Nov. 17, 2020

04 - Health First Approach to Recovery - Sonja Weick

04 - Health First Approach to Recovery - Sonja Weick

Health First Approach to Recovery

Summary:

Sonja Wieck (w-ick) underwent a life transformation taking her from an average stay-at-home mom to a World-Class Ironman triathlete. 

She is a 6x Kona Ironman World Championship Qualifier, came in 2nd place at Kona Ironman World Female 35-39 age group (2015), was named the Ironman All World Female 35-39 Champion (2013), Tokyo’s Joe’s Athlete of the Month (2014). 

 

She can be seen leading her group of 3 men on Team Iron Cowboy on Mark Burnett’s new competition show “World’s Toughest Race Eco-Challenge Fiji” hosted by Bear Grylls premiered on Amazon Prime on August 14, 2020. (If you haven’t watched this yet. You need to) She now has a podcast of her own sharing the untold stories of the athletes that participated in that event.  (Tales of Toughness)

 

And if that’s not all she’s also an Ultramarathoner, she’s ran the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in 12 hours, was named the Moab 100 mile Female Champion and 2nd overall (2010) and believe me there are more achievements but I don’t want to keep you waiting for our conversation any longer! We chat about how she has grown up fearless, her health first approach to recovery, her favorite tools for recovery and much much more. 

Sonja Weick's Information:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/gosonja/

Website: https://gosonja.com/

Tales of Toughness Podcast: https://gosonja.com/podcast

 

Jase Kraft's Information:

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jaecheese

Website: https://scienceofsportsrecovery.com

Email: jase@scienceofsportsrecovery.com

 

Jase Kraft: [00:02:18] Hey Sonja, it's great to have you on the podcast.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:02:32] Hey, Jase, I'm so, so stoke that you asked me to. Come on. I'm excited to be here. I'm honored and thankful. So thanks for having me.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:02:39] Awesome wow that. That's quite the range of emotions. So I'm excited. I'm excited to talk to somebody that I watch for ten episodes on a season. That and honestly, I had to borrow somebody else's Amazon Prime because I don't have it. But I was like, I need to see this show. So but I wanted to start off this conversation kind of taking you back to pre athletics for you in your in your podcast that you have tales of toughness. You talk about that you got into running because you were afraid of balls and just kind of love the freedom that I got to you. But what made you, like, go out on that first run? I mean, that's not something that.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:03:29] Oh, my gosh. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:03:30] I'm going to go run.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:03:32] I know it's. Gosh, yes. You know, I think since I've been little, what's always got me, what's always been in my blood and in my DNA is adventure. I remember even being like a little kid and we had property and I was always adventuring around the property and climbing all the trees and I had a dog in tow. And so there was this sense of exploration that's always been deep inside of my little heart. And I remember. In middle schools trying to run the mile and seeing that I was the fastest girl in the school and kind of getting a little bit of like a school attitude about it, and then I remember one day thinking, you know what, I'm gonna I think runners train like they go and they run. And I took off from my house and I ran and I ran and I ran. And I think later I went and had my mom drive it and I had run six miles all around the neighborhood. But all I remember was I was really tired. That was exhausting. But I got so far from home because you get like three miles from home when you're in middle school and you think you're on another planet. And that sense of having, like, my own two little feet get me that far from home and then being able to run all the way back and have this sense of, oh, my gosh, I just did this like mini-adventure that lit up something inside me. So I think I always realized what running could do for me from an adventure point of view, less from, you know, I could be really fast at something short distance or which I did have to do in high school. But yeah, the exploration, the getting out with other people, and trying to go get in a little bit of trouble during cross-country practice like that was really big for me in high school. I loved our adventure runs. I didn't like our track workouts as much as I loved us going out and getting lost a little bit. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:05:20] That so am I hearing this right that your first, like, actual training run, that you're like, I'm just going to go out and run a six miles in middle school?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:05:29] I was in the seventh grade.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:05:33] That explains a lot.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:05:35] Solo. I just kept running. And I remember I remember sort of like every turn I would make and rode, I would run down thinking, like, should I turn around? Like, I'm really far from home? And then I'd be like one more road because I still knew where I was and like, I still know where I am. I still know I can get my cell phones. I'm going to do like one more road. And then when my mom got home from work, I was like, we need to go drive my runs so we could, like, hit the odometer and see how far my mom just kept driving. My mom was like, oh, my goodness,

 

Jase Kraft: [00:06:07] That's awesome. Did your mom think you're crazy at that point? Or,

 

Sonja Weick: [00:06:12] You know, I remember her being, like, definitely not negative. She never put that fear in me of like you went so far, you know, which we often do with women. We default to this kind of like safety measure, safety place. And my mom never did that with me. She always applauded my exploration and my enthusiasm. So I remember her just being really positive about it. But she would ride her bike with me through high school when I would go on my long runs. And she always build it as like, oh, I need some exercise, too. So she come in right next to me. But I know probably in her heart now that I'm a mother, I know she was like, oh yeah, I'm going to go ride my bike with her.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:06:50] You can run a long ways. I'm going to make sure you come home.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:06:53] Yeah, I better accompany you. But I never got this. I never got the kind of normal female fear programming. I don't think compared to a lot of other women, I still feel very safe going out into the back country alone. I feel safe training and exercising alone on my bike, swimming. I swim open water alone in the bay, you know. So I've never kind of had that fear, that female fear tactic that I know a lot of women have to to fight and accommodate for.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:07:27] Did you grow up in a small town, large town or whatnot?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:07:32] Yeah, I grew up in the town that I'm actually living in now. So from age 10 to 15, I lived in this little beach town called Los Osos, California, on the coast, kind of halfway between San Francisco and L.A., maybe like two hours north of Santa Barbara and like three hours south of Monterey. So it's just kind of tucked in, very quiet. There's fourteen thousand people in this town. There were fourteen thousand people when I was ten. And there's fourteen thousand people now that I'm forty. It hasn't changed. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:08:01] A lot of Tourists or not really? 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:08:03] No. Most tourists are in Morvai or they're in Paso Robles drinking wine, but very few tourists like find their way to Los Osos. So so we have just this quiet little hamlet here with a lot of families and it's safe. But we've got a big state park next to us and we've got the water. We live kind of at the base of this big Morro Bay, this Back Bay. So we have water. We have a big old sand spit that you can go explore and this big state park. And it's just a beautiful location to raise a family. It's a beautiful location to grow up. And it's why so many people have trouble leaving here. And you end up really house four because the real estate's really expensive, but there's not a lot of jobs to support, you know, those income levels. So we have a lot of retirees that are moving in and a lot of young families. It's an interesting dynamic right now. But I love being in a place where I can head out the front door and literally within a mile and a half. I'm in the country, I'm running up a mountain and I'm on single track trail, and there's a huge ocean view next to me, I think, where you live and as an endurance athlete, your surroundings are so much a part of your daily life that where you live really, really matters.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:09:15] One hundred percent, I think, you know, coming from a small town myself that you talked about, like you didn't get that fear tactic, like a lot of women, I think that comes from, you know, the environment that you're grown up to. And it seems that you were growing up and kind of this very safe, I'll be it maybe a little bit naive on your part at that time. But overall, you'll hear about the stories of somebody getting shot down the street or what have you. And I'm sure. 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:09:49] That's so true.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:09:49] That's helped to become that kind of adventure that you know, that you are now. Because if you don't. 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:09:57] I think you're spot on,

 

