We have so many inspiring women on the Coeur team and will be profiling many of them throughout the year. We're starting the series with an interview with the amazing Amanda Stanec. She's a mom, a PhD, and Ironman, the Founder of Move, Live, Learn...and so much more.
Coeur: Amanda, thank you so much for taking a few minutes to chat with us! Before we ask any questions, we have to thank you for joining the Coeur team.
Amanda: Awe, thanks for having me. Honestly, I didn't know much about Coeur at all until I was looking for comfortable tri kit that I could put my company logo on when training last year. A friend in Virginia told me this Coeur shorts were all she would wear, so I looked them up. I ordered the little black kit and, while I didn't get around to putting my logo on it (I still would like to), it didn't matter because they were so comfy I would wash the kit 4 times a week so I would always be comfortable in my training! When I learned about Coeur's support for gender equity in Kona, and observed the way they were voicing this concern and how they were doing their part to evoke change, I became a legit fan. I know first-hand that, as a company, it can be difficult be outspoken about such things, yet it's the right thing to do. I get that, and I admire that.
Coeur: This may be the understatement of the year, but you have quite a bit going on in your life. Let’s see, you’re a mom, a yoga instructor, a PhD, the Founder of Move, Live, Learn and…oh yeah…you trained for and completed an Ironman in 2015. How do you do it all?
Amanda: I don't want to glorify busy, but it's a hectic time of life. I probably should call my loved ones more than I do - and I am so grateful to them because they know life is hectic. Being a mom and partner comes first, but the training and work go hand in hand. When I attain a goal in work or in training, it empowers me to set bigger ones in both areas. If I didn't set athletic goals, I wouldn't have the positive attitude to deliver for my clients. If I cut corners in training, I might cut corners in my work - and that's not how I want to be known. I should note, that I am not instructing yoga although I am a certified yoga teacher. I do a lot of yoga at home at night when my family is sleeping, but studio hours aren't conducive to my family time these days. And, that's okay because I will return when another phase of life arrives.
Practically speaking, I get up at about 4:30 when training for endurance races. And, I only train for a race for 6 months of the year. The other 6 months I work out for 45 minutes to an hour - probably a bit more on weekends - but during this time I work out to clear my head, feel good, be productive and positive etc. I am not sure if it's the case, but I think this is how I stay injury free. I know my body and I know when to pull back. Additionally, I love my family! :) I don't want to be racing every weekend because races don't normally begin at 4:30 am, but I LOVE racing multiple times a year.
Coeur: We definitely want to learn more about Move, Live, Learn, but first, we have to ask you about Ironman Coeur d’Alene. What prompted you to sign up for an Ironman and what appealed to you about Coeur d’Alene?
Amanda: I am from Nova Scotia. I dig nature and beautiful scenery. When I was thinking about signing up, my partner (I call him MacGyver) who is a one-time 10:30 Ironman, encouraged me to pick somewhere beautiful so we could make a family vacation out of it. He was all for Coeur d'Alene as he could go mountain biking during the days when I was tapering hard leading up to the race. The venue is so amazing. Our girls (ages 4 and 5) swam at the lake and we walked everywhere from the cottage we rented. I was all in for CDA because I actually love hilly bike courses and the Canadian in me was excited about cooler temperatures (Wow! That idea was lost in 2015!) :) I tell anyone who will listen that CDA is the IM to do. The locals were EXCEPTIONAL. I even went and purchased a new Coeur kit the day before the race (same style, etc.) but I wanted something lighter in color than my little black kit due to the 108F forecast. If I were to another IM, I would not hesitate to go back to CDA. While I have nothing to compare it to, it was just an amazing experience.
Coeur: How did the race go for you? Was it what you expected?
Amanda: I had such an epic experience. I threw out my original time goals. With a forecast of 108F, my goal of around 12 hours was adjusted to a goal of "stay the hell out of the medical tent." These things aren't about the event itself, they are about the journey to both the start and finish lines. My legs felt incredible on the bike, yet I stopped at almost every single aid station on the 2nd loop to take in more fluids than planned. My ego hurt to see so many go by me when I stopped to hydrate, but I would catch up to folks and I stayed positive despite consciously riding slower with the understanding a marathon would follow. I tried hard to encourage others who were very frustrated with the temps and reminded myself how grateful I was to be there, be competing, and checking this off my bucket list. While my time was much slower than I originally anticipated (13:16 ish I think?), I was really happy with my 20th AG place and how I climbed in the ranks during the run. I wore a floppy hat and filled it with ice and just kept shuffling along. I never once felt I couldn't do it. I never once felt I was unsafe. With those temps, I was incredibly proud of how I used life experience to change goals and just get it done! I have to add, the pros in the Coeur kits would give me big thumbs up or smiles when they saw me far back on the course. It was so sweet!!
Coeur: Ok…we’re very interested in learning more about Move, Live, Learn. We looked at your website (http://movelivelearn.com/) and were incredibly impressed. For the readers who are not familiar with the organization, can you share some information about your mission and your approach?
