Under the hood of Team Innerforce 2019

Editor’s Note: The following is a compilation of recap notes from athletes from Team Innerforce 2019. They are the best possible voice to tell you a bit of what happened through this amazing year. We would also like to take this opportunity to thank our awesome partners for 2019: Rudy Project, X-Terra Wetsuits, First Endurance and AMP.

 

Who is Team Innerforce? by Travis Thome

Well, I’m about to give you a little insight into what Team Innerforce actually is. First, we need to go over a little background in case you’ve been living under a rock over the past year. This has been the inaugural year for Innerforce to have its own brand team. The team is full of runners, cyclists, and triathletes of all skill levels. We have world-class competitors and first-timers all under the same roof. 

Now I’ll be honest when applications opened up for this team we all thought it would be so cool to represent a brand that gave us a sweet discount on being able to customize our own gear. There are countless brands out there that offer up discounts on gear, but none that offer up professional-quality customizable apparel. Who wouldn’t want that? Plus, the name Innerforce. It makes sense, it sounds cool, and it’s not a household name. 

So the first few months started off as you would expect. Team members joined in on social media groups, began getting their first gear orders of team and custom gear, and training was getting intense as the competitive season was soon getting underway. The team was comprised of athletes from all over the country. No one actually knew each other. We all had one connection, being accepted onto this team and wanting to have a successful year. That success meant something different for everyone and as more and more people began posting some of their training progress and goals for the year, the team atmosphere began to grow.

Even though our only connection was competing in or training for endurance sports, and being a part of Team Innerforce, there was something bigger happening. As the competitive season got underway, the support began to grow. It was soon easy to see that this was a special group of people. Race weekends became the highlight of the week whether you were competing or not. I don’t know a single weekend where conversations about how people were doing or “did you see how they did?” was not flooding my inbox. It was truly amazing that I spent so much time checking to see how people were doing, tracking athletes, or talking with these ‘teammates’ throughout the week and even more on weekends. Yet, I have never physically met a single one in person.

 

Travis Thome Ironman Atlantic City 70.3

Travis Thome on the run portion of the 2019 Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City

 

Then there was one moment that really made me realize that we have something even more special than anyone on the outside would realize. We had a team member who suffered an accident that left them beat up and laid up. Without hesitation, the team stepped up to help put the family member at ease with some of the material items that were ruined during the accident. It was truly remarkable to see well over the majority of Team Innerforce step up to help aide this teammate. And yes, if you caught that, I said family member.  Because it was during this time, I realized that this was more than just another sports brand team. We became a family. 

It was at that moment that we knew that Innerforce had something very special. There had grown a solid core of individuals who had come together to create a community that was more than just saying “good job” after a race. It grew to check in on each other throughout the week and pushing one another to ensure they were taking care of business, whatever their business was. It wasn’t just about seeing results on the course. We wanted to see each other succeed in everything. There was genuine care flowing throughout the country. 

Just like any other family, there is a solid core of individuals that stepped up to really embrace being a part of Team Innerforce. There were a number of members who were active in racing but much quieter in letting the team know how things were going. Then were the few members who just kind of did their own thing.  All of these are still family members. They are all critical to the growth of this community that has been created by one brand. To much surprise, it has changed from a brand ambassador team, to a team who all support one brand, Innerforce. 

Now my job was to recap the season. The inaugural Team Innerforce 2019 season. I could go into all the amazing accomplishments that we have had on the course. From 50-mile trail runners, cyclists competing to qualify for world competition, to world qualifying triathletes, and everywhere in between and outside. But that is not what this is about. Sure, we are extremely proud of all those accomplishments. We will not hesitate to boast a little about what our team members have done and are doing. But there is more. We are a part of something bigger. 

This year Team Innerforce has come together to create more than a brand of professional quality apparel. We have come together to create a community. We are regular people, with extraordinary qualities. We support a brand that supports us. Products are being created and revamped based on our feedback regularly. This is a team that is completed supported and knows that Innerforce has our back. And guarantee, we will step toe to toe with any other team out there while looking fly as ever.