Jase Kraft: [00:09:59] That would be hard to develop when you're going overnight in a jungle and climbing up and down waterfalls. I mean, I would imagine you have some sort of nerve to do that.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:10:12] It's it's yeah. It's interesting you bring that up. I think that is a definite piece of it. When I was 15, we moved to San Jose, a big city in the Bay Area. And I remember there being a culture shock for me there. And I remember kind of internalizing that sensation of, oh, I'm not in my safe community. At one of the things my mom and I always laughed about was, you know, back in Los Osos, if all the cops, if all the cops came blaring down the street, you just had to go turn on the news and you could find out what was going on. And then we'd moved to San Jose and we'd see all these cops and all this like hullabaloo. And we go turn on the news and it would never even be reported on. You know, there's so much crime happening, not that it was even a high crime area, but just in a big city, lots of crime happens. That doesn't make the news. But in our little town, you know, we would know what was going on all the time. And I remember that being like, oh, I'm not in a in a small town anymore. And there was a lot more police presence. And also, when you're out in the back country, who you run into makes a big difference. I think, as a woman is you're constantly looking, OK, who am I running into? Is that is it a nice friendly couple with a dog? Is it a solo man? And sort of the dynamic of who you start running into definitely varies. When you're in a bigger city, you start running into people that seem more unfamiliar and you kind of question a little bit more. And that's just natural when you have a bigger community of people using outdoor space. And also, I think has contributed to, you know, how marginalized communities don't always feel safe out in the back country either, because they're they're not seeing people that are like them out there very often. And I can understand that as a woman and just changing sort of cultural areas. And so, yeah, we've got to we have some work to do. But, yeah, I think that that small town feel did help me explore a lot more safely as a woman. And I'm sure most of the people around town recognize me or knew who I was when I was out trying to get into trouble anyway. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:12:13] Runner girl again.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:12:17] Where is she headed?

 

Jase Kraft: [00:12:21] So San Jose, is that where you went to college then?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:12:25] That's where she went finish out high school just for a year and three quarters. And then I went to UC San Diego for college and I tried to run their their D to school, D to non scholarship. And I made it I made it through my freshman year and I did not drive at all in the college running environment. I, I like to party and I stayed up really late. I had enough trouble making it to my classes. And then I had suddenly we're going from like a high school running environment which was really nurturing. And I was had really fantastic high school coaches went to a college program. There's a lot more responsibility. There's Doubleday's, you got to be in the gym doing your strength training. And I was like, what is all of this? I didn't really thrive in that environment. It was a lot a lot of structure and rigidity, which I've never thrived in that sort of environment. And so sophomore year, I continue to try to be a runner. But I was getting I was worse than I was in high school and college. My times were worse. My training was worse. My happiness was definitely worse. And so most of the way through track season, my sophomore year, I knew, like, this is it, I'm not going to be doing this anymore. And I was getting more adventurous. I was doing some backpacking and I had gotten into rock climbing a little bit. And so I knew there was like another place for me that I could go I could get back to that sense of adventure and I could drop the whole rigidity of that formal collegiate running program. And that was definitely the right move for me. Like all the people who I ran with in college, only one of them still runs. Because they got so burned out, but the two of us that still run weren't very great in college and now we do a lot of adventure. So I think kind of shutting down college is what enabled me to find sport again later in life and really, like, love it and adopted and double down on.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:14:16] Yeah, I it's interesting you brought that up like the better athletes aren't running now. I totally experience that. We were talking just before this and I had 12 years of 12 years of running like for a time, you know, fast and yet I got good. But man was I burnt out afterwards and took me a year to like, oh, now I like training again, you know? And I wonder for you, it seems like your passion kind of flies into the maybe not so structured like training or time chasing, but more of like let's see what the body can do as far as endurance goes. Is that like what you found?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:15:09] I think I think I got there eventually, but I took the long way. I mean, being sort of a college dropout runner always left a chip on my shoulder. That failure to thrive because I loved running in high school, I loved the camaraderie, I loved the racing and and then getting to college and really failing to thrive and kind of almost disappearing into the woods and into the outdoors as something that just took all the pressure off because I wasn't succeeding, you know, and. And at what point was I just banging my head against the wall? And it was kind of like, well, I can just go out and have I can just go have fun instead of banging my head against the wall. But I always still had that chip on my shoulder of, like, yeah, I didn't make it. I didn't cut it. I didn't I didn't drive, you know, and and that was hard on my my ego, to be honest. And and so I ended up taking a break from sport and I finished out college. I went to graduate school and my husband got married, had my daughter and I was largely not active. I would hike and sometimes backpack and climb for ten years. So it was like outdoorsy, but nothing structured, no racing or anything. And slowly through that process sort of lost myself. Definitely having my daughter I lost I gained a lot of weight and just kind of got farther and farther away from definitely someone who ran in college, but also even the adventurous like seeker that I was. So when I finally had my sort of coming to moment where I realized, oh, my gosh, like you are on a trajectory that is so far off of who you self identify as, you need to find that girl again. And I had had a baby that coming back. I launched like fully into triathlon and Ironman because I finally two thousand and seven. So I had a.. In twenty five in November. And then about November, October of 2006 was when I was like, who are you? What are you doing? You're a mess. And I just looked in the mirror. I was like, You think you're sporty, you think you're adventurous. Where where she where she go, she's not looking back. And that next day I went and went down to the garage and I pulled out my husband's mountain bike and he's six foot four, so I had to drop the seat all the way down to I'm five foot six. But it was a bike. It was only bike we had in the garage. And I, I couldn't run. I was too heavy to run. I couldn't I couldn't run. And so I put the the the seat down on the mountain bike. And I used REI dividend because we bought lots of things that we just didn't use them. So used our dividend to buy a trailer that I could put on Annie. And I remember that first moment in that first ride that I took off with her in the trailer. She was about a year old. And we when we found a bike path and we rode the bike path and we went to the park and we pushed her in the swing and I came back to the house like an hour and a half later. And I had this massive adventure with Annie. And I was like, oh, there's that girl. Like, there she is. That's the girl. That's who I want to be. And that started to light the fire. And so from that, it just my little addictive personality started extending the bike rides and then got the wheels that you could pop on the trailer and push it. And I started like walking with her. And then I started jogging and then I signed up for a 5k. And so it was like this whole after Annie was this whole reemergence of Sonia as an athlete, Sonia as an adventure, Sonia as an explorer. But this time I had Annie in tow. Yeah. And and that was that was when I really got into endurance sports. Yes. For the adventure. But a lot too for just. Sense of self and finding. Oh, my gosh, I'm good at...

