training hours and time frames, etc.
I couldn’t compete in triathlon if I didn’t have a supportive spouse. Training and racing while knowing that your spouse would rather have you do something else is a recipe for disaster.