Athlete of the Month, June 2016 - Michelle Franks

Triathletes smiling at the camera
June 15, 2016

D3 Staff



Coach Brad has nominated Michelle Franks as our Athlete of the Month! Michelle has embraced the experience of being a new triathlete and has taken on the learning curve with important awareness and humor. Recognizing that this is the hardest sport she’s ever done and not being used to starting from the beginning of anything, she embraces such a positive outlook on her journey that you’ll be reminiscing your own firsts through triathlon as you read the Q/A. Michelle has quickly come to realize that as long as you finish, you are a winner, but she does indeed have plans for big finishes and we look forward to supporting her along the way.

There are lots of firsts in her story and we would like to turn the spotlight on Michelle Franks and celebrate them!

What has fueled your interest to race triathlons?
I was watching the Kona World Championships in November and was overwhelmed by the stories of what people overcame to accomplish the goal of getting to Kona. It is not something you can buy or get instant gratification. You earn the title of being a triathlete and hearing “You Are An Ironman.” I want that. You can’t order that on Amazon!

You recently purchased a new TT bike and took it for a first ride. It sounds like you learned some lessons we could all benefit from. Please share what happened.
Never, ever ride without a spare tube, or 2! I was 15 miles from my car and misjudged a curb. I blew both tires and wiped out. I joked with my neighbor that if I wasn’t back in 2.5 hours to come looking for me. I called them to come get me and my reception on my phone was so bad, all they heard was “sir, sir can you help me!!” My phone cut out! The other lesson I learned was triathletes are awesome. I met 2 guys, Bob and Doug, who fixed my flats and shared a bottle of Pinot!

You just raced your first Olympic distance race. What spurred your interest in this distance or this particular race? What are three thrills or moments you are proud of from this accomplishment?
I registered for the Grand Rapids triathlon Olympic distance back in January. I wanted to be sure I was committed to a race and had no excuse to pull out! I chose the Olympic distance because, frankly, I’m crazy and figured I would push myself. Being uncomfortable and pushing past limits is the only way you grow and improve..

Reflecting on the race, I realize that this is the hardest sport I have ever done and I am not used to starting from the beginning of anything.
This first race experience put me at the edge of every emotion. It started by swallowing a ton of water which made the entire day a challenge.
I wish I could say I crushed it but it was more like I wasn’t willing to let the water crush my entire day. Lesson learned is never underestimate open water and always rely on your training. I panicked and had a hard time the remainder of the day.

But, I finished and that was a win, plain and simple!

What is a favored tip that Coach Brad shared before the race?
My favorite tip from Brad is to believe in yourself and your training and know that this is a journey. We get so caught up in results, that it becomes easy to let the outcome, and negative people get in your head. Enjoy the journey and learn from your experience.

First bike, first Oly distance … what other firsts should we know about?
I have been running since 2013 to honor my mom’s fight against breast cancer. She beat cancer and I started training for triathlon in January of this year. In getting ready for my tri races, Brad helped me to prepare and run my first half marathon and 25k distance road races! I had only raced 5k and 10k races before meeting Brad. I didn’t break any land/speed records but have the confidence to complete and compete in longer distance races.
Describe your goals for triathlon this season and even into the future
My goals for triathlon this season are to continue my training, finish my newbie tri in GR (which I did!), and finish top 10 in my age group at the Chicago Triathlon in August.

Ultimately, I want Kona. It will take time I know, but I want to be good enough to earn an age group slot to compete. Yes, this is a journey, and I want the honor of being among those who have earned the right to be called an Ironman.  Thanks to D3, I am on my way!

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