Q & A with Montse Tamez
Montse Tamez is the epitome of a time starved athlete. At home, her family includes four children who are all involved in their school, athletics and their church. At work she is a bilingual teacher working at a Spanish immersion school. Her and her husband are both very active in their local church, and yet somehow she manages to squeeze in training for triathlons and marathons. When Montse first came to SBMS she had a singular focus; to finish an Ironman within 4 years time. This is the type of athletic pursuit we especially enjoy working with as we can safely guide an athlete from short course to long course racing. This is her story as she enters her second year of racing.
SBMS: Montse, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. We wanted to shift our attention to our female athletes in our Q & A sessions. So to get us started, tell us about your athletic background.
Montse: Hi Josh! I have always considered myself to be an active person. I grew up doing gymnastics and swimming. During my season of having kids and raising them, I was limited to working out from home, but always made it a point to stay active and fit. It wasn't until 2014, when I came across a running group at my church that was going to start training for a half marathon. I had always enjoyed running, but was never consistent with it. I knew that joining this group would force me to be disciplined, and would help me build my endurance.
SBMS: You first had a chance to work with me when you joined a group training at our church for the Eastlake Half Marathon. Share that experience with us.
Montse: Yes! Joining that group changed my life forever. It was the beginning of my passion for running. It was EXTREMELY hard at the beginning. The longest distance I had ever run was one mile! The group consisted of experienced runners that were fast, and had built their endurance over time. I remember getting up every morning, knowing that I was going to take a beating, and be super embarrassed by always being the last one and the slowest one, but that did not stop me. I am very stubborn and determined. There were key people in that group that kept me motivated and encouraged me to keep going, and to not give up. Completing that half marathon was one of the most rewarding accomplishments ever!
SBMS: After that half marathon you took to running. What is it about running that made you shift away from solo in-door workouts to running outdoors and conquering a marathon.
Montse: Running changed my life. I became addicted to the feeling of running. I literally met hundreds of people that shared this passion with me, and I became a part of this friendly and crazy community. After tasting what it was like to finish a race, I decided to continue training and completing more 'half marathons.' Until one day, you, Coach Josh, told me that I was ready to run a marathon, and that I should train for one. Hearing those words gave me the confidence that I could train and run a marathon, so I did.
SBMS: Tell us about your first full marathon. Where was it and how did it go for you?
Montse: My first full marathon was in June of 2016. I started training for it with the San Diego Track Club in January of that same year. Since that was my first marathon, my main focus was not to focus on time, but to finish it strong, and experience what it was like to run that distance. I really enjoyed the race. The course was not easy, and it included a two-mile uphill on mile 23. Although it was challenging, I was very proud of myself because I did not stop running, and I did not hit a wall. I kept waiting for that around mile 18, which is where most runners start to experience it, but I never experienced it, and I finished with a smile on my face. I had done it!! I had run a full marathon!! It took me 4 hrs and 52 minutes!
SBMS: You decided shortly after the marathon to try a new athletic pursuit, a triathlon. What made you want to join a triathlon?
Montse: Triathlon is a sport that I highly admire. One of my best friends is a triathlete, and I always admired the amount of training and discipline she would put into it. She was the one who introduced me to the sport. I always felt very comfortable swimming and riding a bike, and running was already a part of me. That is when I decided to take on the challenge and start training for triathlon. It was also very convenient for me, as Coach Josh had a triathlon company, and I already felt comfortable training with him.
SBMS: Tell us about your rookie year in triathlon. How did that go for you?
Montse: I started training for triathlon on January 2017. I was super excited to start this journey and to take on the challenge. I really enjoyed the training schedules Coach Josh gave me from the beginning, and the masters swim class. I also kept on with my running, training for the Triple Crown, and 2 back to back marathons: Mountains to Beach (breaking my personal record, by shaving 30 minutes off my previous marathon) and San Diego Rock and Roll. My first triathlon race was the Spring Sprint in Mission Bay. This race was challenging because it was my first one, it was pouring rain non stop, and I was very nervous. I freaked out on the swim. I felt as if my wetsuit was suffocating me. I did better on the bike, and the run was fine. Again, this was my first race, so I took it as a trial. I was not very happy with the results, but after completing it, I felt better at knowing the drill and the flow of these type of races.
SBMS: Your second race last year was a bit of a let down for you. You finished middle of the pack in what we both thought was a pretty shallow pool of talented athletes. We made changes to your approach and then you bounced back with a big performance, going Top 10 in a much deeper pool of athletes. Walk us thru that experience.
Montse: Toward the summer of 2017, I started experiencing some health problems. I was not sure what was wrong with my body, but it was really affecting my training and my performance. My body felt very weak and my heart rate was very high even when I was not training. In the middle of these health issues, I completed my second sprint triathlon race, which was a complete failure. I panicked again on the swim, as my heart was racing extremely high, the bike was okay, and the run was terrible. On top of everything else, the weather was extremely hot. I finished the race, but I was not happy with the results. I knew I needed to get checked by a physician, as I had trained really hard, and my body had not responded. I continued to train, and three months later completed my third sprint, which was the Xterra Wetsuits tri. For this one, my Coach and I decided to ditch the wetsuit for the swim. It ended up being a complete success! I did not freak out on the swim, I swam without stopping! The bike was perfect, and I honestly feel I could have done better on the run, but it was okay. It got to a point where I could not see anyone from my age group cycling along, so I thought I had missed a loop on the bike. I kept going forward thinking that it was already too late to amend the situation. I was still feeling like there was something wrong with my body, as my heart rate was still very high, and I had not been checked by a physician yet. Little did I know that I had finished 8th place in my age group! This was great news for me, and I knew there was hope!!
SBMS: So what are your big goals for triathlon, and what are your big goals in sport for 2018?
Montse: My main goal is to one day be able to complete a full Iron Man. In the mean time, I am training hard and meeting the small goals that will take me to achieve this goal. Triathlon has become a lifestyle. I strive to compete against myself and to improve every day. It is a very personal journey, that keeps me focused and disciplined. Some of my goals for this year include completing an Olympic distance triathlon, a Sprint, a full marathon, and several half marathons. I have also incorporated weights to my strength training routine, and I have fallen madly in love with them!
SBMS: Talk to us about Coaching with SBMS and how that has impacted your athletic pursuits.
Montse: Coaching with SBMS has been a great positive experience. It has given me a base to start off my triathlon training, as I had no clue of where or how to begin. Coach Josh works around my busy schedule, and comes up with great weekly plans that can be executed. Coach Josh has also helped me improve my form in swimming and running, as well as provided me with extra exercises for recovery and injury prevention. Working with SBMS has given me confidence and a structured plan to continue meeting my personal goals. I plan to continue training with them to keep being guided in this journey and to get the support I need to meet my goals.
SBMS: Before we sign off, is there anything else that you want to say to our readers?
Montse: Triathlon is a very complex sport that requires structured and systematic training. Training with a company such as SBMS is the best decision you can make. You will be guided and supported in order to meet your goals. Your confidence level will rise up, knowing that you are in the hands of knowledgeable Coaches that are also triathletes, and know what they are doing. I highly recommend training with SBMS, and making them a part of your journey!