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Houston's Amanda Sjoden competing in international triathlon

Competing against athletes from across the world wasn't something she saw coming, but in two years her athletic career has taken off.
Amanda Sjoden

Competing against athletes from across the world wasn't something she saw coming.

Houston-born Amanda Sjoden started her athletic career just two years ago, and was invited to the world-qualifiers in June last year after running only four races.

Now she's training for her eighth race: the World Triathlon Grand Finals in Edmonton, organized by the International Triathlon Union.

She will take on the olympic-level race September 1, swimming 1.5 kilometres, biking 40 kilometres, and running 10 kilometres against athletes from across the world.

Asked how she feels gearing up to the race, Amanda said it's unreal.

"It's neat to represent your country. You feel proud."

Getting her Canada jersey was a big motivation to train really hard, she said.

"You want to do your country proud… the world is watching, like literally the world is watching."

Amanda gets up at 4:30 a.m. "at the latest" to train.

Her husband Tristan has become her trainer, since he "grew up in the race world," competing in cross country skiing when he was a boy in Houston.

Amanda's training schedule cycles between 6 and 12 hours of training per week, with each day bringing something different. One day she does an hour run and sprints, the next day a two-hour bike, and the next an hour swim and an hour run.

"I like triathlon because every day I get to do something new," Amanda said.

Finishing her training by 7 a.m., Amanda steps out of her athletic shoes and into her Mom and teacher shoes.

She substitute teaches almost every day at different classes and different schools, and spends the rest of her time with her family.

With an eight-year-old son and daughters six and four, Amanda is busy, and says she's taking her athletics one step at a time.

"I have three kids too, so I'm still keeping it fun. It's my way to stay motivated… I want to see where it takes me, and hopefully show my kids what hard work can do," she said.

Amanda has always been active, and used to train by pulling her kids in her bike or running with a stroller to the water park or other activities that her kids could enjoy. One time she did a 24 kilometre run to bring her kids to the Spray Park in Lethbridge where she lived.

"I'd run them all the way there, they'd play there, and then I'd run all the way home," she said.

Amanda says her first race was a Mothers Day present from her husband Tristan. He told her he signed her up for a race because she always talked about competing.

"My husband is definitely the big support," she said when talking about worlds coming up. Her kids have also been great little supporters, shouting "Go Mommy, go!" from the side while she trains in the front yard.

"They're so supportive. They come around with me everywhere."

"I wouldn't have been able to do it without them," she said.