We had the good fortune of connecting with GRACE THEK and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi GRACE, what role has risk played in your life or career?
As a professional athlete, I am constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible mentally and physically. Everyday I am stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying to get the most from myself in training and racing and life

Last year I quit my job as a physical therapist to pursue triathlon full time and with that came risks & sacrifices but on the flip side it was an opportunity to spend more time focusing on my goals as a triathlete. I believe that to grow in your career and personally that you need to step out of your comfort zone and learn to become “comfortable with being uncomfortable”

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Background— first started racing triathlons in 2015. I was initially a college runner at Providence College (xc/track) but it was a string of injuries that lead me to the sport of triathlon after graduation. I spent my injured times cross training and liked the variety of the training (swim, bike, run) so thought I’d give it a crack.

It took a lot of discipline, hard work, sacrifices to get to where I am today. I first started training while I was studying full time to be a physical therapist. Lots of early mornings and late nights. It wasn’t until I graduated from physical therapy school that I really focused more time on my triathlons & took up my professional card.

There are challenges that come with being a professional athlete— life on the road and away from home & financial stress but then positives outweigh the negatives. I get to do what I love everyday, travel the world, meet amazing people & push myself physically & mentally to see what I can achieve!
I think the major take home would be that challenges can open the door to new opportunities. For me injuries plagued my running career and instead of dwelling on that negative, the silver lining is that it lead me to triathlons & opened the door to opportunities I would never have had! And while it can be hard to see the silver linings of certain challenges/negative experience at the time, there is always something positive that can be taken from it

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Flagstaff, Arizona I loved my time in flagstaff and there is so much to explore in the town & surrounding areas.
Day trips to Sedona & the Grand Canyon would be musts! In Sedona- walking the downtown Main Street, lunch overlooking the red rocks & swimming in the river
In Flagstaff, we would hike Humpreys peak, standup paddle board in Lake Mary, ride up Snowbowl, wander the downtown shops, sip coffee at Firecreek coffee company or Macy’s, eat breakfast bagels from Biffs Bagels & cashew pesto pizza from Fratellis to name a few things!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
While triathlon is seen as an individual sport, it takes a team to get to the start line

I couldn’t do it without the help from all my teammates—
My family for being my number 1 fans from day 1
My coaches over the years for their guidance, mentorship & support
My partner, Zach, for being my rock
My sponsors & partners for believing & supporting me on this journey

Instagram: @gracethek

Image Credits
Race photo (red challenge banner)— Challenge St Polten Other 2 race photos— Patrick Legge Running selfie- no credit Bike/backdrop photo- Matthew McElroy

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