Team Edna by Terri Bush 

I have been a runner since 2001 when my older brother was diagnosed with cancer and he eventually lost his battle in 2004. My mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012 which she beat but Christmas of 2015 it returned as breast cancer and she lost her battle Feb 3 2016. Running has always been my outlet for grief, stress, and also it makes me happy to just be out there enjoying the outdoors.
I usually competed in Half Marathons and just an FYI who wants to do a brutal but really awesome half do the Air Force Half Marathon. It was pretty awesome! I had always wanted to try doing a triathlon but would talk myself out of it because I wasn’t the best swimmer but in 2017 I decided to do a sprint. The good news is I didn’t drown and I had a great time! I was officially hooked! I made a commitment to work on my swim and get better at this amazing new sport I found. In 2018 I competed in 3 more sprint triathlons and I made the podium, 3rd place in my age group! In all my years of running, I had never made a podium.
One of the most amazing about this sport is all of the new friends I have made, the triathlon community is competitive but also very supportive. It is the only sport I know of where when you do an Ironman the pro’s are right out there with you doing the same course and I have actually had conversations with them on Facebook. In the fall of last year, I saw a Facebook ad for Innerforce and decided to apply to the team. Wow, what an amazing year 2019 has been! Being a part of Team Innerforce has given me the courage to push myself further and to know there is no goal out of reach! Everyone is so supportive and helpful. They are there to listen, give advice, and be that support we all need on our journey to our goals.

 

terribushteamedna

Terri competing earlier this year

This year was amazing for me with 2- First place finishes in my age group and stepping up to the Olympic distance. Next year I am going to do my first 70.3 in Traverse City at age 56 and I know my team will be there cheering me on! My kit not only has the Team Innerforce on it but also I compete as Team Edna for my Mom which has the Teal and Pink ribbons of Ovarian and Breast cancer. When I compete I feel I am representing not just my teams but for all those touched by this horrible disease. I am blessed to do this sport and to be a part of Team Innerforce.

My gift for my 60th birthday by Kathy Patton 

Signing up for my first 70.3 to “celebrate” the arrival of age 60 left me with 9 months to be as prepared as possible to compete with other women my age. Not such a hard thing I thought based on the time I had to prepare and having a multitude of resources to base my training on. I had met and encountered many individuals that worked full time like I and were able to fit their training schedules with some sacrifice. 

Winter came upon us hard here in Northern Michigan so lots of treadmill, lots of stationary biking, and lots of lanes swum at the pool 15 miles away. I was fortunate that I was accepted as a member of the Team Innerforce group. I was encouraged by these athletes from all walks of life that were building their fitness levels, challenging each other and inspiring many with sharing of their personal athletic and health journeys. What I didn’t expect on my way to my 70.3 was to take on another job this June that changed the course of my training for the entire summer. Our village campground manager was unable to run the 40 sites amid becoming extremely busy. So, I took this on as a “part-time” task while also running my insurance agency. I’m thankful I have a great business partner and people that run my agency very well in my absence! 

My training for triathlons now came in the form of running behind a self-propelled mower, lifting myriad items from picnic tables to buckets of cleaner for my bathroom detail a couple of times each day. The “part-time” was actually a full-time summer commitment. I got my swim time in at the lake and biked early Saturday and Sunday mornings. And, even though I competed in some smaller triathlons throughout the summer, I still felt somewhat unprepared for as big of an event as the Traverse City 70.3. Two weeks before the event, I went back and looked up what I had originally planned for preparation and wrote from my activity log what I did with the campground job. I had done more than what I would have if I had followed the old plan! 

42 women age 60-64 registered for Traverse City Ironman 70.3. Starting the race-35, 30 finished and I was 9th in my age group. What an amazing and incredible experience shared with so many.

 

Kathy Patton

Kathy Patton at the 2019 Ironman 70.3 in Traverse City

 

My hope with this blog is to be one of the athletes that support anyone’s efforts to stay active, strive for physical goals via various events, and be an example that one can compete and train in a variety of ways no matter your age, where you live, or what you do! 

 

Why Team Innerforce by Natalie Williams, “The PrincessWarrior”

Tri season 2019 began with my wish to get my own kit. I wanted something that said “me”. I came across a social media posting and immediately applied to be an ambassador! I can get ONE kit, made just for me, and it’s similar in price to group kits…sign me up!

As a 3x cancer survivor, I have a logo and a saying that defines me and now I had the opportunity to work with a designer and put it on my tri kit! The Team Innerforce family started off pretty quiet, but I met two of them at early season races! We became good friends always cheering and high 5’s on course. There’s a great sense of camaraderie with Team Innerforce that isn’t found elsewhere.

