49 - Tyler and Jenna Russell

1:08:15
 
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Pretty sure no one ever said “a family that trains and competes in triathlon together, stays together” but they might after listening to this episode. Tyler and Jenna Russell live in Ohio, have been married for 6 years, are raising 2 young boys and are both pursuing their multi-sport dreams.

Jenna is a Special Education teacher, and she describes working with children with disabilities as both “exhausting and rewarding at the same time.” She admits that she ran cross-country and track in High School. Even though she claims that she wasn’t “very good at it” and remembers it being more of a good time with friends, she did continue into her 1st year of college but had to quit because of injuries.

Tyler works full-time and is currently pursuing his MBA. While still training for triathlon, he acknowledges that with all that is going right now it’s Jenna’s turn. He is stepping back from 70.3 and will compete in smaller races for a while.

The couple shares how they got introduced to the sport of triathlon and the disciplines that they are the strongest and weakest in. Through conversation we learn that Jenna learned to swim in middle school and Tyler qualified to run the Boston Marathon in 2019.

We talk about the difference between qualifying to run the Boston Marathon and actually running the Boston Marathon. I ask them which discipline they would choose to tackle if participating on a relay team.

Jenna is currently training for Ironman 70.3 Ohio and at the time of the recording we were about 13 weeks out. She gives us an update on how she is feeling and how training is going so far. She shares that Tyler’s dad is also racing Ohio and having a “buddy” to race with played into her decision when picking which race to sign up for.

Tyler talks us through his experience at Ironman 70.3 Steelhead in Michigan last year. He explains that the race was shortened due to a small craft warning on Lake Superior. Since I’ve never been to Age Group awards or a World Championship Slot Allocation, and may never get to at this point, they share how that process worked for them.

We get to hear some of Tyler’s experience in St. George and they talk us through how they balance life and training with 2 small children. At least for now, they are taking turns training and racing. Because Tyler’s dad is also signed up for 70.3 Ohio, they have plans to have Tyler’s mom to watch the boys while the 3 of them are out for a bike session.

We discuss their thoughts on the full distance race. They both have plans to do a 140.6 but acknowledge the training would be too much for now. We discuss our “bucket list” race venues. Jenna explains how she got inspired to get back into racing triathlon while spectating the finish line at St. George.

We learn what bikes they ride and for those of you with a triathlete in your life, Jenna reveals what she received for her last birthday. It turned out to be both practical and educational. We round out our conversation talking about the next generation of triathletes.

To document Jenna’s triathlon journey, she has created a new Instagram account. You can follow her @ironman.mom.in.training

At the time of publish, Tyler has 100 Instagram followers and 1 single post. Baby steps.

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