Lesley Hall is the Marketing Director for Moms In Motion, an organization that connects moms across the globe througha fitness, and helps women achieve their goals, ranging from triathlons to stand up paddle boarding. This August, Lesley stepped out of her comfort zone to successfully compete in her first triathlon with the Moms In Motion team. Lesley and Moms In Motion continue to inspire women to reach their goals, and support local philanthropies to further community bonds.
How long have you lived in Santa Barbara?
I lived in Santa Barbara in the ‘80s for 6 years, went to UCSB, got married at The Music Academy, and then left for 15 years. We came back 5 years ago with our two kids and love to call Santa Barbara home.
What is/are your favorite local restaurants?
The Palace Grill, Carlitos Café and Cantina, and Brophy Brothers.
What is your favorite music to listen to/workout to?
All types. Some include: U2, Sheryl Crow, Jason Mraz, John Mayer.
What are your favorite sports/hobbies?
Running, biking, swimming (yes, now swimming).
How do you spend a typical Sunday?
Watching Fall Ball baseball games for my 9 year old son Logan, riding bikes and spending time with my family, reading in my hammock, and gearing up for the next week.
How did you first get involved with Moms In Motion?
When I moved back to SB after being away for 15 years, I saw an ad in the newspaper for a Moms In Motion hiking team. I wanted to find a way to meet other moms and at the same time learn the trails in our mountains. I loved it. We would hike, do yoga over a vista or near a stream, then hike back. It really helped me reconnect with Santa Barbara while making new friends. The next season I took on the challenge of a running team. Loved that also, and I’ve since been on a handful of their running teams.
What motivated you to compete in a triathlon?
Six months ago I would have said no way could I complete a triathlon, let alone compete. In the back of my mind I’ve had it as a goal, but needed to find the time to take swim lessons and maybe shed a few extra pounds before I thought it could be a reality. I thought maybe I’d attempt one before I turn 50.
As marketing director for Moms In Motion I had a meeting in May with our Moms In Motion’s head triathlon coach, Ernesto Paredes. I asked him if I could show up at a few of the first practices to take photos for marketing purposes. His response was that he had hoped I would join the team. My response, “but Ernesto, I can’t swim, I mean, I can get across the pool, but it’s not pretty.” I never learned how to side breath, let alone in the ocean! He said he had heard those stories before, and don’t worry, we’d have 12 weeks of training. I told him I’d think about it. This may sound corny, but as I was driving home, I heard a song on the radio with the words … “and you’ve only got 100 years to live.” I decided that day to give it a try. What motivated and inspired me to compete the triathlon was thinking of all the inspirational stories of women who have overcome obstacles and joined Moms In Motion teams. One story that I love to share is about a woman that joined the triathlon team a few years ago. She was a single mom who didn’t know how to swim. Ok, that’s not so uncommon, but she also didn’t know how to ride a bike. Then there are the women who have just overcome cancer and joined a team. Everyone has their motivations, and I guess mine was that it was time to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I was afraid to do.
What was your biggest challenge you overcame for the triathlon?
For sure it was swimming in the ocean! I had so many little aspects of learning to swim that were challenging and new to me. Some silly little challenges included taking private swim lessons amongst a bunch of pre-schoolers, wearing a swim cap for the first time and not feeling self-conscious, and learning how to de-fog my goggles. When I started practicing, my 12 year old daughter Madison was my first coach. After jumping in and swimming a few yards in the pool, I’d have to stand up, totally winded. She’d look at me and say “mom, you know you won’t be able to stand up in the ocean, now do you want to learn how to do a flip turn?” I remember trying to swim fighting back tears in my goggles.
