Joanna Zeiger On Life After Tri

From Slowtwitch

I admit it. I lurk on the Slowtwitch forum. Phew. I am glad I got that off my chest. Of course, there are threads on training, race predictions, crashes, doping, and my favorite is anything dealing with who’s hot. Ok, maybe not so much the last one.

A common theme I’ve seen over the years is about athletes struggling with injuries and how these injuries affect their ability to keep training and racing in the sport of triathlon. Most often running is the sport that suffers, but there are people like me who have left the sport due to an inability to bike and swim (more on that later). Universally, athletes who cannot race triathlons any longer are naturally despondent and look for any way possible to make their return, even if it means engaging in strange voodoo or tribal rituals.

I suppose the reason these threads capture my attention is because I left the sport of triathlon due to injuries that render me unable to bike or swim; somehow, I can still run. I won’t bore you with all of the details of the bike accident that caused my retirement from triathlon, but the short version is that I severely battered my right rib cage with injuries ranging from broken ribs that never healed, a fractured and displaced xiphoid process (the bone at the tip of the sternum), torn intercostal muscles, and intercostal nerves that were stretched beyond their limits and are therefore permanently damaged. It has been 7 years since my last triathlon. I still miss it sometimes, the yearning to compete manifested in Ironman dreams….


Mike Sandrock: Zeiger, Lindley, Wellington. 3 women, 3 champions, 3 books

From the Daily Camera

Joanna Zeiger, seen here racing in the 2010 Boulder Peak Triathlon, will speak about her just-published “The Champion Mindset” March 10 at Flatirons Running. “Surfacing,” by Siri Lindley, also a former world champion triathlete, also has just been published. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Just about a year ago this time, I was standing near the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles with a large crowd of running fans watching the exciting finish of the women’s U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

Early leader Shalane Flanagan was faltering in the heat, and Boulder’s Kara Goucher looked to have chance at a top-three finish. (She ended up an oh-so-close fourth).

We were not the only ones watching.

Joanna Zeiger, Boulder’s seven-time Olympic trials participant over three sports, was just about to begin her final six-mile lap when she heard the loud cheers for the fast-approaching leaders.

“I decided to wait and cheer on (winner) Amy Cragg ,” Zeiger, 46, said in a recent phone interview. “I hung out to see who was in the lead. Amy was amazing and seeing her gave just such a chill up my spine and motivation to get through the last lap.”

There was really no need for Zeiger to finish. She could have easily joined the roughly 50 women who pulled out of the marathon that day, done in by the near-90 degree heat. Zeiger’s spot in triathloning history is secure. There was, however, no way she was not going to finish the marathon.

“I knew it was going to be a major struggle,” said Zeiger, who has suffered daily debilitating rib and nerve pain ever since a bike crash in the 2009 70.3 World Triathlon Championships. “I was prepared for a long, tough day; every time I saw a runner walking back to the finish after dropping out, it strengthened my resolve, and I thought, ‘I am going to get through this.'”

Get through it Zeiger did, fueled by her “champion mindset,” which, appropriately, is the name of her new book.

On March 10, Zeiger will talk about “The Champion Mindset: An Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness” at Flatirons Running in south Boulder. She will also show footage of her Ironman World Championship win.

In a nice coincidence, “The Champion Mindset” is one of three new books by world champion female triathletes with local ties.

Long-time resident and former world-ranked No. 1 and 2001 world champion Siri Lindley, now a coach of elites based out of RallySport, tells her riveting story in “Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-Doubt to Winning Big & Living Fearlessly,” while four-time Hawaii Ironman world champ Chrissie Wellington, a native of England who lived in Boulder during her top competitive years, is out with “To the Finish Line: A World Champion Triathlete’s Guide to Your Perfect Race.”

Read the full article