Words cannot fully describe how humbled, excited, and inspired I am to be Jennistrong’s coach!! This girl is relentless, dedicated, and strong on the inside and out. The beauty she possesses and shares with the world is a gift to us all. Enjoy getting to know Jennifer Gallant!
Favorite snack/food you eat while training:
My favorite snack/food while training is pecan pie larabar and PayDay (the combination of the peanuts for salt and caramel for sugar is awesome!). I train and race using Infinit Nutrition and use these items as special treats while on long bike rides.
Piece of training gear or clothing item you couldn’t live without:
Garmin 920XT. This multisport watch is great to track all my running, biking, and swimming and all my races. It also easily syncs with Training Peaks which makes logging easier than ever. Also, LOVE my TS2 visor and my Miraculous Medal necklace that was blessed by my priest that never comes off.
Strange routine, quirk, or mental game you do when racing or getting ready for one:
- I eat the same pre-race meal before every race (GF toast with mounts of almond butter, banana, and applesauce).
- Thanks to Michele Prible, I have my favorite bible verses written on a piece of paper in my bike bag and read them before every race, and every time I need that extra encouragement.
What was your entry into triathlon/endurance training (i.e. Why did you take the plunge?)
I first started triathlons (sprints) to mix things up a bit from just swimming. Did my first two sprint in 2011. I did two more sprints in 2012. The main reason I raced is to try and beat my previous times and for general exercise with no real goals in mind and no “real” training.
2013 is when I got a call from Gregg to join Tri-Loco. That’s the same year I joined a masters swim team. That year I qualified for US Masters Nationals in the 50 and 100 Breaststroke. That same year I did four sprint triathlons and got better with each one. I was training more and being on a team motivated me to do better.
The end of 2013 was when I got the call that I had an extremely rare form of cervical cancer. My oncologist has only seen three cases in 30 years. My life flashed in front me as I fell to the ground and thought “I am going to die.” I never in a million years thought this could happen to me. After many tests, scans, doctor appointments, prayers, tears, and feelings of hopelessness, I realized that cancer cannot take away my heart or soul and I am going to fight for my life, because I am worth it. After a four hour surgical radical hysterectomy, removal of 16 lymph nodes, and a large amount of surrounding tissue, I was clear, the cancer didn’t spread. That day was the day that I told myself I would live my life with no regrets and do the things that make me feel happy to be alive, which included triathlon.
Life after cancer is something people don’t always think about. The hardest part was not the diagnosis but life in remission. As someone who is not just active in sports but also proactive, I have found it difficult to rebuild my life in the aftermath of my diagnosis. I am extremely lucky to be in remission but that does not make me cancer free. Two years after treatment, I still struggle with the side effects of my surgery to remove cancer. Fatigue, unpredictable bowels, menopause, and heartbreaking infertility. I lost my confidence too that I still work on daily. In a life before cancer I used to rely on sport as my outlet. It was not only enjoyable and sociable but an efficient stress reliever. Yes, I am cancer free but the fear of cancer recurrence never goes away. Now I get scanned and checked every six months and the weeks before and after are very hard. Will they find anything this time? Did the cancer find its way somewhere else in my body? Yes, I wish this has never happened to me but it has opened my eyes to how precious life is and how important it is to enjoy every day. My parents always tell me “You are an inspiration, you were given this life because you are strong enough to live it.” One of my missions in life is not just to survive, but to thrive and to do it with passion.
Why do you keep doing it? (What keeps you at it?)
- A lot of things keep me going that is hard to describe and explain but what keeps me going the most is wanting to be the best role model for my nieces Hailey, McKenzie, Gracie, and my nephew Gavyn. I want them to look up to me and know that if you believe in yourself anything is possible. I want them to know that having cancer or any other life changing event doesn’t change who you are as a person. I want them to know that it’s acceptable to find time for the things that make you feel happy to be alive. They are my motivation.
- Being a cancer survivor also keeps me going. Cancer took a lot from me, including the ability to have my own children and other side effects I deal with daily, but it’s extremely important to me to live a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise, sleep, stress management, and nutrition.
My proudest triathlon accomplishment is completing Muncie 70.3. Nick fully prepared me for this race and I had a blast knowing I was prepared and felt great the whole race.
What have you learned about yourself from endurance training and racing?
- I have learned to always find the time to do the things that make me feel happy to be alive.
- Training the TS2 way, I learned that not every workout is going to be great but if you stay consistent and stay the course, you will 100% be prepared and ready when you step on that start line.
- Complete my first Ironman distance in Louisville
- 5:45 goal time in Muncie 70.3
- Work hard and stay consistent with my daily training
Outside of triathlon, what is most important to you?
- Continually working on self-growth and adding more simplicity to my life
Anything else you would want the group to know about you.
- I first need to give a special thanks to the man behind all this, Nick. There aren’t enough adjectives in the world to describe what I think of him; impressive, inspirational, motivational, caring, supportive, the list goes on and on. I am so blessed to be a part of TS2 and I cherish it from the bottom of my heart. I am appreciative for the progress, grateful for all inspiring messages and words Nick gives me on a regular basis, and for this amazing opportunity to be trained by the best. He has instilled in me what working hard toward a goal can do and for that I am forever indebted! Thank you Nick, you have changed my life.
- I am a huge essential oil (Doterra) lover so if you are interested in oils becoming part of your daily life come find me. ☺
It is a great privilege to be a part of our athlete’s stories. It is a complete joy to support them, guide them, know them, and love them each step of the way. Be on the look out on www.ts2coaching.com for more stories that will most certainly encourage, challenge, and inspire you to tell your own magnificent story in 2016 and beyond! Onward and upward!