Transcript

Jase Kraft: [00:02:18] Hey Sonja, it's great to have you on the podcast.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:02:32] Hey, Jase, I'm so, so stoke that you asked me to. Come on. I'm excited to be here. I'm honored and thankful. So thanks for having me.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:02:39] Awesome wow that. That's quite the range of emotions. So I'm excited. I'm excited to talk to somebody that I watch for ten episodes on a season. That and honestly, I had to borrow somebody else's Amazon Prime because I don't have it. But I was like, I need to see this show. So but I wanted to start off this conversation kind of taking you back to pre athletics for you in your in your podcast that you have tales of toughness. You talk about that you got into running because you were afraid of balls and just kind of love the freedom that I got to you. But what made you, like, go out on that first run? I mean, that's not something that.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:03:29] Oh, my gosh. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:03:30] I'm going to go run.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:03:32] I know it's. Gosh, yes. You know, I think since I've been little, what's always got me, what's always been in my blood and in my DNA is adventure. I remember even being like a little kid and we had property and I was always adventuring around the property and climbing all the trees and I had a dog in tow. And so there was this sense of exploration that's always been deep inside of my little heart. And I remember. In middle schools trying to run the mile and seeing that I was the fastest girl in the school and kind of getting a little bit of like a school attitude about it, and then I remember one day thinking, you know what, I'm gonna I think runners train like they go and they run. And I took off from my house and I ran and I ran and I ran. And I think later I went and had my mom drive it and I had run six miles all around the neighborhood. But all I remember was I was really tired. That was exhausting. But I got so far from home because you get like three miles from home when you're in middle school and you think you're on another planet. And that sense of having, like, my own two little feet get me that far from home and then being able to run all the way back and have this sense of, oh, my gosh, I just did this like mini-adventure that lit up something inside me. So I think I always realized what running could do for me from an adventure point of view, less from, you know, I could be really fast at something short distance or which I did have to do in high school. But yeah, the exploration, the getting out with other people, and trying to go get in a little bit of trouble during cross-country practice like that was really big for me in high school. I loved our adventure runs. I didn't like our track workouts as much as I loved us going out and getting lost a little bit. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:05:20] That so am I hearing this right that your first, like, actual training run, that you're like, I'm just going to go out and run a six miles in middle school?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:05:29] I was in the seventh grade.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:05:33] That explains a lot.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:05:35] Solo. I just kept running. And I remember I remember sort of like every turn I would make and rode, I would run down thinking, like, should I turn around? Like, I'm really far from home? And then I'd be like one more road because I still knew where I was and like, I still know where I am. I still know I can get my cell phones. I'm going to do like one more road. And then when my mom got home from work, I was like, we need to go drive my runs so we could, like, hit the odometer and see how far my mom just kept driving. My mom was like, oh, my goodness,

 

Jase Kraft: [00:06:07] That's awesome. Did your mom think you're crazy at that point? Or,

 

Sonja Weick: [00:06:12] You know, I remember her being, like, definitely not negative. She never put that fear in me of like you went so far, you know, which we often do with women. We default to this kind of like safety measure, safety place. And my mom never did that with me. She always applauded my exploration and my enthusiasm. So I remember her just being really positive about it. But she would ride her bike with me through high school when I would go on my long runs. And she always build it as like, oh, I need some exercise, too. So she come in right next to me. But I know probably in her heart now that I'm a mother, I know she was like, oh yeah, I'm going to go ride my bike with her.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:06:50] You can run a long ways. I'm going to make sure you come home.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:06:53] Yeah, I better accompany you. But I never got this. I never got the kind of normal female fear programming. I don't think compared to a lot of other women, I still feel very safe going out into the back country alone. I feel safe training and exercising alone on my bike, swimming. I swim open water alone in the bay, you know. So I've never kind of had that fear, that female fear tactic that I know a lot of women have to to fight and accommodate for.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:07:27] Did you grow up in a small town, large town or whatnot?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:07:32] Yeah, I grew up in the town that I'm actually living in now. So from age 10 to 15, I lived in this little beach town called Los Osos, California, on the coast, kind of halfway between San Francisco and L.A., maybe like two hours north of Santa Barbara and like three hours south of Monterey. So it's just kind of tucked in, very quiet. There's fourteen thousand people in this town. There were fourteen thousand people when I was ten. And there's fourteen thousand people now that I'm forty. It hasn't changed. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:08:01] A lot of Tourists or not really? 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:08:03] No. Most tourists are in Morvai or they're in Paso Robles drinking wine, but very few tourists like find their way to Los Osos. So so we have just this quiet little hamlet here with a lot of families and it's safe. But we've got a big state park next to us and we've got the water. We live kind of at the base of this big Morro Bay, this Back Bay. So we have water. We have a big old sand spit that you can go explore and this big state park. And it's just a beautiful location to raise a family. It's a beautiful location to grow up. And it's why so many people have trouble leaving here. And you end up really house four because the real estate's really expensive, but there's not a lot of jobs to support, you know, those income levels. So we have a lot of retirees that are moving in and a lot of young families. It's an interesting dynamic right now. But I love being in a place where I can head out the front door and literally within a mile and a half. I'm in the country, I'm running up a mountain and I'm on single track trail, and there's a huge ocean view next to me, I think, where you live and as an endurance athlete, your surroundings are so much a part of your daily life that where you live really, really matters.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:09:15] One hundred percent, I think, you know, coming from a small town myself that you talked about, like you didn't get that fear tactic, like a lot of women, I think that comes from, you know, the environment that you're grown up to. And it seems that you were growing up and kind of this very safe, I'll be it maybe a little bit naive on your part at that time. But overall, you'll hear about the stories of somebody getting shot down the street or what have you. And I'm sure. 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:09:49] That's so true.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:09:49] That's helped to become that kind of adventure that you know, that you are now. Because if you don't. 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:09:57] I think you're spot on,

 

Jase Kraft: [00:09:59] That would be hard to develop when you're going overnight in a jungle and climbing up and down waterfalls. I mean, I would imagine you have some sort of nerve to do that.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:10:12] It's it's yeah. It's interesting you bring that up. I think that is a definite piece of it. When I was 15, we moved to San Jose, a big city in the Bay Area. And I remember there being a culture shock for me there. And I remember kind of internalizing that sensation of, oh, I'm not in my safe community. At one of the things my mom and I always laughed about was, you know, back in Los Osos, if all the cops, if all the cops came blaring down the street, you just had to go turn on the news and you could find out what was going on. And then we'd moved to San Jose and we'd see all these cops and all this like hullabaloo. And we go turn on the news and it would never even be reported on. You know, there's so much crime happening, not that it was even a high crime area, but just in a big city, lots of crime happens. That doesn't make the news. But in our little town, you know, we would know what was going on all the time. And I remember that being like, oh, I'm not in a in a small town anymore. And there was a lot more police presence. And also, when you're out in the back country, who you run into makes a big difference. I think, as a woman is you're constantly looking, OK, who am I running into? Is that is it a nice friendly couple with a dog? Is it a solo man? And sort of the dynamic of who you start running into definitely varies. When you're in a bigger city, you start running into people that seem more unfamiliar and you kind of question a little bit more. And that's just natural when you have a bigger community of people using outdoor space. And also, I think has contributed to, you know, how marginalized communities don't always feel safe out in the back country either, because they're they're not seeing people that are like them out there very often. And I can understand that as a woman and just changing sort of cultural areas. And so, yeah, we've got to we have some work to do. But, yeah, I think that that small town feel did help me explore a lot more safely as a woman. And I'm sure most of the people around town recognize me or knew who I was when I was out trying to get into trouble anyway. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:12:13] Runner girl again.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:12:17] Where is she headed?

