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25 Jul

Journey to Becoming an Ironman: Texas Swim Academy’s Shannon Schuster Trains for Her First Half Ironman

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Part 1: The Challenge

We’re happy to announce some exciting news here at Texas Swim Academy. One of our very own swim instructional coaches, Shannon Schuster, will be training for her very first Half Ironman this year. This grueling Half Ironman 70.3 mile course consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run and will take place in April 2015 in Galveston, Texas.

For many, the idea of completing any type of Ironman triathlon seems (initially) to be impossible, and even intimidating. For the few who decide to take on the challenge, the road to the finish line is as long and strenuous as the actual race course. Months and months of training go into preparing for such an accomplishment and our team is very proud to have one of our very own accepting the challenge.

Meet Shannon

As a Texas Swim Academy instructional coach for 4.5 years, Shannon has been with Texas Swim Academy from the very beginning. She actually became very close friends with owner Kathleen McMordie while enrolling her own children in swimming lessons.

What Gave You the Inspiration to Begin Training for a Half Ironman?

“I’ve always been into sports, very competitive natured. I’ve always enjoyed getting out there and getting involved. It’s so much fun to meet new people. Also, when I sign up for things, it gives me a goal and I think… ‘well, I have to go through with it now!’ I’ve always been driven to looking for a new challenge or ‘the next level’ while getting healthy and losing weight.”

What Sporting Events are You Planning on Participating in the Next Several Months Besides the Half Ironman?

“To getting in good running mileage, I’ll be running the full Houston Marathon in January. Then continue on training for my Half Ironman in April and, depending on how I feel, MIGHT be doing the Full Ironman in October 2015.”

How’s Training Going? What’s a Typical Week Like for You?

“Pretty good. I’ve just started my runs this week and joined Katy Fit to help me keep up with my long runs. My friend and co-worker, Dawn, who also enrolled her kids at Texas Swim, is my training buddy. She’s done 2-3 full marathons. So, if I have any questions about running, it’s great to have her by my side. Typically right now I’m running a couple of times a week and getting some swim laps in before church. I’m focusing mainly on running right now, but in December, my training will be more integrated with biking and swimming and will be at a higher intensity.”

“I also have a coach, Melinda Molinas, who has a background nutrition and sports specific nutrition and his helping me with weight training. We’ll do weight training (legs and arms) twice a week. We were also doing a cardio day but that’s getting cut out soon since I’m already doing a lot.”

Any Challenges with Balancing Work and Social Life with Training Yet?

“No challenges so far. It doesn’t affect me negatively. I’m affected by it, but in a good way. I’m more relaxed and less stressed. When I work out, I feel better. I’m more energetic around my friends and family; a better version of myself. Now ask me the same thing in December and I might tell you something different.”

“The [Texas Swim Academy] group here has been very supportive. Anja, Theresa, and I will all workout together after work. It’s been nice to have that motivation everyday.”

What’s the Biggest Thing That You’d Like to Accomplish from This Experience?

“My biggest goal is to complete the Half Ironman and to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. It’s great doing something positive and fun for myself while setting a good example for my children. It’s mostly about having fun and meeting new people. At the same time, the Half Ironman will be the next challenge for me, the next level where I have the opportunity to push myself further. Right now in my training, I’m just focused on finishing the Houston marathon and moving onto the Half Ironman. Then we’ll see if full Ironman is in the plan.”

Do You Have Any Advice for Someone Who Wants to Compete in Triathlons but Feels Intimidated?

“I would say to start off slow and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find a buddy, start moving and figure it out along the way. Everyone has this assumption that you need fancy equipment to be a triathlete, but you don’t need the fanciest equipment or spend too much money. I started doing triathlons on my hybrid bike and even borrowed equipment from friends.”

We encourage parents and students to follow Shannon’s upcoming training season where she’ll share her experiences on the road to Ironman. With this real-life story, we hope to encourage everyone that anything is possible if you open yourself up to the possibilities.

Subscribe to Shannon’s Training section on the TSA blog as Shannon discusses her training season and the in’s and out’s of training and racing.