Athlete-Mom Interview: Sari Anderson

One of my goals in writing this blog is to share some inspiration from other active moms. This is my first interview with Sari Anderson. Sari and I met while racing Xterra. Now a mom of two, 4 year old Juniper and 1 year old Axel, Sari hasn’t slowed down much and has inspired me to keep making training and racing goals. You can learn more about Sari and follow her adventures on her blog. Sari lives with her husband Ian and two children in Colorado and is currently preparing for the Leadville 100 mountain bike race!

Here is what she had to share….

1. Can you tell me a little about your athletic/competitive background before becoming a mom?

Before becoming a mother, I raced as an adventure racer with Team Nike winning a world championship title as well as many other elite events. I also raced mountain bikes as a pro as well as ran trail races and kayaked. There was no training schedule or coaches or structure. I worked full time as a business manager for a plumbing contractor so I trained in the evening and pretty much all weekend.

2. What motivates you to keep setting athletic and/or competitive goals since becoming a mother? Is it different than pre-kids?

Since becoming a mother I have become more motivated and goal oriented as far as my athletic career goes. Before kids, I could race and train when I wanted to. I could travel for long periods of time with only a lot of work to come back to. With kids, I now have to choose my races based on our family schedule and what makes the most sense for my career. This means less worldwide travel and shorter races that the family can usually attend. However, the big difference is that if I am going to take the time away from my family and my work in order to train and compete, then I had better make it worthwhile. I’m usually there to win or prove something to myself. There is no longer racing just to race.

3. How do you balance training and/or racing with your family?

From the first week we arrived home from the hospital with our first child, my husband Ian and I figured out balance and ‘the handoff’. This means that on the weekends we usually either split days or the weekend in order for both of us to get good training sessions in as well as quality time with the kids. Now with two kids and still working part-time, I often train early in the morning while everyone else is asleep. The remainder of my training is done with the kids in the Chariot while running, cycling and skiing. Training with the kids is one of my favorite things as the kids love to be outside and it makes me much stronger. I also added a coach after having our second child in order to maximize my training time giving me quality over quantity. Despite getting in only about 10 hours per week of training, which is significantly less than my competitors, I feel that I am much stronger now than before having children. Without the amazing support of my husband, I would have a difficult time fitting it all in.

4. Did you train during pregnancy? What was your approach?

Although I ‘trained’ throughout both pregnancies, it was solely for my mental stability and to keep some endurance. I know myself well enough to know that I never could race while pregnant. I am not capable of holding myself back. I had a wonderful doctor that understood what my fitness level was coming into the pregnancies and gave me cart blanche to do what I felt comfortable with. My big guideline was to make sure I could talk somewhat comfortably while exercising. Everyone’s heart rate is different so I never wore a heart rate monitor. Some days I could run sub-8 minute miles for 8 miles while pushing the first kid and the next I may only be able to run a 10 minute mile alone. Although it was hard at times, I listened to my body and only did what felt good and comfortable which allowed me to run and cycle until the day I had both kids.

5. Any advice you would give to other moms trying to stay active (or even competitive) while balancing kids?

My advice to moms trying to stay active and/or competitive is to do what you can and not to worry if you miss a training session. A few missed sessions are not going to make or break your overall fitness and readiness for a competition. Also, learning to get out with the kids is so great for everyone involved. You are teaching your kids that exercise and well-being are important as well as giving them a chance to relax and recuperate. When arriving home from a training session with the kids, mom and kids are rejuvenated and everyone feels better ready to face the rest of the day.

1 thought on “Athlete-Mom Interview: Sari Anderson

  1. Oh I love the ‘handoff’ I don’t understand why more families don’t do this. Often one parent(usually Mom) seems to stop their passion when they have kids. Good to see more women getting our there with little ones!

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