 

Jase Kraft: [00:12:21] So San Jose, is that where you went to college then?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:12:25] That's where she went finish out high school just for a year and three quarters. And then I went to UC San Diego for college and I tried to run their their D to school, D to non scholarship. And I made it I made it through my freshman year and I did not drive at all in the college running environment. I, I like to party and I stayed up really late. I had enough trouble making it to my classes. And then I had suddenly we're going from like a high school running environment which was really nurturing. And I was had really fantastic high school coaches went to a college program. There's a lot more responsibility. There's Doubleday's, you got to be in the gym doing your strength training. And I was like, what is all of this? I didn't really thrive in that environment. It was a lot a lot of structure and rigidity, which I've never thrived in that sort of environment. And so sophomore year, I continue to try to be a runner. But I was getting I was worse than I was in high school and college. My times were worse. My training was worse. My happiness was definitely worse. And so most of the way through track season, my sophomore year, I knew, like, this is it, I'm not going to be doing this anymore. And I was getting more adventurous. I was doing some backpacking and I had gotten into rock climbing a little bit. And so I knew there was like another place for me that I could go I could get back to that sense of adventure and I could drop the whole rigidity of that formal collegiate running program. And that was definitely the right move for me. Like all the people who I ran with in college, only one of them still runs. Because they got so burned out, but the two of us that still run weren't very great in college and now we do a lot of adventure. So I think kind of shutting down college is what enabled me to find sport again later in life and really, like, love it and adopted and double down on.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:14:16] Yeah, I it's interesting you brought that up like the better athletes aren't running now. I totally experience that. We were talking just before this and I had 12 years of 12 years of running like for a time, you know, fast and yet I got good. But man was I burnt out afterwards and took me a year to like, oh, now I like training again, you know? And I wonder for you, it seems like your passion kind of flies into the maybe not so structured like training or time chasing, but more of like let's see what the body can do as far as endurance goes. Is that like what you found?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:15:09] I think I think I got there eventually, but I took the long way. I mean, being sort of a college dropout runner always left a chip on my shoulder. That failure to thrive because I loved running in high school, I loved the camaraderie, I loved the racing and and then getting to college and really failing to thrive and kind of almost disappearing into the woods and into the outdoors as something that just took all the pressure off because I wasn't succeeding, you know, and. And at what point was I just banging my head against the wall? And it was kind of like, well, I can just go out and have I can just go have fun instead of banging my head against the wall. But I always still had that chip on my shoulder of, like, yeah, I didn't make it. I didn't cut it. I didn't I didn't drive, you know, and and that was hard on my my ego, to be honest. And and so I ended up taking a break from sport and I finished out college. I went to graduate school and my husband got married, had my daughter and I was largely not active. I would hike and sometimes backpack and climb for ten years. So it was like outdoorsy, but nothing structured, no racing or anything. And slowly through that process sort of lost myself. Definitely having my daughter I lost I gained a lot of weight and just kind of got farther and farther away from definitely someone who ran in college, but also even the adventurous like seeker that I was. So when I finally had my sort of coming to moment where I realized, oh, my gosh, like you are on a trajectory that is so far off of who you self identify as, you need to find that girl again. And I had had a baby that coming back. I launched like fully into triathlon and Ironman because I finally two thousand and seven. So I had a.. In twenty five in November. And then about November, October of 2006 was when I was like, who are you? What are you doing? You're a mess. And I just looked in the mirror. I was like, You think you're sporty, you think you're adventurous. Where where she where she go, she's not looking back. And that next day I went and went down to the garage and I pulled out my husband's mountain bike and he's six foot four, so I had to drop the seat all the way down to I'm five foot six. But it was a bike. It was only bike we had in the garage. And I, I couldn't run. I was too heavy to run. I couldn't I couldn't run. And so I put the the the seat down on the mountain bike. And I used REI dividend because we bought lots of things that we just didn't use them. So used our dividend to buy a trailer that I could put on Annie. And I remember that first moment in that first ride that I took off with her in the trailer. She was about a year old. And we when we found a bike path and we rode the bike path and we went to the park and we pushed her in the swing and I came back to the house like an hour and a half later. And I had this massive adventure with Annie. And I was like, oh, there's that girl. Like, there she is. That's the girl. That's who I want to be. And that started to light the fire. And so from that, it just my little addictive personality started extending the bike rides and then got the wheels that you could pop on the trailer and push it. And I started like walking with her. And then I started jogging and then I signed up for a 5k. And so it was like this whole after Annie was this whole reemergence of Sonia as an athlete, Sonia as an adventure, Sonia as an explorer. But this time I had Annie in tow. Yeah. And and that was that was when I really got into endurance sports. Yes. For the adventure. But a lot too for just. Sense of self and finding. Oh, my gosh, I'm good at something again,

 