Here’s an email I sent to my coach midway through the season: “Ok coach, I just looked at the triathlon website and looked up cut-off times. I’m a bit concerned about them yanking me out of the water. What happens at the tri if it takes me longer than 25 min.? I can currently swim one lap in a minute of less, but 20 consecutive (in the ocean), ha! How can I get up to speed in just over a month? I’m in the pool 4-5 days a week, and can now swim 2 laps pretty much without stopping, but am still totally winded after 2 laps. Any tips???” His reply: “YOU ARE DOING IT!!!! Great job! Just keep on keeping On! Your motivation and attitude is what is making you successful. I am SO not worried for you at the TRI…it is so far away. Just enjoy THIS process of achieving little victories. Let the SB TRI stay on Aug. 24….focus in on today and maybe a little on tomorrow…I am VERY proud of you…stay in that “good” place that allows you the ability to get a kick out of what you are doing….DO NOT put pressure on yourself of Aug. 24th. That will simply be the icing to all of this. THIS is TRIATHLON…the training and self motivation WHILE maintaining a healthy happy balanced life. You will be successful. No one has EVER been pulled from the ocean during the race. I look forward to our next swim! See you soon.”
The first time I swam in the ocean during practice I hyperventilated but was able to swim to one buoy. My coach was there by my side, reminding me that my wetsuit was keeping me afloat, and getting me to that buoy. During the season I gradually went further and further, and learned to love being in the ocean (except on the days when the water was very choppy). During one of my last practices I swam 1500 yards, and that gave me the confidence to know I could swim 500 yards during the triathlon. Completing the entire course a handful of times in practice let me know that I could do it. Besides support from our official coaches, I received wonderful support from team members during practices. It was also very comforting that Moms In Motion provided lifeguards on surfboards and kayaks in the ocean during practices.
Can you tell me more about how the triathlon team worked together to support community philanthropies?
All Moms In Motion teams integrate some sort of philanthropic outreach. I love that everyone can do a little bit and we end up making a difference in our community. Our team won a contest between three local triathlon teams and raised $12,980 for The Teacher’s Fund and Computers for Families.
Another cause our coach selected this season was Heal The Ocean. We sold tickets and had a silent auction at SB Winery and raised $3,500 that evening. It was a great social event and once again, by everyone contributing, we were able to help a wonderful local organization.
What is the Moms In Motion Stand Up Paddle Surfing team?
In October we started our first Stand Up Paddle team led by coach Laura Francis. This team is a group of Santa Barbara moms who meet every Sunday at 9am between September 21st and November 9th to learn the basics of Stand Up Paddling, get to know each other, get in shape and stay fit. Stand up paddling is like hiking or doing yoga on the water. It is a great way to explore the ocean, see wildlife above and below the water, and get in great shape! Stand up paddling improves balance, upper and lower body strength, and core conditioning. Our team focuses on learning to be comfortable on the board and proper stroke technique, and distance paddling but not on surfing waves.
Our team philanthropy is learning about and supporting Santa Barbara Channel Keeper (www.sbck.org) in their efforts to monitor the health of our ocean and local watersheds. Please contact our coach at laura@ecomotion travel for more information.
How have the women responded to paddle surfing?
Moms In Motion team members are enjoying learning all about this cool new sport! I think they appreciate the opportunity to carve out time for themselves in the midst of their busy schedules, plus with each different team, they meet different women and the Moms In Motion community continues to expand. The team follows our same concept of combining fun, fitness and philanthropy and will be offered again in Summer 2009.
How can women in Santa Barbara join Moms In Motion?
Moms In Motion is designed for women of all ages and abilities. You don’t even have to be a mom, just a daughter, sister, aunt or grandmother.
Log on to www.momsinmotion.com , click on Join a Team, and find the teams in Santa Barbara, California.
We have different teams each season. Our fall teams include Half Marathon Running, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and Core Conditioning entitled Absolutely Flab-u-less Core Conditioning. Look for future teams that include: hiking, walking, trail running, cycling, and of course triathlon.
What are you most proud of about Moms In Motion?
I am most proud of the owner and local resident, Jamie Allison. I so admire how she runs her business, her entrepreneurism, and how she makes such a difference in the lives of thousands of women in Santa Barbara and all over the country. I’m also very proud to work for Moms In Motion as the Marketing Director. After completing a few seasons as a member of Moms In Motion teams, I told Jamie that I’m not sure how, but someday I’d love to work for her organization. Last year she sent a message in a newsletter asking if anyone was interested in joining her marketing team. I quickly sent a reply saying “tell me about that marketing team”, and here I am today. I love my job meeting all types of SB business people and finding corporate sponsors to help support and grow a wonderful organization.
Photos courtesy of Lesley Hall