Amanda: Thank you so much! In my former lives, I was a physical education teacher, university soccer assistant coach, and college professor. I loved each job, honestly. It was family reasons that I moved on from one role to another. As I worked in multiple sectors, I had a difficult time understanding why the sectors didn't talk more to one another. My Master’s degree had an emphasis in sport and exercise psychology and my PhD minor was in adapted physical activity - I felt all had such value.
So, Move Live Learn completes for contracts for a variety of organizations, companies, schools, etc. When named the successful proponent, we approach each contract in a way that is informed by multiple sectors. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, we pride ourselves on conducting each contract through a social justice lens. Thus, marginalized groups such as newcomer and immigrant youth, youth with disabilities, females, minorities, those in poverty are no longer an appendix - they are part of the discussion from the very first meeting. I believe we need to normalize health for all and that we need to think of health in all its glory - physical, emotional / mental, spiritual and social. Past / Current clients include Association of Summer Olympic Games International Federations (yes, Triathlon & Cycling are included here!), Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation, NFL Play 60, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and United World Wrestling.
Coeur: What compelled you to start the company?
Amanda: My partner and moved around a lot for my and his work early in our marriage (I lived in Nova Scotia, Charlottesville, VA, Colorado Springs, CO and Boulder, CO) all between 2009 and 2011! I had two babies close together during this time, and was taking time to be a full-time mom as his job was fast tracking him and moving him around every few months. I still wanted to apply my professional skills and education while home with our girls, and so I continued to look for a job that would fit with supporting my partner's career, as well as feeling satisfied in my own work. I never viewed my career as a ladder - I viewed it as a way to try and do my small part to make the world a better place. All the while, I completed small contracts for past connections while my kids were sleeping, etc. My partner told me that if I put myself out there and competed for more work I would probably have a full-time business - one with the flexibility I wanted to be a mom who was fully engaged in her kids' lives. He is a great listener and he believed and supported my vision for Move Live Learn. I am grateful to him every day for this.
Coeur: It looks like you've got a great team working with you. Can you tell us a bit more about the other individuals associated with Move, Live, Learn?
Amanda: My teammates are the BEST! You see, I know what I don't know. But luckily, I know people who specifically know what I don't know! :) I pull people in for a variety of reasons. I have a specialty in curriculum development, but I am not a registered dietician, so I have an incredible colleague involved who I will hire to help review nutrition content to ensure it's evidence based, etc. In addition to those formerly associated with Move Live Learn, I pull in others when projects are massive, or multiple projects end up in production at the same time. For example, I currently have a professor in Toronto and a PE teacher in Vermont aiding me in lesson plan development for a job I am doing. They are both exceptional educators and humans. It is really great to be able to engage with those in the field so that I am never disconnected from reality. I have 20 years of experience to draw on - I know who will be incredible and provide exceptional quality with a positive attitude.
Coeur: Move, Live, Learn sounds fantastic. Is there anything else you'd like to share about the organization?
Amanda: I think I already overshared, yet if I may, I will add that Move Live Learn has exceeded any expectations that I could have dreamed up in my head. I simply wanted to apply my skills and education in a way that could help kids. I didn't realize it be a vehicle to travel the world and make friendships with people in developing countries and serve as a voice for some of those same people. With heart and courage, comes a lot of hard work. Hard work opens doors. I really do believe this.
Coeur: Coeur wants to encourage more women to live a lifestyle of health and fitness. We know this may fall into the category of asking for free consulting, but do you have any advice for us on how we may accomplish that goal?
Amanda: Ha! I love giving free consulting! In the literature, it's known as goal orientation theory. Practically speaking, how we define success is extremely important. I am never going to be a pro triathlete - ever! I don't have the genetics for it nor do I get enough sleep. But, I can set personal goals to do my best, master a task and/or improve. Thus, I would encourage every woman to set goals in these ways, and then to identify steps to help them track their progress so that if they need to readjust the timing or journey to the goals, they can do so. The other advice that I will give is that women have to view activity as an investment not only in long term health, but short-term mental, social, and emotional health. I met the most amazing women when training for Boston and IMCDA. As someone who was new to St Louis, I found a group of positive women who wanted to lift others up while they attained their own goals. My friend Sharon would rise to take me on long rides because she is a seasoned Ironman and wanted me to feel supported. People don't have to do this. Often we say "we don't have time" but we have to make time. In other words, throw up the damn scale and move more to feel better and to untap your potential in all areas of life.
Coeur. You've done an Ironman and run the Boston Marathon. What else is on your endurance sports "to do" list?
Amanda: My partner and I eloped in 2006, and he was registered to do the TransAlp Challenge shortly after so had to leave the day after we got hitched. He always said he'd like to take me back to do it with him. I turn 40 this summer and with the age of our kids, I think realistically this is a goal for when I turn 50. I wanted to do an Ironman and Boston before I turned 40 and I am so blessed that I was able to do both with a year to spare. I am at a loss for a current goal but enough time has passed since Coeur D'Alene - I need some help in determining the next goal. Maybe some readers can help?!? :)
Coeur: Well, thank you so much for chatting with us. We're thrilled to have you on the team and look forward to cheering for you in 2016.
Amanda: Thank you for allowing me to be a part of a group that focuses on promoting kindness, inclusivity and healthy living through my community and beyond! I truly wish Coeur nothing but amazing vibes going forward.