Jase Kraft: [00:19:03] So I want to talk to you about your identity through that process. But I would like to point out to the listeners, just to make sure they caught this first bike ride, that if I'd done it a long time on a bike that was way too big with 90 minutes, like, does it adventure your first your first ever run six miles and then your first bike ride? Yeah, incredible. So but we go to mindset because in sport, mindset is a is a huge deal. And I know it's something that you've had to develop over your races and stuff. And we'll talk a little bit more about this later. But I want to know when you're up to twenty six, when you had that realization of I'm not who I want to be. Did you still identify, like self talk or even telling others, like, yeah, I'm an athlete and I do this, that or was it like you were negative talking to yourself? and?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:20:11] yeah, I definitely it was like it was almost like a hidden identity that you were ashamed and that I remember feeling ashamed about, like I was an imposter or I was opposer during that time because I, I thought of myself as adventurous. But I remember thinking, but you aren't even if you told somebody that you were, that would be a lie. And so there was a bit of shame around who I used to be instead of just being like, yeah, I used to be an athlete, I used to be a runner. I used to be a climber out in the air. It was it was there was so much shame around the time when I was gaining weight and trying to figure out how to be a mother because I wasn't doing those things. And so it had an interesting mindset, thing of how negative we can be on ourselves and how quickly we can lose our identity and shame ourselves for that loss of identity. You're not a runner anymore. And I hear from people so often. Oh, I'm not a runner like you like, dude, we all run know we're runners, but how quickly we judge. Well, I haven't you know, I haven't run in a year. I'm not a runner anymore. What is that like? Who cares? You know? Yeah, it doesn't it's not helpful, I guess. But I did I remember feeling that sense of shame that I just wasn't living up to my own expectations of myself. And that caused a lot cause me a lot of pain and probably hindered my ability to just double down and enjoy that time period of my life, which was pregnancy first year with little baby Annie. Instead of just really embracing that region. I do remember feeling like, oh, I'm just not who I used to be and I'm ashamed of that. And I'm getting out of shape. And, you know, I, I didn't really just embrace what was which. I think I do more now than I ever have.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:22:02] I know as you progressed in sports, you get to a certain level where you are in your sport, where if you would look back on yourself when you're just starting, it's like I wasn't really a runner. I wasn't really an athlete, you know, like a professional basketball player. I play basketball on occasion once a week. But a professional basketball player, wouldn't it call me a basketball player? Yeah, but I think we do, like you said, a disservice when we start labeling, like you have to be this this good to be in the club. You know, you have to be this good to be a runner, this good to be a basketball player for those that need sport as a healing type of process. And because I think the sport can be a stress relief to a lot of people. Which kind of brings me into the next section on talk to You about is the overall overall health of an athlete. And I know it's something that you really believe in, probably more so you you probably carry it out more when you're coaching somebody or being in a race for somebody else than maybe take care of yourself. But this health first concept that I think should be taken not lightly in in sport, and I don't mean health just as physical, like not getting injured, but also mental. So how did you kind of develop that model of health first?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:23:45] Yeah. Oh, gosh, yes. So so I ended up getting into Ironman Triathlon and Ironman racing shortly after my adventure, Annie. Auditions and pretty quickly into Ironman racing, my coach at the time who was also an advocate of health, first, he was like, Sonja, you have to coach. And I was always like, no, no, I don't know enough. I don't get it. He goes, No, no, no, no. Like, you have got to coach. You're great. I'll help you with the details. If you get stuck on details, I'll help you with the details. But you need to get out there and you need to start coaching others. And so I took on six athletes to start my very first year and I tried to pick the six most different athletes that I could, you know, fast developing, long distance, shorter distance men, women, family, single, tried to just get my little guinea pigs so that I could learn as quickly as possible different dynamics. And one of the things I just remember running into so quickly was how varied people's lives are in terms of their stress. Like everybody has good weeks and bad weeks. And as a newer coach, I'm trying to develop a program and I understand that programs need to build and they need to build in very structured ways so that people stay healthy. And so, you know, there's the structure of the program that you write on the paper. And then as I applied that structured program to these very varied athletes, I started to see how everything goes wrong all the time. Like, yeah, it's just the rare athlete who I can give them their weekly plan and they go do all their sessions and they report back to me and all is good. And then I can apply the next amount of load. It's like my kid got sick this week or I had to work overtime or I've got a business trip or a paper is due or I'm on my period. There were just all these crazy things. And so as I started to have these conversations with my coach at the time and and start to ask, like, how do we take in the whole athlete do? Is it my job to push the rigidity? Is it my job to say, you know what, you need to clear your life if you really are dedicated in your program, you've got and then that just didn't sit well with me. So I took a bit of a leap of faith. And I remember thinking, what if we just accept that the right amount of training for any individual is the amount of training that can fit beautifully and seamlessly into their life? And I was like, that's a different concept because everyone thinks we have to go big or go home. We've got to wake up early. We got to stay up late. Right. We've got to cram all these sessions in. The sessions are what mattered. And I was like, what if it's the balance that matters? And for every single athlete, that's a different balance. I've got Jen, who's a CEO, and she has 90 percent international travel. Sometimes we train five hours a week. Jen has competed in Kona. She's she's done Ironman World Championships. But if we can find the right balance of training stress for the athlete that fits into their already wild lives than what I found, what happens is slowly over time, the athlete will start to change their own life. The athlete will start to pull some of the things that pulled them away from training and they'll solve those they'll systematise or they're they'll create efficiencies inside their own life to have more space, to fit more training in organically. So rather than trying to shove this square peg in a round hole, I took this approach. We're going to find the right amount of training for you and that right amount. And then I had to have faith that they would be able to do this very structured, fixed race distance because it was mostly Ironman people were asking me to do. And so I had athletes that were training for Ironman twenty hours a week and I had athletes that were training for Ironman on eight hours a week. But that's what each of those athletes life could hold onto. And I just had to have faith that come race day, the eight hours a week person would still arrive uninjured with at least eight hours a week of training, the right training, and they would be healthy, happy, fired up and ready to go. And those athletes, they just started finishing races and then they started getting better at the races and they started having prayers. And I, I just sort of trusted this concept that if we prioritize health, if we prioritize their lives and their beautiful, complex, dynamic, exciting adult functioning lives, if we really prioritize that and then we put the training inside of that, that it wouldn't fail us. And now and I had a couple at a couple of times where I definitely got greedy, you know, I'd see an athlete that had an exorbitant amount of potential and I would push the program a little bit more than usual. And I learned very quickly it would backfire on both of us every single time and we would get sick or we would get burned out, or you just we couldn't fit that amount of training inside of that athlete while maintaining all the other balls that they had in the air. So that was where we started really focusing on mental health. And I call it mojo, like where my athlete's mojo was at, because when that mojo falls, we need to understand why. The one interesting part of it is that, you know, I believe all stress. In a person's life goes into their stress bucket, but training is its own source of stress. That's why we train. We want to stress the body so that adapts. And the thing with being an endurance athlete is that training stress is the only stress that gives you a physical adaptation for endurance sports. But life stress is still a stress. So it's an interesting Bucket situation where all the stress goes into the bucket, but only the training stress gives us the adaptation when it comes to Ironman marathons, you name it. So we we've got to balance that stress. But you can't you know, you can't force a family man with four kids in a corporate job to train 20 hours a week, even if 20 hours is going to help him win his age group at Kona. It doesn't matter. He's got to train when he can fit. And then through time when his wife sees that he just got off the podium or just didn't qualify and she's willing to make some sacrifices and he's willing to cut down a little time at work and we're willing to put a little bit more in all that has to happen very slowly, very organically, with everybody being on full board and very excited about it, because that's the only way it'll go smoothly.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:30:06] Like, if you push them too hard, it becomes a chore instead of something they enjoy.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:30:11] It backfires every time, every single time, whenever, you know, managing the athletes energy and mojo is by far the most important aspect of training and endurance athlete. If they have the fire in their belly and it's lit and it's stoked and it's and it's burning hot and mojos is flowing great, then they'll train fantastically with whatever hours you give them. But once that fire starts to deaden, once they get stressed, once they don't know how they're going to fit all the things inside. As a coach, if you want your athlete to be healthy long term, you have to chop sessions. You just got to chop, chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. You got it. And the athlete won't want to do that. They don't like to see those training sessions on their schedule get deleted or reversed or adapted or whatnot. So that's really the role of the coaches to save the athlete from themselves in that predicament and to come in and be the the wise body to say, oh, no big deal. Actually, you know, we're going to do it this way. This is how we're going to and there will be a sense of relief from the athlete. And when that sense of relief happens, they're little fire will get a little log on it and they'll start to burn a little bit hotter, like relief will build their motivation. So, yeah, it's it's that constant tweaking back and forth with an athlete to find that. Right. Special sauce amount of training that they can do day in, day out, week in, week out. He's a lot of time, takes a lot of care and TLC. But oh, you have such happy athletes on the other end.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:31:35] Yeah. I could always use my I'd rather have you one hundred percent healthy and 80 percent that then. Yeah. One hundred percent fit and broken.