She moves from¬†France to the US for a job, gets involved with the charity group, Team in Training, as a runner, gives triathlon a try and in a short amount of time she is training for her first Ironman Distance race. We are proud to have had the chance to meet our next guest: Marie Schneider
KK: Marie, please tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up?
MS: I was born and raised in a town, not to say village, called Carspach located in Northeast France bordering Switzerland and Germany.¬† After graduating University in 2003, I received a job offer in the United States, which was only meant to last for about a year and a half. After accepting the offer and relocating to the United States, I encountered many ups and downs.¬† However, overall, things were working out well.¬† A few months before my departure back to France, I was offered a full-time continued stay with the company.¬† Having to already been accustomed to America, I decided to make my stay permanent.
KK: What types of interested did you have growing up?
MS: To be honest, my interests were very limited while growing up.¬† The town I grew up in was very conservative in nature.¬† The majority of the young girls growing up in my neck of the woods were primarily involved with families, doing choirs around the house, cooking, and cleaning.¬† There were not a whole lot of "exciting" opportunities for I to participate in. I liked to play Basketball, but there were no athletic clubs to be involved with, I just did basic activities like hiking and biking.
KK: How many ¬Ĺ and full marathon have you done?
MS: I have completed 5 half marathons and 4 full marathons.
KK: Which ¬Ĺ or full marathon is your favorite? Why?
MS: Chesebro Half-Marathon in Agoura Hills. It is considered to be among the most difficult half-marathons in the continental United States.¬† The course is mostly trail, very hilly, technical, and extremely challenging.¬† However, it is a gorgeous course with breathtaking sceneries.¬† Personally, I would much prefer a challenging course over an easy one. It gives me a greater sense of self-fulfillment.
KK: When did you get started doing triathlons?
MS: I started training for my first triathlon in February 2008.
KK: When did you do you first triathlon? How did it go?
MS: San Diego Triathlon, June 2008, it was a blast, I finished and said... that was it?¬† I signed up for Big Kahuna the very next day!
KK: What was the hardest part of getting started in triathlon for you?
MS: Swimming was the hardest part of my newly found journey to complete a triathlon.¬† It is quite difficult to do a triathlon when one doesn't know how to swim at all. I am not talking about being a "poor" swimmer; I did NOT know how to swim, period. If someone were to push me into a 3-foot deep pool, I would probably drown.¬† While I have come a long way from not being able to swim to swimming 2000 yards, non-stop, I am still working on getting rid of my fear of water.¬† It is such a technical sport that I feel like I learn something new each time I swim.¬† Whether I tweak my stroke slightly, or learn how to kick more efficiently, point being, I get better each day.¬† I certainly have a long way to go, but whatever it takes, I will not give up!
KK: How did you get involved with Team In Training?
MS: As I mentioned earlier, I never considered myself an athlete growing up.¬† Upon moving to the United States, I would go to the gym, lift weights and do some basic cardio.¬† However, I thought that I had the capability of completing an endurance event.¬† In 2006, among my New Years goals was one geared towards a healthier lifestyle.¬† Less partying, eating better, and exercising more.¬† One of the ways I thought I would accomplish this is by running. So, I started running on a regular basis. Not extensively, but consistently.¬† A friend of mine talked me into doing a 5K with her.¬† While this proved to be a challenge in itself, I somewhat became addicted to running.¬† Next, I did a 10K.¬† After several more 5 and 10Ks, I decided to kick it up a notch and do my first marathon.¬† Now, I had no idea where to start. Just thinking about running for 26 miles gave me the shivers.¬† Realizing that I would have a hard time training for a marathon by myself, I did some research and came across a program called Team In Training (TNT).¬† I immediately became fond of the cause.¬† TNT is the most well known part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.¬† They train beginner and advanced athletes to complete a half or full marathon, long distance cycle ride, a triathlon of various distances or a hiking event.¬† While they train, participants raise life-saving funds that go towards research, patient services, education and outreach - all in an effort to find a cure for all blood cancers.¬† The funds participants raise also offset their own events costs, as TNT covers flight, hotel, race entry among other event related details.¬† Training for a marathon with many other like-minded individuals, while at the same time contributing to a cause greater than myself seemed like an amazing thing to do.¬† Consequently, I joined the 2006 marathon team and began my journey training for my first marathon and more importantly, fundraising to save lives.¬† I've been with TNT ever as this has truly been a life-changing experience on many levels!
KK: Last year you completed Big Kahuna, describe your race experience.
MS: Big Kahuna was my first half ironman and my second triathlon ever.¬† It took place 3 months after my first triathlon, San Diego.¬† Because I had so much fun training for San Diego, I really wanted to continue to challenge myself and kick up my training to the next level.¬† My Big Kahuna experience was definitely way harder than expected.¬† Even though I didn't have any time goals in mind, the distance was somewhat frightening, especially in the water. However, I did have a lot of fun doing the race. It was a great day for my first half ironman experience.¬† It was a BLAST.¬† One of the best things about the experience was that alongside me were many of the Team In Training friends I have made through my years on the Team.¬† It was great to have us all out there, supporting each other and making a great race day memory.
