Athlete-Mom Interview: Jamie Whitmore

Jamie “J-Dawg” Whitmore was the female Pro to beat when I started racing Xterra, and I would say she is still one of the biggest triple threat’s Xterra racing has ever seen with a fast swim, mad bike handling skills, and super fast feet on the run. Jamie started racing Xterra’s in 2002 and over the next six years she won 37 championships in a dozen  different countries, including the XTERRA World Championship in 2004 (pictured below).  She is still today the most successful female  pro the sport has ever known and was recently inducted into the Xterra Hall of Fame at the 2012 World Championships. MXT2004_winner
Jamie was diagnosed with cancer in 2008 and began the fight of her life. She fought hard through unrelenting pain, several setbacks and rehab and is now cancer free. And due to her radiation therapy, Jamie was told she’d never have children. But she proved that prognosis wrong too and gave birth to twins boys – Christian and Ryder, in January, 2010!

She was told she would never ride or run again either – let  alone compete in triathlon. With the same determination, Jamie proved that wrong.  Swimming  was part of her rehab.  And, with the aid  of a brace she is biking and adds crutches for running.  She returned to XTERRA racing last year at  the Pacific Championship in Santa Cruz and Nationals in Utah (pictured below on the run).  In 2012 she also competed at the XTERRA Guam  Championship, the legendary Leadville 100 MTB race, and reignited her Olympic  dream by winning the National Championship Time Trial for C-3 category  Paracyclists. Read below to learn more about how Jamie has continued her athletic and return to competition as a mom!

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1. Can you describe your athletic/competitive life has evolved before and since becoming a mom? And any special challenges/benefits with twins?

I used to think it would be no big deal to pop out a kid and then return to racing! Oh how naive I was! Being a Mom is hard when you work and want to train! You are on call 24hrs a day. If they are sick, they want you not daddy or papa . . . always Mom!! I used to train when I felt like it. Raced whenever. I could just hop on a plane and go to Maui or whatever I wanted. Now it requires planning all the time. Just to go ride I have to make sure the boys have lunch made so my dad doesn’t have to do it. If I go on a trip I have to plan meals and pack all clothes for them even if I am just leaving them with my dad! And if I take them with me . . . now that is even more work because now I have to figure things out on the road! Twins make it even more difficult because there are two that go in different directions. No older sibling to help corral them! Then throw in my disability . . . . both boys know they can outrun me so I constantly have to think ahead.

Everything used to be about my racing and what I wanted to do . . . as much as I drag them everywhere and have taught them to be flexible I often put them first before making decisions! They even dictate when I train. Always when they nap or before they wake up! On easy days I spin on the trainer while we all watch a movie like Cars or Toy Story!! I try to get quality time in with them as much as possible!

Jamie pictured with her father, sons Ryder and Christiand and husband Courtney in Maui where she was recently inducted in the Xterra Hall of Fame

Jamie pictured with her father, sons Ryder and Christian and husband Courtney in Maui where she was recently inducted in the Xterra Hall of Fame

 2. What is your biggest motivation to stay active/competitive at this stage of your life?

This has a lot to do with my cancer and disability! I stay competitive because I want to show my boys that they can do anything they put their minds to. It might not be how they pictured it or achieved in a different way but they can still do it! On paper I should not be able to bend my knee which means I shouldn’t be able to ride a bike but I am . . . that alone pushes me to keep pushing the limits! You don’t know unless you try! And when you have been unable to do something for 3 years it is all the motivation to not take it for granted when you can do it again!

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3. How do you balance your family, work, and training/racing?

Extended family is a huge blessing! My dad is amazing. He watches the kids all the time for us so that I can train and work. If it weren’t for him I would be riding the trainer all the time or getting up at 5am just to get a ride in! And who wants to do that??? I try to train when the kids are napping so that I don’t miss out on spending time with them. When I am coaching (work) I sometimes take them with me so they can hang out and run around!

4. What do your boys think of their athletic mom?

I hope they think I am pretty cool! Not sure yet since they just turned 3 years old. But every time they see a race picture of me they get pretty excited and say “That’s mommy!”

5. What are your 2013 training/competition goals?

This year I hope to scope out my competition. I am new to the para cycling world (cyclists with physical disabilities) I would love to make the National A Team and travel to World Cup races and the World Championships. My long term goal is The Paralympics in Rio in 2016!!

 6. Any advice you have for other mom’s trying to balance it all, while following a consistent training program every week?

Don’t let training become more important than family! It is easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing . . . but you can’t get time back. Kids will only stay young for a little while! When you do train keep it quality and not quantity. It is better to be 15% under trained than 1% over trained. I went into The Leadville 100 race only having done a 55-60 mile ride as my longest ride! I made sure they were quality miles!

In order to get all that I get in I do rely a lot on family but if you don’t have family find a friend that also has kids (if you have little ones) and trade off on watching each others kids. I have several friends with no extended family that do this so that they can run errands or clean the house! I would use it for training! As they get older you can use training time to spend with them. Take the kids out when you have an easy spin . . .they can ride their bikes too! Or let them hop in the pool with you.

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I love your advice Jamie and good luck as you shoot for the Paralympics in 2016!!

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