This year here at GU we were fortunate enough to add Angela Naeth to our roster of athletes. At the time Naeth’s personal hopes to reach the top had us all excited for the future. Now, with the season underway, our hopes are a reality.
Naeth, who got her start early on in track and field, has now made a name for herself in the world of triathlon. Since her professional debut in 2008 she’s been a force to reckon with. In her first year she made the podium six times, including three first place finishes. Since that time she’s continued to collect medals, dominating the 70.3 Ironman’s. Her strength by far is the bike, consistently taking the title for fastest bike split including a bike course record at 70.3 Ironman St. Croix in May.
So far this year Naeth has taken home 2nd place at both St. Croix and Texas Ironman 70.3. Some have compared Naeth to Susan Lucci, who was nominated for an Emmy 18 times prior to winning in 1999 for her role as Erica Kane on All My Children. Others have used the infamous quote, “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” to describe her season thus far. We beg to differ.
Naeth is an incredible athlete rising to the top. She is both physically and mentally strong. There is no doubt in our minds and in hers that a 1st place victory is in the near future. As evident in her personal motto, “I do today what you won’t, so tomorrow I can do what you can’t” she’s beyond motivated to reach the very top.
We recently sat down with Naeth and got an inside look at her life, the world of triathlons and most importantly what keeps her so mentally strong.
How did you get started in the world of triathlon?
When I was 10 years old I saw Ironman Hawaii on TV. I was enthralled and knew one day I’d have to do one. I grew up running track and cross-country, riding my mountain bike to and from practice. I received a track scholarship so my triathlon goal was put on hold for a few years to go to University (five long years!). After graduating and working for a year as a Physical Therapist, I entered my first Olympic-distance event. It was a pool swim and my mom drove the 4+ hours to the race venue with me. We watched everyone setup their transition in awe. She’d scope it out and tell me what to do. I ended up winning that race and became addicted. I didn’t turn pro until after I met my current coach, Chuckie V., who encouraged me to try for my pro card in 2008.
Where did your nicknames Mighty Mouse and Butterfly Bullet come from?
My friend Chris Velez told me I was a bullet on the bike and it stuck, though I’m not sure about the butterfly part. If you’ve ever seen me swim butterfly, you’d know it wasn’t from that! A training partner of mine calls me Mighty Mouse because she thinks I’m mighty on the bike, and small like a mouse.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
I have four kids and two ex-husbands. No, I kid! I have no kids (whom I know of!). I love watching surgeries on television, actually enjoy eating spinach, and absolutely adore Hugh Grant and Adam Sandler. Oops, that’s more than one thing!
If you weren’t a triathlete right now what would you be doing?
Most likely working as a physical therapist, overseas. I’d still like to do this one day, maybe work in Africa in pediatric physical therapy. A co-worker of mine did this every summer and it’s been on the back of my mind ever since she and I spoke at length. A lot of countries don’t have the funds needed to help kids with disabilities. She’d bring to Africa all of our old walkers, splints and casts. She said it was the best experience she’s had in life, helping seemingly helpless children.
Explain how you live by your motto, “win by choice, not by circumstance”.
Ultimately, I’d like to win when my competitors are at their strongest. I don’t want to win because of someone else’s misfortunes or because the depth of the field was lacking. So every day I try to come face to face with my own inner demons so I can face those fast girls I compete against with a little less apprehension!
What keeps you eager and determined to win?
I’m a competitive person by nature. But more than winning I just love the satisfaction of working hard and striving toward my best. If that ends up having me place well down the list of top finishers at the races, then so be it. For now, anyway!
You are on the cover of Tri Magazine for August, what was that like?
It’s exciting. I’ve always wanted to say I’ve been on a cover of a magazine, maybe Glamour or Cosmo! I hope it’s only the beginning of something great!
What are your goals for this year?
Hopefully to improve on my finish from last year at the 70.3 World’s and to race my first ITU Long-distance World’s, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll jump into my first Ironman at the end of the season.
What is your biggest lesson learned in terms of being a professional triathlete?
That good is not good enough. If you want to be your best, you have to strive for it every day, in everything you do, not just while swimming, cycling or running. Needless to say, I’m a work in progress!
One piece of advice you’d give to someone new to triathlon?
Don’t be afraid to try something new. Look at the day of the race as a new, fun experience with no expectations. The feeling of crossing the finish line of your first triathlon is something you’ll never regret or forget.
To keep tabs on Angela Naeth and all that’s to come for her you can check out her blog at: http://www.angelanaeth.com/index.html.