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Sandy Coomer

Sandy Coomer
2014 BEAT Secretary

IMG_7883  1)     Give us some background information.  Where are you from?  Tell us about your family.  Tell us about your profession/work.  Share your hobbies/passions/interests.
I was born and raised in Nashville – Melrose and Oak Hill areas.  I married my high school sweetheart, Tim, and we’ve been married for almost 29 years.  (That doesn’t seem possible, but I checked the math and it’s true!)  We have 4 children: Shawn – 25, Ryan – 23, Seth – 19, and Nicholas – 16.  My education is in the life sciences, graduating from UTK with a major in Microbiology.  I worked in clinical and hospital labs in Immunology, Toxicology, and Microbiology until my third child (Seth) was born premature and I quit to be a stay-at-home mom.  I love to travel and make digital scrapbooks of our trips. Our most recent trip was to Israel and Jordan.  I’m a published poet and I write articles for newspapers and community magazines, and I’m working on a full length poetry manuscript.  I wrote two articles about BEAT.  Most recently, I wrote an article on National Poetry Month (April) for Inside Brentwood magazine.


2)     What is one fun fact about you?
I am a mixed media artist, and I have an Etsy store called Sparrow House Art where I sell my work.  (Etsy is an e-commerce website focusing on handmade and vintage items.)  I’m also partnering with a west TN crafts store called T.F. Rice and Co. to begin selling through them.

3)     How did you get interested in triathlons or endurance events?  When did you start training for triathlons? Which race was your first triathlon and where was it?
I blame it all on Janet Byers!  I had lunch with Janet after a Brentwood Academy Mom’s bible study (our kids go to the same school and 2 are in the same grade) and we talked about running.  I was a marathon and half-marathon runner.  She casually said I should think about doing triathlons.  I thought she was totally crazy.  I didn’t have a bike and I couldn’t swim worth a darn.  Then, I started thinking more about it.  And then, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I started taking swim classes in October 2010 and got a bike in December 2010.  I started training for a tri in January 2011 and did my first triathlon in May of that year.  It was the Ramblin’ Rose Women’s Beginner Triathlon in Nashville – 250 yd pool swim, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run.  It was absolutely terrifying, but I did it.

4)     Which of the following is your strongest and weakest discipline and why: swimming, biking or running?
Swimming is and will always be my weakest.  I am a land-based creature and will never feel totally comfortable in the water.  That said, I love running. I’m not terribly fast, but can just keep going.   I really like biking too, but running captures my spirit in a way biking and swimming never will.

5)     What obstacles, if any, have you overcome in order to train for and race in triathlons or endurance races?
I’ve been pretty lucky with injuries, only having the occasional muscle issue.  My obstacle, and I haven’t really overcome it yet, is my intense and suffocating fear of open water swimming.  I literally pray every second I’m in the water.  Many times, my mantra while swimming is, “never again, never again!”  But I always do it again.

IMG_58946)     What is your most memorable/favorite triathlon or endurance race and why?
It’s the Nashville Ultra Marathon last November where I ran the 50K (31 miles).  My two youngest kids (both cross-country runners) paced me in parts of the race, and to hear them encouraging me, especially when my legs started to hurt those last few miles, was unbelievably powerful and moving.  I trained very hard for this race and beat my estimated finish time by 9 minutes.




7)     What races are you planning for/training for in 2014?
My “A” race is Ironman Chattanooga in September.  Every other race I’m doing is part of training for that.  I’m doing:

Country Music Marathon
ADPi-athlon Sprint
Iron Nugget Sprint
CRAM (Clarksville bike)
Chattanooga Waterfront
Muncie 70.3
Music City Olympic
Toughman Alabama 70.3
Riverbluff Olympic (maybe)

8)     What’s one piece of equipment/gear that you can’t live without?
My new love is my new bike, a Cervelo S5 Aero Road Bike, because it’s WAY faster than my old bike.  My old love is my lucky gray Nike running hat that I wear in every running race and in the run part of every triathlon.  It’s never let me down!

9)     How long have you been a BEAT member?  Why did you join BEAT and what is your favorite thing about the club?
I’ve been a member for 3 years.  I joined because Janet Byers invited me to and because I wanted to learn more about triathlon from people who were more experienced than I was.  My favorite part is the camaraderie and the encouragement, both in training and in races.  There’s nothing better than hearing “Go BEAT” when you’re in the middle of a race.

10)  If you could give one piece of advice to a beginner triathlete or endurance athlete, what would it be?
You are stronger than you think you are.  The first step to triathlon or endurance racing is to believe you can do.  Once you believe, the rest seems to fall into place.

11)  Any last words for us?
Think about recording your triathlon or endurance racing journey in a blog or other form of writing.  I believe the world needs to hear our stories.  I have a Facebook page (with Gina McKinney, my training partner) called (Fe)arless Women, the Road to Ironman Chattanooga.  I post triathlon and endurance related information on that page, as well as link to the blog we are writing that chronicles our Ironman journey.  We’d love for BEAT members to “like” our page!


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