A Mom’s Journey to the Top of the World March 9, 2013

Just a little about myself for those of you who don’t know me or don’t know me well enough to have heard about my secret plan.  I guess it is not so secret anymore!  To be successful, you need to not only write down your goals, but to share them with others.  I’ve put a lot of thought into whether or not to put it all out there and tell all about my goals in athletics…I mean it is pretty scary to make a big statement saying you are going to break the world record, because what if I fail?  I wanted to teach my children a lesson that I hope they will carry with them as they go through life that, if I can borrow a quote from John Wooden,  “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming” -this is how I try to approach any goal that I set for myself and I hope that others can find satisfaction when they know they gave something their all.

I am a mom, wife, CEO of the McDonald household, business owner and a master’s track & field athlete!  I have three kids: – one girl – Chiara (19) and two boys – Nicolas (9) and Cruz (7).  I have been married to my wonderful husband, Michael, for over 10 years.  For more details on my accomplishments or my younger years, please visit my bio.

Four years ago, Michael and I had this crazy idea to open up a drive- thru coffee shop and all of our time, money and energy went into the shop.  Although I loved Zizzo’s, the staff and all the wonderful customers, it was basically sucking the life right out of me and I was becoming more and more stressed out trying to manage everything that was on my plate.  I was dedicating around 12-15 hours a day to the business in one capacity or another.  I longed to go back to personal training and to helping others with their health and fitness journeys.

One day, Michael gave me the go ahead to slowly back out of the day-to-day work at the shop and to follow my passion.  Together with my manager I set the shop up with the right staff so that we had a good foundation of people who can handle things in my absence.  By December of 2012, I was no longer working on the floor or on the schedule at all.  And, thanks to my wonderful manager, Tami, a fabulous staff, and my supportive husband, I was finally able to pursue my other passions.

I decided to get re-certified as a personal trainer, become a P90X trainer and formed McDonald Fitness.  I also became a Beachbody coach in June of last year.  I liked the idea of supplementing my one-on-one personal training with Beachbody because I like to work with a wide variety of people in a lot of different capacities.  Not everyone can afford a session with a trainer, but more people might be able to afford to buy a complete workout (i.e. P90X, Insanity, Slim in 6) and nutritional program (Shakeology, Ultimate Reset) for about the price of two personal training sessions and still get the support and online coaching from me for FREE.  Not everyone likes driving to a gym or athletic club.  Some people like to workout in the comfort of their own home so they don’t have to pay for childcare and workout whenever is convenient to their schedule.  Plus, when you purchase a home fitness video program, you have that program forever and other people in your family (husband, wife, kids) can also take advantage of it.

What made me decide to high jump again?  It was last year when I saw that my former track teammate, Clare Look-Jaeger, broke the American Record for the 45-49 age group in the high jump at 5′ 3 3/4″.  I hadn’t been keeping up with what the master’s records were in the high jump until I stumbled upon Clare’s result.  Clare is an incredible athlete.  She has a PR of 6’3″ and participated in multiple USA National Championships and Olympic Trials in both the high jump and the heptathlon.  Although I was thrilled for Clare, the new record lit a fire in me.  It had been about 13 years since I had done any sort of high jump training, but I felt that I could really give the record a shot.  To make things more exciting, I move into a new age group on March 29th, 2013 (the B I G  5 0!!) which means that I have the chance to break not only an American record but a World record too!  The American record for the 50-54 age group is 5’1″ and the World record is 5’3″.

Last year, I jumped 5’3″ at the Mt. SAC Invitational on April 2012 with no coaching, and minimal jumping and strength training.  Through my contacts at Zizzo’s, I met Josh Priester who was the Associate Director of Track and Field at UCSB at the time.  Josh invited me to be on the board of his new non-profit he founded called the Women’s Athletic Performance Foundation.  I went to work helping him find housing for his athletes who were moving into town to train for the next Olympics and I was also able to give a job to one of the athletes.  In exchange for my help, Josh offered to coach me in the high jump.  For strength training, I found Peter Blumert, a strength coach and personal trainer at Prevail Conditioning who has experience working with elite athletes and is working with the WAPF athletes.

My foundation is set, I just have to do the work and stay healthy!  I am thankful to my husband and kids who are so supportive of my efforts and allow me the time to chase my dream.  My husband is my biggest fan and I am the luckiest woman to have him at my side.

This season, on February 23rd, I competed in a meet at Carpenteria High School along with the WAPF girls and I was able to get over 5′.  I was very happy with this early season mark because I have yet to have a lot of jump training under my belt.  And, my strength training is just getting started as we are working on creating a strong foundation and haven’t started to load the weights on yet.

My next meet is the Santa Barbara Relays on March 15th at Santa Barbara City College.  I am hoping to surpass my season best and be taking attempts at 5’2″ or higher.  This track meet holds many memories for me as I competed here many times in my past when I ran track for Los Angeles Valley College back in the early ’80s.  Not to mention that there are only about two meets a year in my own backyard so it is nice to stay at home.

It is challenging running three businesses (Zizzo’s, McDonald Fitness and Beachbody), caring for a family of 5, and training to be one of the best “older” ahtletes in the world and remain sane.  My mom says I have always been the way I am which is “trying to do too much”.  But, I just love challenges and to see what my body and mind can do.  I don’t see myself slowing down any time soon. I must say, that I am having the time of my life -personal training and being a Beachbody coach is the best job I have ever had because it doesn’t seem like a job when you are having fun and helping people along the way.

This weekend, I have had to train out-of-town in Ontario, CA because this weekend it is all about Chiara and her Cal State Los Angeles women’s basketball team.  They defeated the # 1 team in the CCAA conference last night (Chico State) and play in the conference championship game tonight against San Diego.  Just as I drove Chiara to and from Los Angeles and Santa Barbara to her elite travel team practices 3 times per week for 5 months to chase her goal of playing at the college level,  I didn’t hesitate to make the three hour drive to watch her first-ever college championship game – I wouldn’t miss it for the world!