Athlete of the Month, January 2010 - Yaicha Schuneman

Swim, Bike, Run
January 31, 2017

Mike Ricci



Yaicha Schuneman did her first triathlon, 5430 Half Ironman, the summer of '07. An admitted "yoga junkie", Yaicha decided to take the sport more seriously in January of '08 when she signed on with coach Amanda McCracken. While battling to figure out her gluten allergy, Yaicha consistently showed improvement, setting new PR's and placing higher in her age group throughout '08 while competing in races of all distances well almost all. The year of 2009, she decided to go after some milestones: her first Ironman and Marathon. Yaicha completed Ironman Germany in Frankfort in 13:03. Not only was this her first Ironman experience, it was also her first trip abroad which carries with it a lot of extra stressors and unknown factors. Then, Yaicha turned around and qualified for the Boston Marathon by running her 3:31 in Chicago, her first marathon. Yaicha is not just a talented triathlete who has just begun to discover her knack and love for the sport. She's a dedicated journal entry writer on Training Peaks and often includes humorous details her coach is amused to learn. Yaicha's dedication, discipline towards taking care of her health and injuries, and light-hearted/"challenge me" spirit has brought her the success she deserved this year.

D3: Can you tell us a little bit about your sports background? Which sports did you do as a kid and as you got older? 

Yaicha: Growing up I was not involved in sports at all! I had severe asthma that forced me quite inactive. In the past five years I have found a passion for anything involving exploring the outdoors! I will try anything once and usually I will add that on to the list of things I love to do. Through swimming, biking and running I have actually been able to pretty much get rid of my asthma, and my quality of life has significantly improved.

D3:What was your motivation to get started in triathlon?

Yaicha: Getting involved in triathlon happened by chance, and it may have been the best thing that happened to me. I had done a couple of running races and had done fairly well considering my lack of training. I had several friends that were involved in triathlons that convinced me to do a triathlon as well. Without ever swimming or riding a road bike I signed up for the 5430 long course (that was dumb). I was able to successfully purchase a bike suited for triathlons, and learned to swim. I trained all summer and successfully completed the long course in Aug 2007

D3: What is your current job and what do you do?

Yaicha: I manage a Starbucks in Denver. We like to rock and roll.

D3:You recently raced IM Germany as your first IM. How was that experience given the stress of the travel?

Yaicha: I have found that traveling with a bike (especially internationally) is a very stressful experience. So many things can happen. When I did the Ironman I actually got a flat tire which changed my day very quickly. Although I got the flat, it was still an unbelievable experience to do the Ironman in Europe! I cannot even begin to describe what a great experience doing the Ironman was. It took me awhile to be okay with the fact that I got the flat, and it took a lot of time for me to recover from the change in plans (And it took me FOREVER) to fix the flat. Today I actually fee good about what happened. It made me stronger and I realized how strong I actually am.

D3:Only 3 months after Ironman Germany you qualified for the Boston Marathon by racing the Chicago marathon. What did you do in between those 2 big events to stay focused and fit?

Yaicha: I ran!!! After the Ironman I was on a mission, I knew that I could potentially qualify for Boston (even though I had never done a stand-alone marathon) and that helped to keep me motivated to train.

D3:Best Triathlon moment? 

Yaicha: Finishing the Ironman in Germany. I felt such highs and lows that day, it was an amazing experience to cross that finish line, and know what I had just accomplished.

D3:What is your favorite race and why?

Yaicha: I had such an amazing day at the Chicago Marathon. I knew going into it that I could potentially qualify, but my goals were much simpler than that. My two goals were to HAVE FUN and also run at a pace that I could maintain for the entire race and not go out too hard. I succeeded in having fun, the miles went very quickly and I made sure to SMILE the entire way. My pace stayed the same (within 5 seconds) for the entire race. It was such a great feeling when I knew that I qualified for Boston.

D3: What are your long term goals in triathlon?

Yaicha: I am itching to do another Ironman! I also want to continue to challenge myself and do my best everyday!

D3:If you could spend a day training with anyone, who would it be?

I am so lucky to have to people around me that I do, I love all of the people that I currently train with and I am really content just being able to train with any of them!

D3: What’s in your race future?

Yaicha: I am gearing up for RAW (race across the west) right now. It is a bike race from San Diego to Durango!

D3:What's your favorite workout? 

Yaicha: Hands down, any trail run is my favorite!

D3: What your least favorite workout?

Yaicha: I hate doing core work. I know it is really beneficial, but I just don't like it.

D3: Tell us something interesting about you!

Yaicha: I climb 14ers year round with my dad!

Coach Mike Ricci is the Founder and Head Coach for D3 Multisport.  His coaching style is ‘process-focused’ vs. ‘results-focused.’ When working with an athlete, their understanding of how and why they are improving is always going to take precedence over any race result. Yes, there is an end goal, but in over 2 decades of coaching, experience has shown him that if you do the right work, and for the right reasons, the results will follow.

Coach Mike is a USAT Level III Elite Certified Coach, Ironman University Certified Coach, and Training Peaks Level II Certified Coach. He was honored as the USAT Coach of the Year.

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