New Mom Chelsea Sodaro on Historic Ironman Win: It’s ‘Really Freaking Hard’ Balancing the Two


Ironman World Champion Chelsea Sodaro doesn’t preserve her large first place trophy in a elaborate glass case. It’s not on her front room mantle, or displayed anyplace else that she would possibly exhibit her newest achievement to visiting family and friends. 

Sodaro, who grew to become the primary American girl to win the Ironman World Championships in 25 years, has her trophy hidden in a closet. Her winner’s medal is stashed in a sock drawer. Finally, she’ll transfer them each to her dad and mom home, roughly 150 miles away from the place she lives. 

“I don’t actually prefer to have reminders like that round,” Sodaro, 33, an expert triathlete since 2017 who lives in Reno together with her husband, Steve, and 19-month-old daughter, Skye, tells SELF. “I like to remain tremendous hungry. And I really feel like if I had been to simply be my achievements, that wouldn’t be good for my drive.”

Sodaro’s “stay-hungry, stay-humble” strategy explains, partially, how the previous professional runner turned triathlete bested a discipline of 41 different elite ladies in October to win the Ironman Championships in what was solely her second-ever competitors at that distance. She completed the grueling course in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, in simply 8:33:46. Extensively thought-about probably the most prestigious race within the sport of triathlon, the Ironman Championships is a brutal occasion. Rivals battle ocean waves, unrelenting wind, quad-killing hills, and sometimes oppressive warmth as they swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run 26.2 miles. 

As Sodaro seems to be forward towards her objectives for subsequent 12 months, which embrace defending her title on the 2023 Ironman Championships, we requested the world-class athlete to unpack the coaching secrets and techniques that propelled her to her historic win, in addition to her largest takeaways from the monumental day. Right here, her prime reflections. 

1. Household comes first and their assist stays key.

Sodaro gave start to her daughter in March 2021, and Skye has been the“smartest thing that’s ever occurred” to her, she says. However it’s been troublesome balancing the position of professional athlete and father or mother, particularly since having a child has restricted the time Sodaro has to dedicate to coaching. For example, previous to her being pregnant and Skye’s start, Sodaro may spend copious quantities of time executing even the smallest particulars of a coaching program, like doing half-hour of activation drills earlier than a run. However now she doesn’t at all times have the bandwidth. 

Due to the pressure of juggling each roles, Sodaro says she significantly thought-about quitting the game of triathlon over the previous 12 months. 

“It’s been actually, actually difficult to make this work,” she says. “I’ve oftentimes felt like I’m failing at my job and failing at being a mother, like I may by no means be adequate in each on the similar time.” However by way of these intervals of self-doubt, Sodaro’s husband supplied unrelenting ethical assist, she says. “He simply saved on reminding me that there was nonetheless a lot to return, and that I simply wanted to get by way of this preliminary postpartum interval to essentially discover out what was attainable, and that it will get simpler in a variety of methods.”

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