February 2012 Athlete of the Month – Tea Chand

February 2012 Athlete of the Month – Tea Chand

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

I ran track in High School. I’ve been running since 1983. When I went to college, I started swimming laps. I also got into strength training after meeting some of the football team in the weight room. They introduced me to their trainer and invited me to start working out with them. After college, I invested in a my first super heavy, super cheap bike and started doing events like the MS 150. I didn’t put the 3 sports together until 2005.

What was your motivation to get started in triathlon?

I had an accident and was told that I would never walk without pain again. The Doctor (who was supposed to be a sports doc) told me that I would never run again. When I was going through rehab, I started doing a lot of Yoga. I also really got into a consistent swimming and cycling training rotation. I noticed that as I got stronger and improved my flexibility, my leg felt better. Coincidentally, I read an article somewhere that said something like 80% of people get into triathlon because of an injury. I don’t know if it is true, but it got me thinking that the only way I was going to feel good about myself again would be through competing. Maybe I would never run again, but who cares? One month after getting my cast off, I did my first sprint tri.

When and where was your first race?

The Danskin sprint tri at Aurora Reservoir. I think my finish time was around 2:44 with the 5k alone taking an hour. It was incredibly painful, but my PT said that I couldn’t hurt myself. Any pain would just be pain I had to learn to deal with.

FYI–it took me 3 years post accident, but I don’t have any pain anymore. :)

You have your own business – what is it?

CCO Menswear is a men’s online retailer. We specialize in in the fashion market. In other words, the styles you see professional sports figures wear, that’s what we sell. We’ve done outfits for the Saturday Night Live Christmas special. Our suits have been on Broadway and many college productions. But probably one of my favorites is that we dress the reigning National Champion Barber Shop Chorus. Those guys are absolutely amazing! We also offer executive suits, but our biggest business is the fashion suit line.

What did you do before this business venture?

I was Director of Global Operations for a storage company. I managed all the engineers in the field and the sales team. I got to see the world, but I also spent too much time away from my family.

The hardest day for me was the day the towers came down. I am from Brooklyn, NY. I had engineers in the Pentagon and in the towers. We were scrambling to find out what happened to them when my cell phone rang, and I found out that I also had 4 family members in the towers. I lost a cousin that day.

That day just shook me to the core. That’s when I realized that I needed to dedicate more time to Mike and the boys. So, I quit without another job lined up.

What services have you used at D3 to help you with reaching your goals?

Quarterly plan with DA MAN Ricci.

Have you done any races that you’d traveled for?

Yes. I like traveling for races. I’ve done different races from tris to marathons and half marathons. Traveling was always challenging with small kids and tri gear (or maybe I’m just not organized). Now that my kids are getting ready to head to college, my time commitments are so different. I’m looking forward to doing more races. Last year, I sherpa’d for a friend at St. Anthony’s. That one might be on my list next year.

I would also love to do Ironman Ireland 70.3 and head back to the homeland. Can you imagine? I am first generation US Born. My parents were born in Dublin. Can you think of anything more fantastic? Bucket list.

Best Triathlon moment?

HA! I asked my husband this question, and we both laughed and said “Harvest Moon 70.3″!

I was under trained for this race. I just didn’t respect the distance. A difficult distance was made even worse when on the run a storm hit. I’m talking a storm of epic proportions. It makes me laugh thinking about it. There were 45mph winds, rain, thunder, lightning and golf ball sized hail. I was 6 miles from the finish. There’s no where to really take cover on the run course. I see an aid station with teenagers hiding under the table. Then, I see an outhouse, one of those big ones meant for wheelchairs. I yell at the teenagers to take cover in the outhouse. Me and 6 teenage volunteers take cover in an outhouse. I look out and think that the storm is not ending anytime soon. If I plan on finishing, I have to get back out there. I tell them to stay there because I’m sure the RD will be by to pick them up. I left to finish. With 3 miles left, the RD drove by me, asked if I was ok and if I wanted a ride. I said, “I’m fine, and I’m going to finish”. I was drenched, my shoes were filled with water, and I had mud all over my legs.

And, I did finish. But, the reason that race is so memorable is not because I finished. Rather, the next day the RD posted on the website that there were 15 people out on the run course when the storm hit and not one of them accepted the ride back to the finish. The last person that day finish in well over 9 hours.

What is your favorite race and why?

The one I haven’t done. Because that’s what keeps me going.

What are your long term goals in triathlon?

For the next 4 or 5 years, I am starting over. This year, I am focusing on the sprint distance, next year oly, then half iron, then ironman again. But I reserve the right to change my mind. :)

If you could spend one day training with anyone, who would it be?

My husband Mike.

What’s in your race future?

A Bunch of sprint tris. My first race is 6/1. I feel pretty confident that I can PR on the bike and run.

What’s your favorite workout?

I love those short, painful threshold workouts.

What your least favorite workout?

Anything with long intervals ie: 1 mile intervals on the run or 500m intervals for swimming.

Tell us something interesting about you!

Would you believe that I’ve never had a McDonald’s hamburger? Probably not, but it’s true.
Justin (16 year old) and I were invited to climb Denali this year. Unfortunately, the trip was scheduled for the week Jordan graduates from high school. Maybe next year!

I have 2 awesome sons who are 18 and 16.

This year, 2012, Mike and I celebrate 19 years together.

I am a hiking fanatic and rock and ice climber. Some of my favorite times are being at the top of a mountain with my younger son. When many teens are hanging out with their friends, I know that twice a month, my son chooses to hang out with me. There is nothing like it. It’s amazing. To me, it’s greater than any race finish.

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