 

Princess Warrior

Natalie Williams: “transform, transition, spread your wings and fly!”

 

I am nobody special, just an age grouper that may place every now and then, but the obstacles I’ve had to overcome to get here is my reason I can stand here and smile. Not only did we all dig deep to personalize our individual inspiration kit, but we also motivate each other through group chats, Q and A’s, and social media…using our own InnerForce. I hope you join our team, because your story matters!

I hope you find your own #butterfly and with the help of the current and future ambassadors, cant wait to see how we can all soar together! (And of course, again a huge thanx to the team for providing love and support to get back up and going. )

 

What Team Innerforce means to me by Jen Chadwick

 

As a team, we were all asked to put this in words and I have found it hard to sum it all up in a short brief.  I have stared at an empty screen over and over again. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that certain conversations with some teammates and our CEO that really pushed me to put my thoughts down.  

As an individual we all cycle, run and tri for different reasons.  Some for the exercise, some for the rush, some for the podium, and some to keep a focus.  When I first started cycling it was a focus that got me on the road. A healthy focus away from a life-threatening one.  Cycling turned into Triathlon because I’m an athlete and have been since day one and I always need the rush of pushing the limits.  To keep this short, I’ve gone through many life struggles that eventually led to a disastrous mindset. It is hard to crawl from that dark hole but somehow being on the road or pushing my physical limits would help clear thoughts for the time being allowing me to continue to the next day.  This unhealthy pattern began in late 2013 and I started on a better path in 2015. I still have my daily struggles.

This is where Team Innerforce came in.  I applied out of the blue to be an Ambassador for Team Innerforce in early 2019.  I figured there was no way since I wasn’t a consistent podium racer and had never ordered their product before.  I was wrong. I was accepted with open arms! Over the months I learned that this was a special team made of all kinds of athletes.  Supportive from the top and spread out like wild fire amongst us all. When things are dark for me, there is always someone who posts what is needed or reaches out by message just to check-in and see how things are going.  Many times a teammate has pulled me from the shadows and talked me back into the fun of it all, why I ride and why I race. With this team behind me I know if I have a bad day it’s ok, they will pick me up and say go again!  If I need help, they are there for me and if I’m doing great, they will motivate me to push for more!

There are many teams to join out there. Many brands to promote but there is only one Innerforce.  The clothing line is top-notch but the actual brand is the people behind it. We are all athletes unique in our own ways.  We struggle, we persevere, and we motivate. We are a family. We are unstoppable. We are Innerforce!

 

“We are all athletes unique in our own ways.  We struggle, we persevere, and we motivate. We are a family. We are unstoppable. We are Innerforce!” Jen Chadwick

 

See you on the start line by Kevin McLendon

 

When I look back to a year ago I had just completed my first season back in triathlon after a few year hiatus. I started triathlon on a whim 5 years ago. I had completed them, I wasn’t competing…not yet anyway, and nothing longer than an Olympic. I saw a Facebook add for a triathlon team and I chalked it up to a long shot of getting accepted but maybe I could spin my story into something decent. I work as a resident in Emergency Medicine which demands most of my time and I also started taking night classes to get my masters degree, those alone would be enough to keep most people busy. Yet, my competitive nature wouldn’t rest until I truly pushed myself in the sport to challenge my body not just my mind. That is what the last year on Team Innerforce has been. It has been that nudge when I wanted to skip training days, the encouragement to set a higher goal, and a reminder that there are other people in the grind with you each day. The triathlon community is very small where I live, but Innerforce created a family of people, some I’ve not yet met in person, that I talk with regularly about the important things: work/life balance, training plans and goals, shared successes, and of course drooling over the insane performance of the stars in the field. The last weekend of my season this year was a 2 race weekend where I not only demolished my times from last year, but truly competed the entire way. I walked away with my best performances to date, and efforts in which I can take pride. Just one season with the team and the difference is palpable, and with that so is my drive for continued improvement with bigger goals for next year and plan on how to make that happen. I have cultivated my force within, by surrounding myself with a team; Team Innerforce.
Kevin McLendon

“Just one season with the team and the difference is palpable, and with that so is my drive for continued improvement with bigger goals for next year and plan on how to make that happen.”

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