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:31:47] That's right. That is exactly it. And and really isn't that the metaphor for life. I mean don't we do sport to learn how to live our lives, you know. And so these things are transferable. It's the same we would we would rather see our loved ones, you know, a little bit more relaxed than overwhelmed. Yeah. Even if they didn't get as much done and the laundry's not done and the dishes are all dirty in the sink, we'd rather people feel happy and motivated and rejuvenated. So there's there's a balance there. And that's why we train. It's why we chase podiums. It's it's why we try to do this stuff because we're supposed to be better people to the people we love in this world. Yeah.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:32:28] At some point, if you push it too hard, you stop becoming that. You do. Yeah. I want to push back a little bit on your stress. All in one bucket does. Sometimes I agree that training, stressful in life is stressful enough. Life is stressful. Then you can't train as hard because there's that. But I also think there's mental stress and physical stress and one aspect where or even emotional stress or a job or career or a relationship could be mentally draining, emotionally draining. But then sport sometimes gives that back but takes on the physical. So how do you balance, like, OK, you're stressed, but maybe you could still push or how do you I mean how do you know what what to take off and.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:33:27] Yeah. What to apply back. I know it comes in getting to know the athlete and how they're how they're handling things. I will say in times of large amounts of relationship stress, every athlete so every athlete I've had has gone through divorce has been fitter than they've ever been in their entire life. There is something about major relationship changes with athletes that very often is a time when they will double down on themselves and training and it's a way for them to process. Because we all know when we're out there running and the effort isn't too hard, that there's a lot of time to let the mind wander and think and move through stuff. And I've definitely seen a lot of people reach a place of healing through getting some additional miles assigned while they're processing hard relationship stuff. And I think we just have to be really careful as athletes who are constantly seeking podiums and success to use that to tell ourselves that we're OK. We at some point have to develop inside of our selves the concept that we are OK without a run, without a ride, without a swim, without any of that. And I know through times of emotional turmoil that a lot of people can kind of double down on exercise as this way to continue to say, I'm OK, I'm OK, I'm OK. But at some and that is a fix for a while. But at some point we all have to face the we have to face our maker and realize that none of those things are actually needed for us to be OK. We're born OK. We will move forward, OK, if our legs don't work, we're OK. But yeah, the fittest, the fittest athletes ever get us when they're going through a really tough emotional relationship stuff as as I've found to be true. And I try to just roll with it, understand it's what the athlete needs right now. They need it for their mental health. And that's fine. We can do that. I usually find that they don't necessarily race super great, but they usually get pretty darn fit because they're just wanting to put in the miles. But that place you've got to go to when you're racing, you know, different people motivate in different ways. And depending on what the life event was, I think, you know, there's obviously a lot of different cases. But I've I've found with most of my athletes when race day comes and they've really got to put themselves on the line and they've got to be vulnerable and they have to really double down on themselves, that sometimes those emotional hurts and traumas they've been dealing with will then come out, know that that kind of they'll be walking the last half of the marathon. And and that's when you're like, yes, you are getting a divorce. You know, like you're right. You yes. For the last three months, you've been training very hard through it. And yes, it's sort of that moment of realization when they get to the really pointy end of trying to get the most out of themselves. That's when their brain is like you're getting a divorce.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:36:24] It takes so much focus. And I would imagine that your focus is just gone. Know? Yeah. Yeah, but yeah. So you talk about Iron Man and the amount of focus that you need in an Iron Man, let alone a five day, seven day event through the wilderness of Fiji. Yeah, I know. That's something that you've had to develop as an athlete. So talk to us. Like what kind of how do you develop that level of focus to be locked in for that long, long.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:37:05] I know. Yeah, the the interesting dynamic between Iron Man, which for me is like a ten hour race versus eco challenge, which is a ten day race, is is a really cool dynamic. So in Ironman, even though it's ten hours, which people would think is a really long time, it's still an amount of time that you can pretty much totally control you. There's a lot more, you know, a four minute race. There's probably even a little bit more out of your control because things are going to happen so fast and you have to be so reactionary. But with a ten hour race, you can really put together a plan and you can rehearse that plan. You can practice your nutrition, you can practice or pacing. You can know you're wanted. You can do the heart rate you're going to nail. You can have your set up on your bike like everything just so. And Ironman at the pointy end of the sport is really about getting these perfect performances. It's about execution to the nine, which is why triathletes get a bad rap for being super controlling. Well, that's what our sport breeds us to do. It breeds us to get out every single thing, like even if our the little nozzle on our bike tire tube is unscrewed. Right. Like a triathlete. We'll check that. That's screwed on tight. Like every little tiny detail is taken into account so that you can have this perfect execution of this perfect day. Adventure racing is the total opposite. It's literally running from disaster to disaster to disaster. There's no you don't even entertain the idea of having perfection. It's all about disaster planning and being ready for things to go wrong and how to manage things going wrong with three other people. So someone's always having a meltdown. Someone's always really tired. Someone's like pre bonke or Postbank, pretty much the entire race. So it's really this like I think of like Pigpen. It's like this. Rolling circus of a cyclone or something is kind of always not not right or not great, and then as the navigator, as our navigator, so I've got my compass in my hand and my map in my hand. Twenty four hours a day. So there is a focus that is just required by the sport for the navigator to stay found every moment of every day. And I think that was in some it was a very hard responsibility to have because obviously, you don't want to get the team lost. But it it took it to where I didn't have to worry about my focus because I knew where my focus was all the time was the boys could get more in their head and they could kind of think about life and what was going on. I didn't have the luxury to do that at any point in time. He was like, is that bend in the river the same degrees that my compass is the bend in the river was. And, you know, I'm looking around all the time going, OK, is that hill, this hill on the map, like, am I found? Am I found him? I found him. I found. So yeah, I think it was a very it was a different sensation for me and and rewarding. I really liked that contrast of not having to be perfect all the time in Ironman was five, eight years for me of just how can I have the most perfect race. Every single race execute like a boss. And this was way more free. It was like, oh, we're going to mess up. Oh, up again. Oh, we're lost. Oh, we're fouled, you know. And that was hard coming, coming as an Ironman athlete when things go right all the time created a lot of anxiety for me in the race of like I don't want to get lost, want get lost in the season. Adventure racers are like, oh, you're going to get lost. Like that's part of the sport. It's not about getting not getting lost. It's about knowing when it lost and knowing how to get unlost. That's just part of the sport. So to me, adventure racing is a lot more like life and at Ironman is a lot more like life lived on how perfectionist mentality, you know, let's control everything we can control so that nothing bad ever happens to us. That's Ironman and adventure racing is everything that is going to happen to us, how we handle it.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:41:08] But you didn't mention like you had one clear focus and the adventure race that helped you mentally stay in it. Yep. And if you relate that to live, it's kind of like, what's your main goal in life? I mean, where are you striving to? And then, yeah, there is going to be things that knock you off course, but how do you get back on? So I love the analogy, the adventure, things like life and I like unhealthy life.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:41:41] It's oh, it's so true. And I mean, it's a lesson, you know, coming out of Ironman and moving into adventure racing. It's kind of awesome and freeing. And again, like what, you know, how we do one thing is how we do everything. I truly believe that when we're in those times in our life, when we are really that Ironman time of my life as a really perfectionist time of life, and that extended to the rest of my life, because how we do one thing is how we are. Yeah, yeah.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:42:10] No, I, I encourage athletes, my my philosophy. We're kind of like preparing for a race and I'm more of a mile or 10k race there. But I we have a plan, we rehearse the plan mostly visually because you don't do mile races with your teammates and plan that you can't do that like you can parts of the Ironman by yourself. But it's a loose plan, like it's I want to be in this position at this marker. I don't care where I am in between, but I go, I want to be in top four and then I'm making my move at two hundred to go and gives you a lot of leeway to yeah. React like you said. But you have enough structure to keep your focus like you are on the compass you have at two hundred. I need to be there. And yeah I think that it's almost like check. Yeah.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:43:15] Like we raced from checkpoint to checkpoint in the race and so it's like how you get from checkpoint to checkpoint in in life or in sport, you have to have some freedom and flexibility for the the in between and how you make it to that checkpoint. I also think that's where the magic happens, is that freedom between checkpoints, because I think when we try to control the journey, like hyper control the journey, we lose the element of like surprise and intuition because there might be a move might be made or this might happen out of that that you need to be flexible and creative with. And if you hyper control the path from checkpoint to checkpoint, oftentimes you'll lose out on the. Kind of like gut intuition, magical opportunity that you need to grab a hold of, you know, nope, I'm I'm on the road like, oh, but you might need to get there's a shortcut or, you know, you you can't you can't stick stick the journey so hard. I like that concept of checkpoints and I like how you set up race plans with your athletes to kind of use that mentality. I think that's a successful one.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:44:22] You talk about how you're physically tough and obviously being adventurous, multiday racing Ironman athletes. And I know you did one year a crazy amount of races in a year. You're just like physically don't get injured often. So I'm curious to know what kind of recovery from a physical standpoint do you do in between races, in between workouts and stuff?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:44:56] Yeah, I love it. I love this question because I'm such a big fan of recovery. And like I said earlier in in this podcast, I've never been great with routine, which is I think really helped me out in the sense of I am not afraid of race days, but I usually only take them when I feel unmotivated.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:45:16] Ok,

