Wendy Thomas is a mother first and a runner second. This 33-year old native of Colorado Springs has only been in the competitive racing scene for 3 years, but already she has racked up some amazing running credentials.
Before qualifying and taking part in this year’s Olympic Trials in Houston, Thomas placed seventh at the USA 10K Championships in Boston and is a key component to the American Distance Project out of Colorado Springs.
While Thomas’ love for running doesn’t surpass her love for her family and two sons, Chase and Tripp, she has successfully found a way to juggle the crazy life as a stay at home mom and professional athlete. Read on to find out how Thomas does it all, and check out her personal blog at http://wendythomasrunning.blogspot.com/.
Name: Wendy Thomas
Hometown & Current: Colorado Springs/Windsor
Professional & Educational background: played volleyball at Lamar Community College and have been a stay at home mom for 7 ½ years
Sports participated in: volleyball
Years in current sport: 3 years competitively
Racing Team: BRC/Adidas
Sponsors/Affiliations: BRC, Adidas, PowerBar
Additional personal information you’d like to share: I have been married for 10 years and have 2 amazing boys. Chase 7 and Tripp 5.
The Long Run
What are some of the biggest highlights in your racing career?
Placing in the top ten at the USA 10k Champs which qualified me to race for USA in Japan as the alternate at the Chiba Ekiden. Qualifying for the trials at Philly half with a 1:13:46 which surpassed what I thought I could do! Then of course the trials I was so well prepared through training that I had the race of my life (so far).
What are your long-term goals? What do you want to achieve as an athlete?
I want to focus the next four years on really improving my time and intelligence in the marathon. I feel like the marathon may be my race so I will focus on getting my 5k, 10k, and half times down which will help with the marathon. I have only had one marathon build up so we will learn from what we did and build for the next marathon. I will be 36 for the 2016 trials but I feel like if I can stay healthy I will go into that race a lot more prepared.
Why Colorado? What makes Colorado so special for endurance athletes? What makes Colorado special to YOU?
I was born and raised in Colorado Springs only leaving the state for a year to live in Louisiana. My family, friends and life are here! Training at altitude is amazing not to mention who doesn’t want to get out the door for a run when you get to see this beautiful state! Colorado to me is a great place to raise my family!
Take us through a “day in the life,” what type of training regimen do you follow?
My day differs all the time, I am a mom first so I work my schedule around what works for my kids and their schedule. Lately a typical day goes as follows:
7 am wake up get kids ready for school and dropped off at 8
9 am hit the gym for lifting and a short easy run on the treadmill. I have to take advantage of the day care as I still have one kid at home until after lunch
10:30-11 run errands
12:30 take youngest to school
12:35 do longer run of the day, hills, drills and stretching
3 get kids from school (except on Thursdays because I volunteer at school so I’ll be there in the afternoon)
10:30 bed time
7 am wake up get kids off to school
12:30 drop youngest off at school
12:35 hit the track for a workout, long run or Predator run
3 rush to finish workout to get kids from school
3:30 massage while the munchkins play a video game
4:30 water run
5:30 second run
10:30 bed time
What are one or two things you currently do in your training that are keys to your success?
Changing coaches was a huge deal for me. It seems to have really been key. I have upped my mileage; harder workouts, blood testing, hills drills and plyos all seem to have helped me. I also think a weekly massage has kept me healthy enough to be able to train consistently.
Do you follow any specific nutrition plans? What are you favorite recovery meals, drinks, etc.?
I am a horrible eater! I love pizza and caroli’s. For recovery I love to eat PowerBar recovery bars cookies and cream flavor. They taste like a candy bar! I also drink PowerBar recovery drink in Lemon lime.
Do you have any recommended resources to share (books, seminars, websites, coaches)?
Really I just use my coach Scott Simmons for all my information. I have no idea what I am doing in this world of running and he has been doing it for so long he has so much knowledge.
What is your biggest challenge, and what do you do to manage this challenge?
Mental, mental, mental! I can beat myself up in workouts, races just about any time. I try to focus on the positive but it is a work in progress! I think every runner has to deal with it to some extreme as running is really a mental game. I just always tell my body you can do it for x amount of time that’s nothing!
What are your favorite races in Colorado?
Park to Park 10 mile is the best race in the state for sure! I love the atmosphere! I also really enjoy Sierra’s race in Loveland. For a small race they do such an amazing job! The last one I am scared to say! I don’t want word to get out J. I love the local 5k we have in Greeley on the 4th of July! It is so much fun, a good course and just the small town excitement before the parade.
Where do you like to train in Colorado?
I do most of my training in Greeley and Windsor, but I love running in Colorado Springs! They have so many trails that are crushed rock which is a nice change from concrete and asphalt.
Favorite running shoe: Adidas Adizero Boston
Favorite post-run/race beverage: PowerBar recovery drink lemon lime
Favorite post-run/race meal: PowerBar cookies and cream recovery bar first than a nice big Hawaiian Caroli
Role models: Magdalena Lewy Boulet and Colleen DeReuck would be my top two. They both show that no matter age you can keep getting faster and be competitive. Also they are both moms like me and make it all work! I started late in life and am not exactly young so it’s nice to see I can still get better.
Solo runner, running partner or team/group? A little of all of the above. I do a lot of easy days alone since my schedule doesn’t work with a lot of people. I do most of my hard workouts with Tyler Sewald and Corey Ewing. They have been an amazing help!!! I also am part of the American Distance Project out of Colorado Springs. When I have the time I try to get down there to train. Being able to work with the other girls Alisha Williams and Adrian Chounard has been amazing!
Have you experienced a breakthrough, and if so, what led to it?
Philly was for sure my break through. I don’t know that it was any one thing that led to it. Just consistent training with Scott slowly improving times and mileage.
What was the best advice you were ever given?
Consistent training will pay off. In running you don’t tend to make huge leaps in times it is usually a gradual improvement. Sometimes it can get you down that you are working so hard for such a small increase so it’s good to know that every hard workout, easy runs, gym sessions, hills everything will all make you just a little closer to your goal.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by? That you train by?
“The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in a person’s determination” and “When the world says “Give up” Hope whispers “Try it one more time, never give up”
Life and running are not easy but if you put your mind to it and give it all you have it will pay off.
What keeps you motivated? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I am a very competitive person so I stay motivated by always wanting to better my times! Also as a mom I want to teach my children that hard work pays off. Sure I could stop running now and give up having run pretty good times, but I want to give it all I have and see if I can run great times. Maybe I will and maybe I won’t but I want to know at the end of the day I tried. I want my kids to have that! I feel like too many young kids these days just tend to give in. I want my kids to learn to be fighters and know nothing comes easily!