MS: I would strongly recommend this half ironman distance triathlon to anyone.¬† The race starts at the beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, CA.¬† The course was almost entirely coastal with breathtaking views of the rugged California coast, beautiful scenery, and historic lighthouses.¬† The race finished at the main stage of the Beach Boardwalk.
KK: Leading into this event you had a bit of an accident, how did this affect your race?
MS: That's correct. Unfortunately, I crashed on my bike about a month prior to Big Kahuna.¬† My crash happened while I was descending on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.¬† Because of the injuries I received, I was not able to complete some of the key workouts.¬† Nevertheless, I still completed the race.¬† While the crash did not affect the outcome of Big Kahuna, it did have an adverse effect on my confidence immediately after.¬† I became horridly nervous when I tried to get back on the bike and go for a casual ride.¬† As a matter of fact, my fear prevented me from touching my bike for two months.¬† When my next season started, It took me more than half a year to get my confidence back.¬† Even though I still get somewhat nervous descending, I feel much better and I ride much better.
KK: You are now training for your first Ironman with IronTeam?
MS: Yes. I am part of the Greater Los Angeles Chapter of Team In Training, specifically the IronTeam.
KK: Please explain to our readers what IronTeam is.
MS: The IronTEAM is a part of Team In Training, specifically at the Los Angeles Chapter.¬† IronTEAM in Los Angeles includes participants doing either a full ironman or a half ironman.¬† The Full ironman consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run, all in one day, non-stop.¬† We're training for the Full Vineman Triathlon in beautiful Sonoma County on August 1, 2009.¬† Our half ironman this season is the Wildflower Long Course Triathlon.¬† The distances for Wildflower are exactly half of the full event (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and 13.1 mile run).¬† Wildflower triathlon is among the world's toughest half-ironman as the course is very hilly, both on the bike ride and more so on the run.¬† While participants can choose to fundraise for both events, many who choose to participate in Vineman do Wildflower on their own as a "practice" race.
MS: IronTEAM is filled with amazing people, who are all there to complete either a half or full ironman, and are all raising money to save LIVES.¬† We have some amazing athletes on the team; however, some of the participants have never done a triathlon prior to joining the team.¬† In fact, most participants haven't even done a 10K.¬† When the training started, there were some people who didn't know how to swim, which I can relate to.
MS: As a team, we meet on Saturdays to do our main training, which can consist of riding, running, swimming, or any combination of the 3. In addition, we meet once during the week for a swim practice.¬† Our wonderful coaching staff also provides us with a schedule of the remaining workouts that we should complete on our own.¬† However, many of the participants choose to do these workouts with others.¬† So, at all times, there are others for you to train with.¬† I think, this is where the true power or IronTEAM shines.¬† Knowing that you are NOT alone is worth more than gold.
KK: Which race are you training for and how is the training going?
MS: As part of the IronTEAM I am training for:
- Wildflower Long Course on May 2nd
- Vineman Full Ironman on August 1st
MS: At this point I m not sure about my plans post-ironman, I would like to get back into running more and qualify for the Boston Marathon, but I would rather not think about this until after Vineman.
KK: What are some of your race goals for 2009?
MS: My biggest 2009 race goals are to safely finish both Wildflower Long Course and Vineman Full Ironman.¬† In the process, I would like to continue to have lots of fun, both during training and on race day. I would also like to finish strong and have my smiley picture taken at the finish lines.
KK: What else would you like our readers to know about you?
MS: I am a prime example of, "If I can do it, ANYONE can".¬† Looking back at where I was a few short years ago, I realize that a human body is very adaptable.¬† It adapts to different scenarios, workloads, and can adjust itself accordingly to accommodate pretty much everything.¬† If the willingness is there, anyone, and I mean ANYONE can do an Ironman.¬† It's just a matter of, "How bad do you want it?" I know I want it bad! ¬†Therefore, with every swim and pedal stroke, every time my foot touches the ground as I pound the miles away, I get "that" much closer to being an Ironwoman.
Race: Chesebro Half Marathon
Movie: Cruel Intentions
Salt or Fresh Water Swim: fresh water without a doubt!!!!
Place to relax: the beach
Quote: As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do
Person you would like to meet: Chrissie Wellington
Marie Schneider completed the 2009 Avia Wildflower Triathlon (long course), with a time of 6:58:45. Marie commented about her performance at Wildflower "I had the best race ever!¬†I could not be happier and¬†I had so much fun doing this race." Great job Marie, we will be watching you complete the Vinemnan full.
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