 

Sonja Weick: [00:45:18] So I run a lot more based on energy because I think the first like the first reason that I have almost never gotten injured. There have been a few little things, but to all of whatever. Now we're looking at 15 years of endurance racing. I train for multiple years at over 30 hours a week of training. Injury free came from when I start to feel pretty worn down emotionally and physically, I just take a rest. I just don't train. I just throw everything that's on schedule, off the schedule. I call coach and I called uncle and I rest and I sleep. So I think that that first what I've seen a lot of athletes do is they get really hyperfocus into the schedule, even though they know they're exhausted and they know they've they're getting up and over that hump of like that they can come back from. But the schedule says, I've got to X, Y, Z, and like even sometimes when their coach will be like, oh, don't do it, they'll still be. But it's on the schedule and I'll do it.

 

[00:46:17] Yeah, but I guess so if I'm telling you not to do it like I like the schedule, does it have more power than I broke the schedule, you know, it's a guideline. So I was never afraid to take an unplanned rest day. And I think that was really important to any niggle that I got, anything that was like feeling off or I was just going too far over. I've got like an ankle that sometimes gets Jenky and the minute it was start acting up instead of pushing through, I always use that ankle as a litmus test for when I needed to rest like oh ankles getting Jenky. We need a rest day. So I would say like unstructured rest days where my number one recovery two is sleep when I train thirty hours a week I consistently got ten hours of sleep and like it was just mandatory and sleeping, like knowing when knowing and accepting your own personal sleep cycle. So you know, a lot of great athletes tend to be morning people. They tend to be able to get up early in the morning. And I'm not I'm a night owl. And when I really started seeing the benefits from my sleep started coming from when I just accepted the fact that I was a night owl and I was probably going to be up until midnight or 1:00 a.m., but I was still going to get me ten hours and I was still going to get in all my training once that cycle started, actually, my bedtime started creeping backwards, like once I embraced, OK, you can go to midnight every night if you want to just sleep till ten, then it was like, oh, eleven o'clock. I was tired. Oh ten o'clock I was tired. It started kind of backing up when I was like go to bed whenever. But once I started getting ten hours on my personal natural sleep cycle that was like waking up without an alarm, going to bed when I'm tired and I, you know, you're tired when you first go cold at night, when you're like watching TV and bingeing Netflix and you're like, where's the blanket? That's time to go to bed. That was what I thought was my key. Like that first sensation of cold got it was the blanket. Your body is literally dropping its core body temp and that's because it wants to go to sleep. So then you go to sleep, you shut off Netflix and go, then you'll wake up eight to ten hours without an alarm. So that's what I started doing. So sleep was like that. Second thing also a great litmus test for knowing how recovered I was, because if I was having night sweats or I was sleeping really hot, that was usually one of the first questions. When I was training a lot and living with my coach, I'd wake up in the morning and he would be like night sweats. Did you sleep? What did you sleep cold? Like, where were you at? Because we could always gauge how much of a load was building up in my body based on kind of my core body temp during the night. So monitoring that was really important.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:48:51] You if you had night sweats like your own, you're not cooling down far enough with the. That's a sign of not recovering.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:49:00] That's right, yep, yeah, so it's really a core body temp game when you're training 30 hours a week, it's getting that core body temp down. So when it stop, then it'll do it and actually at night. But when it stops doing that and it's still running through the night and you're starting to sleep hot or get night sweats, then, you know, you're building a bit. You're about to blow your building too much of a of the fatigue load. So, yeah, we would look at that. And then I would say the third thing that I embraced a ton was normal tech pants, normal tech boots. Those were when I trained 30 hours a week. I would say I was in them at least an hour a night, if not two. And there were some when we were getting to that edge where we were asking about the body sweats were kind of on that fine line. And that's, you know, maybe after having trained, maybe I would have done like a 30 hour week in a 30 hour week and a thirty five hour a week. And so I had a huge load. Sometimes I would sleep in them at night and put them on a lower setting and let them go all night just knowing it was going to continue to help flush my system. So I think those were sort of the three main modalities. Now, did we do everything else we could? Yes, like I at my height, you know, I had acupuncture once a week. I had a massage once a week. I lived with my eye sticks and foam rolled. But I was very careful, actually. I think people can stick in over foam roll. So I tried not to do that to ad infinitum. and then

 

Jase Kraft: [00:50:32]  What would you say is like the dangers of sticking?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:50:37] What I found was when things when I had already created a lot of muscle damage, I felt like getting on my phone roller and being really aggressive was not contributing to wellness. It was just like breaking me down more when what my body really needed was like it needed its core body temperature to go down and it needed to feel like I needed my blood to run through its flushing systems as many times as I could get it to. So I found like more of the passive recovery methods. I almost never did deep tissue massages either. I always did flushing massages, because I just I always felt like my body had everything it needed to heal if it could just keep its blood flowing and I could stay hydrated and and it could keep to run its own recovery systems. So I felt like most my recovery modalities were really helping my body do its normal job of flushing out and repairing things rather than like the extreme sticking or foam rolling and the deep tissue and really getting in and grinding on something that was already in a place of trauma. I was more like, let it be, give it a lot of TLC love on it. Like like flush it, give a lot of water, let it heal itself. And that worked really well for me.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:51:56] Yeah. No, I, I agree a lot with that philosophy. I, I do have like a massage gun that I work with too. It's not even like after a hard interval workout or strength stuff, I tend not even do like a lot of strenuous static stretching because you just like you ripped your muscles. It just doesn't make sense for me to try to pull them apart. I think stretching is important, but I do it later in the day, then once they've had the chance to kind of come back together. So I have no scientific evidence that that's the right thing to do, is just how it makes sense to me based on the physiology of what's happened.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:52:42] Yeah, my other thing that I would do with no scientific evidence is because I always craved it and I figured if I was craving, I was I would do it.Everyone is always into spots and I take hot back. Almost after almost every big session, I crawl in a hot bath and I mean, no one's going to tell you that that's the right thing to do. Again, like blood flow, like blood flow is a thing and relaxation is the thing. And quieting down your parasympathetic nervous system after you've been training really hard and you've been like lit up and focused on fire and mojo, I feel like calming the nervous system was always important for me. And every time I got in an ice bath, I was just like my parasympathetic nervous system would go crazy. And I would like it's a jolting experience to be in ice. So I always gravitated to a hot bath after all my training sessions. And I tell you, like, it never really served me wrong. I can't I can't say it felt good. I would relax, I would get blood flow, and then I'd have to work my way into cooling down my core body temp at some point. But yeah, that I'm sure there are plenty of studies that tell you like not getting the warm bath after big training sessions. But man, it always worked for me.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:53:57] You know, I haven't done the research on hot bass, but what you're saying, I can relate to some of my other interviews on this podcast, one being with Justin Ross playing chauffeur. He's a former NHL coach and and stuff. And I have a link to the show in the show notes here. But he talked about parasympathetic sympathetic system and it just triggered this thought when you said, like, you're getting in, like you you work out, you're kind of in that fight or flight mode, you know, and then you jump into an ice bath and you're still there. And totally whole not whole philosophy. But part of his philosophy is you're in this fight or flight mode and their workout to activate the sympathetic system. That's the relaxation. I think I might be saying that's wrong. But the relaxation mode, which sounds like that's why you're doing it in the hot bath with your help. Yes. Your body to just relax and get out of the way of healing. It's now recovering. That's right. And then in another episode, I talked to Dr. Tom Clifford, who'd done a ton of research on tart cherry juice. And. 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:55:19] Yes,

 

Jase Kraft: [0:55:19] We were talking about the difference between tart cherry juice as an anti-inflammatory versus like ibuprofen or Tylenol or something over the counter. And because I think there's a misconception that if you take Tartary juice and you're not going to get muscle gains or whatever, but because there are studies that show Tylenol or ibuprofen prevent that. But he was saying that Tart Cherry's work in a different way, that actually aid in your body's natural recovery system rather than going to the source and like pounding out the inflammation and stuff. So it is interesting. You have to listen to that one, too, but yeah, I will for sure. Yeah. So anyways, I think or about running out of time here, but I have a couple a couple of questions for you that are like you can answer in 60 seconds or less. So fun. First one is if you had one recovery tool besides sleeping, that that's the only tool you could take with you for the rest of your life or in past life.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:56:28] What would that? 

