Meet Nicole DeBoom - Former Pro triathlete, Founder of Skirt Sports, & host of our favorite podcast ‘Run This World’! We talk with her about how she stays motivated to take on new challenges, why she started Skirt Sports & her non-profit Running Start, and what fuels her life as an athlete and a mother.
Q. You've taken up a number of new endeavors since your time as a professional triathlete, from surfing to cross country skiing to having a baby at 40! Taking on new challenges as one gets older may seem daunting to some. What motivates you to dive right in and try new things? Any tips to help overcome those fitness barriers?
A. It's all about your mindset. One of the things that scares me more than anything in this life is stagnation. I am built to move forward. The trick for me was to reframe the word "forward" and find things that allow me to feel what "forward" offers. Since I will never be a full-time pro athlete again, I will never be as traditionally fit as I once was. I had to accept that I could still find new frontiers in fitness without the expectations and disappointment I was bound to have if I kept trying the same activities. I finally realized that it's the excitement of trying new things that helps stretch me in new directions. So I thought about the things that both scared me and intrigued me at the same time, and I started checking them off my list. When I was 46, I learned to surf. Now I want to surf every year! When I was 47, I did a 30km cross country ski race! I was not fast, but I had a blast and learned how to embrace the process of being "new." Having a baby at 40 necessitated a whole different set of mindset shifting - that's a bigger topic (but my new bag would be perfect for any new mom because you just can't bring enough emergency supplies for a baby!).
Q. Fitness has been a big part of your life and in 2004 you started Skirt Sports for active women as well as a non-profit called Running Start. What inspired you to launch your clothing brand and non-profit after retiring from professional competitions?
A. I have to start by saying that I didn't retire from racing until my next "project" really took off. I think too many people quit their day job before they know if their new endeavor will succeed and I don't recommend that approach! I started Skirt Sports because I wanted something that didn't exist. High performance athletic wear that fit my body and was actually CUTE! In the early 2000s, there was nothing made for women by women who really understood our needs. I decided to focus on one style that truly epitomized the feminine side of sport and had never been done before - the Running Skirt! I wore a prototype of the first skirt in the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin - and won the race! You don't get a much more exciting origin story than that! Three days later I incorporated Skirt Sports and started learning how to be an entrepreneur in the clothing biz.
Along the way, I was often besieged by women who wanted to experience the power of sport but were held back in some way. I started Running Start to give more women the opportunity to change their lives and gain confidence, courage and strength through running their first 5k. We take women with serious barriers - I'm talking addiction, prison, death of a child, chronic pain, illness, depression and more - and we pair them up with a Personal Motivator who gives them the support they need to do the training. The success stories are mind-blowing. I'm absolutely in awe of the strength we can find within ourselves when we just realize that someone else believes in us!
Q. You host a popular podcast called Run This World and we are excited to have our founder, Sarah Clarkson, as one of your guests! Podcasting has become so popular now - when did you start yours and what are some of unexpected benefits that you have experienced from doing it?
A. It's funny - I knew I wanted to start a podcast before I ever even listened to one! I think it's because I love to talk :) But the truth is, a podcast isn't about talking. It's about listening. Something we all need to work on in this busy, ego-driven world. I started my Run This World Podcast three years ago and on a whim, I asked the first guest, Molly Barker, the founder of Girls on the Run, to leave our listeners with one final nugget. She said, "Be still. Just find some time in the day to still the mind. It is a very very fast paced world and it is in those moments of stillness where I know that I matter and I can find ground under my feet." At that moment, I realized that a side effect of this podcast would be that I would be the benefactor of distilled nuggets of wisdom from every special guest. And that I would have the honor of sharing those nuggets with the greater world.
Q. As busy as you are, what is your typical daily fitness and diet routine?
I love that you added the word "typical" because every day is a little different for me. One of the things that drives me is a passion to try new things - food and fitness are no exception. But I can't try new things every day or I would never be able to focus on the tasks at hand! So, let's drill it down, because I know this is a really interesting topic especially to see behind the curtain of someone who has made health her life's mission. Note: If I go out to eat, I usually try something new!
Eating (i never call it a diet!) habits:
Vegan-esque: I eat a vegan diet with the occasional fish or cheating pastry!
Coffee & tea: I do both. I'm a black coffee snob with the occasional fancy afternoon drink. I'm also a huge fan of black tea, green tea and matcha. Both coffee and tea are usually in my bag!
2 breakfasts: I always do 1st breakfast (remember how the hobbits always had multiple breakfasts? that's me!) usually whole grain toast with almost butter and some topping. Then I workout. Then I eat a huge bowl of hot cereal with all sorts of goodies on top.
Snack all day: I do a lot of snacking if I work from home. If I go to the office, I usually eat lunch that I bring from home.
Bitchin Sauce: OMG the best afternoon dip ever.
Dinner: Always fresh veggies included
Dessert: Tea with almondmilk and usually a treat.
Alcohol: None. I've been sober for over 10 years.
I work out 5-7 days a week for 1-2 hours a day. At this point in my life, my go-to acticities vary depending on day, weather and time. You'll find me doing yoga (Core Power Yoga Sculpt is my fave - more group fitness than yoga), hiking, trail running, mountain biking, cross country skiing, stand up paddling, gym workouts, swimming or just plain walking. Surfing once a year for a week in Costa Rica. Join me!
5. As an entrepreneur, podcast host and mother, tell us, #whatsinyourbag?
- Skirt Sports Charlotte Bra, High Dive Bikini Bottoms, cap and goggles: You never know when a pool or hot tub might appear.
- Alpine Start instant coffee & The Tea Spot matcha
- iKor CBD for athletes (helps me recover better from hard workouts)
- PowerBar PowerGel Shots & Hydro packs (awesome for during workouts)
- iPhone charger (I do a ton of work from my phone and it's always dying)
- Granby/Grand County Trail maps for skiing (winter) and hiking (summer)
- Sunscreen - never leave home without it - my fave for face: MyChelle tinted Sun Shield Stick
- Water bottle - hydration is life
- Energy bar for my daughter. When she bonks, life is just not as fun. She loves Larabar Kids Chocolate Brownie flavor.
For more details on Nicole's Transience bag, check out the Swing Bag 03 - in black mesh with hot pink details.