Women can be transformed through the sport of triathlon by surrounding themselves with positive people who enjoy training and competing. Swim Bike Mom is an organization that encourages women of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities to take part in triathlons. As a mother of three, including twins, Abby Weichman, Swim Bike Mom ambassador, testifies to this truth with her own sweat, blood and tears.

“I was looking for a blog to follow while training for a race a couple of years ago. I wanted to find one that was current, was similar to my life as a wife and mother and wasn’t intimidating to read,” says Weichman. “Meredith Atwood is the founder of Swim Bike Mom, and her blog is as real as it gets.”

Without a doubt, Abby loves everything about the sport of triathlon. She likes signing up for the races, scheduling the training, getting up early to swim, talking about nutrition with her friends and the energy of the crowd on race day. The sport can be intimidating, but it can also be empowering. The experiences are vibrant, and the camaraderie during the race is mind-boggling. “I was once beat out of the water by a woman who had one arm! When I saw the picture, all I thought was, ‘She is freaking awesome!’”

Weichman admits she was an average cross-country runner in high school and wasn’t a college athlete like a lot of triathletes. She balances training with her husband, an equally accomplished triathlete, and she works to surround herself with supportive people. Through the process of becoming an ambassador, she has reached out to other mentors in the Spokane community.

“I really like Robin DeRuwe, the owner of Fitness Fanatics. She is so patient and knows all kinds of things related to triathlon. Jessi Thompson, co-founder of Tri-Fusion, is an amazing person that is full of life and so kind and has an optimistic energy that just surrounds her. She makes me want to try harder in everything. My husband could be a motivational speaker because every time I am having a difficult time he builds me back up, and encourages me when I need help.”

Swim Bike Mom begins with a simple message: “Begin to Tri!” The genesis for the organization lives inside swimbikemom.com. The blog has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and they’re constantly seeing new developments and new transformations from contributors. Even if someone is just thinking about a triathlon, this site is a good place to start.

The blog features advice, race reports, encouragement, as well as all the tips necessary to avoid a lot of the common rookie mistakes. Quite frankly, nearly every triathlete could benefit from swimbikemom.com. “It’s taken a long time as a mom to admit that my talent isn’t being creative, as in being able to decorate my house artistically, or bake a cake for a party,” Weichman says. “My talent is encouraging others to do the best they can and helping them believe in themselves. I can do this for other people because I do the best I can, and I surround myself with other positive people.”

Weichman plans to run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon with family in May. Her primary race is Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June. She also hopes to sign up for Valley Girl or WunderWoman this year.

Local Triathlons & Why You Should “Tri” Them

Troika Triathlon – May 30, 2015

2015 marks the 35th anniversary for this classic Northwest triathlon. Based in Medical Lake, this is a race that is, coincidentally, half the distance of an Ironman race, but not a sanctioned Ironman event. Recently, they added a sprint distance to attract more participants. Altogether, the course is fantastic, and this is a great primer for the rest of the triathlon season. Troikatriathlon.com.

Hayden Triathlon – July 11, 2015

This is a Sprint triathlon: 0.5 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run. The Hayden community is very proud of this race, and it’s gaining a reputation for offering the best food, best prizes and the coolest swag. As expected, this reputation generally draws a competitive crowd. The course is challenging, but there are no hills on the bike portion. This triathlon is arguably the best spectator triathlon in the area. Haydentri.com.

Valley Girl Triathlon – July 12, 2015

As a women-only sprint distance triathlon, this is a super popular race for any female first-timers. While there are some competitive athletes, the overall vibe is very encouraging and empowering. The race begins at the Liberty Lake Village Beachfront and finishes at the Liberty Lake Pavilion Park. Be advised, this race sells out every year. Valleygirltri.com/home.html.

West Plains WunderWoman Triathlon – August 16, 2015

WunderWoman is also a women-only event at Medical Lake with sprint and Olympic distances. The spectators and the participants are known for their encouragement. Many female triathletes prefer WunderWoman because the transitions are easier, the bike course is safer and due to the August date, women can train longer in the summer. Best of all, you can practice on the course (Liberty Lake Village doesn’t allow triathletes to use its private beach for training). Signmeup.com/site/online-event-registration/105679.

Priest Lake Olympic Triathlon – August 29, 2015

Everyone raves about the crystal-clear lake and the excellent scenery, especially during the run portion. The Priest Lake Tri features a self-seeded swim start to give athletes of all abilities a better swim experience with faster swim times and a safer race experience. The race begins and finishes on the beach at Hills Resort, so everyone has an easy start, and everyone can unwind in the sand by the shore at the end. Priestlakerace.com/events/triathlon. //