 

Sonja Weick: [00:56:30] My normatec boots like times a thousand. Those things are fantastic. Nice. I had some of those and I can attest they feel great. Yeah. When you're training 20, 30 hours a week, those things are just heaven. And they work. They just work. 

 

Jase Kraft: [00:56:48] Some of them might be hard to answer in 60 seconds. But you're you have a passion for doing hard things. Why?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:56:58] I feel like my why has changed through the years. I think for a long time I. Why was that? If I if I accomplish these really, really hard things, people who value that would accept me more. And I got that programming from me like a young age, that doing really hard things was really cool and really awesome. And so I think for a long time I ran around, did hard things because I wanted acceptance from people who valued that, not really that way anymore. Now, I don't really even think of the hard things I'm doing as hard anymore, as long as they're adventurous and exploratory and fun. And so I don't like I don't see those things as hard or requiring a lot of toughness. I see them as more going after what lights me up and giving thanks and gratitude for the body and mindset that I've been given because I came here with a Ferrari like I got so lucky I literally was gifted a Ferrari body. And so it's less thinking that I'm doing hard things to my body and it's more than thinking like, oh yeah, my body was kind of made to do this. And the reason it was to do it is because my soul yearns for these amazing experiences. And so that doesn't feel hard anymore, just looks hard to other people because it's not in alignment with what they're put here to do and the body that they've been given necessarily in.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:58:22] The last question, what is your biggest asset to your success?

 

Sonja Weick: [00:58:28] Interesting. Gosh, my biggest asset to my success has been. Oh, that's a tough question. You got me ok. OK, ok, OK. All right. I'm going to roll with this. I would say my biggest asset to success is that thing I have inside of me that someone will call self acceptance, like acceptance of just. What is that what is right now is OK, tired, OK, excited, OK? I think that the times when I've really been able to double down on that and let go of the structure and let go of the routine and just flow with what actually is right now and capitalize on it. That's been my biggest asset.

 

Jase Kraft: [00:59:18] So that I think is so underrated in our society. Self acceptance. I'm so glad you said that. I'm so glad that you found that and yourself because.

 

Sonja Weick: [00:59:30] Yeah,

 

Jase Kraft: [00:59:31] Man man. 

 

Sonja Weick:  [00:59:32] Like, we all have everything we need to be successful with what we're meant to do. Like we literally were born with it. We have everything we need. It's really just sloughing off the stuff that's getting in the way. I think when I started to realize that, like, oh my gosh, I mean to explore who knew? Oh my gosh. I mean to explore. OK, let's explore to be any more than that. I have everything I need to do that I have the resources, I have the the smarts. I have the brains. I have the body. It's all there. But once I accepted that I'm allowed to go do that, that's OK. It just is what it is and what is what your truth is and what your heroes do and who you're here to help. The more you can sluff off everything that's competing with that, the quicker you're going to be able to to get to work in service of what you've come here to do.

 

Jase Kraft: [01:00:20] And I think you mentioned in your passion for hard things that you kind of start at your y started trying to prove other people. And then now it's your your passion, your fun. I don't think that's the case for everybody. I think a lot of people start with their I do this to impress other people and then they realize they don't actually like it and.

 

Sonja Weick: [01:00:43] Yeah,

 

Jase Kraft: [01:00:43] Yeah, exactly. That's my message here.

 

Sonja Weick: [01:00:47] There's so many fun things in the world I've had. So I've said so many people come to me and go, oh, I'd love to do, to do but I hate running. And I'm like, go rock-climbing like go whitewater rafting, learn to do yoga. Like there's so many fun things to do with your physical body. Like if you don't like running, please, please don't run. If you're not into hights, please don't run like there. So if you love the yoga mat, spend more time on it like no judgment. Find your thing.

 

Jase Kraft: [01:01:14] Hundred percent. Yeah but if you take this advice and you quit your sport, don't give your coach my number, you can give it my my have an upside.

 

Sonja Weick: [01:01:28] Actually if you use this advice to quit your sport your coach will be stoked because he's tired of dealing with you. You're not happy in the sport anyway.

 

Jase Kraft: [01:01:36] Yeah. So where, where do you want people to reach out to you and what are you working on these days that somebody might want to reach you to you about. Yeah.

 

Sonja Weick: [01:01:49] So I, I host a podcast called Tales of Toughness, where I interview other eco-challenge world's toughest race racers and also some staff and gosh, like cameramen and fun people. And we talk about the race and everything they learned about themselves through the race. We tell all the untold stories. So that's really fun. If you want to hear more stories and exciting journeys, if something I said today resonates there, you have a question or you're interested in getting into contact with me. You can go to my website, which is Gosonja.com G O S O N J A. And I'm on Instagram at gosonja as well, and I love responding to people. So something and one of you out there heard something that you thought, gosh, I've got to get in touch with this girl, get in touch with this girl and let's have a conversation. I love I love doing that. So, yeah, that's where people can be.

 

Jase Kraft: [01:02:40] Yeah. And quick testimonial about your podcast. It's been great, especially since I've watched the show and it's on the show. So it doesn't get into here like the camera man's perspective, because my wife and I were watching that. We're like the cameramen have to do all this, too. Like how in the world. And then you listen to my bucket and you find out how in the world if you have those types of questions, go listen to our podcast, Tales of Toughness. And if you want to have Sonia speak as something that you have going on, reach out to her. She'll get back to you. A great person to work with. I'm so glad you're on my show, Sonja, and I wish you nothing but the best in your future endeavors.

 

Sonja Weick: [01:03:28] Thank you so much for having me. We had such a great conversation today. I can't wait to hear it live when it's all published.

 

Sonja Wieck

Elite Adventure Racer & Ironman

Sonja Wieck (w-ick) underwent a life transformation taking her from an average stay-at-home mom to a World-Class Ironman triathlete.

She is a 6x Kona Ironman World Championship Qualifier, came in 2nd place at Kona Ironman World Female 35-39 age group (2015), was named the Ironman All World Female 35-39 Champion (2013), Tokyo’s Joe’s Athlete of the Month (2014).

She can be seen leading her group of 3 men on Team Iron Cowboy on Mark Burnett’s new competition show “World’s Toughest Race Eco-Challenge Fiji” hosted by Bear Grylls premiered on Amazon Prime on August 14, 2020. (If you haven’t watched this yet. You need to) She now has a podcast of her own sharing the untold stories of the athletes that participated in that event.

And if that’s not all she’s also an Ultramarathoner, she’s ran the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim in 12 hours, was named the Moab 100 mile Female Champion and 2nd overall (2010).