“In April of 2007, was when I did my first triathlon,” Thompson said. “Since 2006, I have done 66 triathlons. That doesn’t include the duathons, marathons, half marathons, 5K’s and charity bike rides, which probably is about 150 in total. My goal is to have done 75 triathlons by the end of this year.”
Thompson said she trains at least twice a day to stay in shape for all of her events.
“When I teach cycling, I use that as part of my training,” Thompson said. “I swim on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I am teaching six cycling classes a week so I am on the stationary bike at least six times a week. Weekends, I am riding my bike again. Then I run at least two to three times per week. Sundays are complete rest days for me.”
Monday thru Friday, Thompson works at Illuminate Gym where she teaches indoor cycling and Tabata, plus she is a personal trainer. Monday and Wednesday she is a college professor at Central Texas College during the evening hours, teaching three classes, back-to-back and Tuesday and Thursday evening, she teaches cycling classes at Lion’s Park.
“Whenever I have free time, my fourth job is Sassafras Bowtique hair bows and scarves,” Thompson said. “Sundays are filled with making hair bows. I can relax when I am making them and it helps to fund my training.”
Thompson left for college at Winthrop University as a size 16.
“I remember back in high school, crying because of the size of my prom dress,” Thompson said. “We had a gym in our dorm at college. I would go down and ride the bike and I started to enjoy it. So instead of gaining the freshman 15, I lost 30 pounds my freshman year.
“About the time that I was working on my thesis was when I started running. I was at the point where I could spend hours in front of my computer and not be able to come up with anything but taking a break and going on a bike ride or swim really helped me to be able to focus. It was real stress reliever.”
Moving to Central Texas from South Carolina as a military wife, she continued with her first triathlon season and worked as a coach at Texas Tumblers in Harker Heights.
“Then I took a position at Morale Welfare and Recreation, where I was one of the fitness directors,” Thompson said. “I got to help create some of the races that they had on post.”
Four years ago, 2010 was a year of challenges for Thompson. She used the training and triathlons to help cope with her life situations.
“Out of the blue, my husband said, ‘I’ve had enough. I have found a place to live and I have filed for divorce and there is nothing that you can do to change it,’” Thompson said. “We were married for four years. I had no idea that it was coming. I just kept wondering what did I do? What happened? What went wrong?”
Later that same year Thompson’s grandmother passed away. Life was spiraling for Thompson, everything was changing. Training for the races helped her to cope and focus.
“Feeling sad, frustrated and stressed, the running, cycling and the swimming helped when I felt like I did not have any control over anything. I had to change bank accounts, get new health insurance, and find a place to live,” Thompson said. “The one thing that I could control was my training. I could just go out on the road and start running and reduce the stress. I knew that at the end of the day, even after everything that I was going thru, that was pushing me down, and I knew that I had accomplished something”
A lot of the training and actually participating in an event requires controlling your body and mind.
“During an event, you get to a point where you want to quit and you have to say to yourself, no, I am in control and you just have to keep moving forward.” Thompson said. “I think to myself during some of the races, ‘Why am I doing this? It’s crazy. It is 98 degrees in July. Why are you here?’ But then I cross the finish line and realize what I have accomplished.”
Training for the half Ironman includes having to sacrifice certain aspects of normal life.
“There are things that I forfeit so that I can train and compete like time and social life,” Thompson said. “I get invited to go do things with my friends, especially on Friday and Saturday nights but I usually have to be up early to train or I did a 45 mile ride that day. I am just too tired”
Thompson hopes to be a professional triathelete one day.
“The Sun Rype Company has made me an ambassador but that does not mean that I am paid. They provide the apparel and fruit strips for me to pass out and use for my training,” Thompson said. “I would love to be a sponsored triathelete.”
She also strives to be a good role model for others.