Athlete Spotlight - Stephanie Marcy

This month we learn a bit more about Stephanie Marcy. Stephanie was brand new when she joined the team , and had made some very large gains in a short period of time.  She has proven time and time again that  consistency and hard work are how improvements are made. She is a patient athlete who tackles all of the challenges that we throw her way with a smile. 

I never imagined I’d be in the endurance sports category or even consider myself an athlete/triathlete! It’s still surreal to say or call myself that! Growing up I was always very active. I thank my parents for getting me involved in trying almost everything (dance, piano, girl scouts, art classes, horseback riding, lacrosse, and probably more that I’ve now forgotten). As I grew older I channeled my focus on horseback riding. When I first started college I went for Equestrian Studies! I lived at the barn and loved it. In the process, I discovered it was a hobby and I needed something else. After graduating, I continued to ride, teach lessons, train other people’s horses, and compete on the side. I always loved the competition! Once I started graduate school in 2010, I didn’t have the time or the connections in a new state to continue riding. I was very busy and focused on school, but knew I needed to try and stay active. I still craved the competition that was cultivated during my equestrian career.  I tried to swim at my apartment pool a few times but had no clue what I was doing. I rode my old hybrid bike to class a few times, but I got tired of being super sweaty and out of breath in class! I even ran/walked my first 5k! I never thought someday I’d put all of those together.

On December 2012 my cousin Jenny O’Reilly lost her battle to Leukemia just before her 33rd birthday. She fought very hard and was always so positive. During remission she started to run and train for her first half marathon. She never got the opportunity to run her half marathon. Dealing with her loss was tough, but I thought if she could fight everything she fought through and just decide to run 13.1 miles without the background, maybe I could too. I really hated running, but others convinced that biking might be something that I could love. It was then that I got involved with Team in Training and decided to take on the MS150. The hybrid wouldn’t cut it so I found a decent road bike on Craigslist. I road with Team in Training, completed MS150, and my first century ride in 2014! I started to get the bug, but I wanted more than just bike riding. 

In 2015, I decided more would mean I needed more guidance. I feel so lucky I met Kim and Meredith (two of my Evolve teammates) at MS150 who suggested Evolve, trying triathlon and Evolve Coaching! I signed up for my first half marathon, but had no motivation to do the workouts I was supposed to be doing on my own. Having someone there to craft workouts that were tailored to me and my needs, give me feedback, and hold me accountable was exactly what I needed. I also decided why not give triathlon a shot even though I could barely make it 25 yards down the pool. Sam came to my rescue and helped me gain confidence and skills in the pool so I could actually complete the workouts she was giving me. There were so many things I didn’t know yet about training schedules, nutrition, injury prevention, mental toughness, and so on -  Evolve has  helped me to gain a better understanding of all of these aspects of endurance sports.  In 2015, Evolve not only helped me complete my first triathlon, but complete SEVEN triathlons and be the top of my age group in over half of them! I even qualified for age group nationals! I had no idea my potential and always thought I was average/below average athlete. Now I have so much more confidence and I love discovering more about myself with the help of Evolve pushing me to my best!

Not only are the coaches amazing, but so is the team. There are so many supportive and caring people on this team that also give me the drive and the push. I’ve met some amazing people through Evolve that continue to inspire me on days where I just wish I could sleep a few more hours. It’s so helpful to have the team to keep pushing me through. I am always grateful for my team mates who come out to races to cheer, send encouraging messages, and just check on you when you need it!

For me the most memorable workouts have been those with the team. In January 2015 I started going to trainer classes with Evolve and got hooked. Just watching how much others could push during those workouts was very motivating, and a great model towards how I should also learn to push myself. Those trainer classes were tough, but they got me on the path to becoming the best possible athlete I could be. That’s where I learned to push through the pain and tell the brain to shut up with those negative thoughts of stopping or giving in! There was also a nice balance of jokes and laughter which really helped also!

The lessons I learned in trainer classes were so valuable on race days. The most memorable race last year had to be Innsbrook in June. It was my 3rd triathlon and I felt like my first race where I could put together all my hard work into one race. I was finally becoming more comfortable and confident in open water and I worked hard on becoming stronger biking and running hills to prepare for what Innsbrook had in store! Everything seemed to click at Innsbrook. Every hill gave me more confidence to say “I got this.” My mental game was there and my body was prepared. It really helped that Evolve had training opportunities out there, and Sam suggested a park to practice running at before race day. I also feel like I couldn’t have gotten as far as I did that day without Sam and teammates that were there to cheer me on! I was so shocked I was 2nd in my age group and earned a spot to go to age group nationals in Milwaukee from that race! I didn’t think all of that was possible given being so new to the sport!