18| Nicole DeBoom, former pro triathlete and Skirt Sports founder: “The self-love journey is ongoing.”

Guest Bio
Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Nicole was a standout swimmer, qualifying for the 1988 Olympic Trials and later graduating from Yale University. She decided to pursue the sport of triathlon, and a lucky seat assignment introduced her to her future husband (2-time Ironman World Champion), Tim DeBoom, on a flight to the 1995 World Championships. Nicole started racing professionally in 1999, racking up countless podium finishes. Her triathlon career culminated in a win at the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin, wearing a prototype of the first-ever running skirt – a skirt that would launch a revolution in women’s fitness clothing just a few months later. Nicole founded Skirt Sports in September 2004 with the mission of helping women find inspiration, confidence and courage through the transformative power of running and fitness. Today Skirt Sports is a national women’s apparel brand offering a full line of products that supports women throughout their busy running lives as part of the Be Inspired family of brands. Nicole spends her time helping women change their lives through the non-profit organization Running Start, interviewing visionaries for her popular podcast Run This World and chasing around her 9-year-old girl, Wilder.

Connect with Nicole

Attend the beYOUtiful Virtual Summit October 22-23 2021
Powered by Skirt Sports
Featuring Nicole DeBoom, Kara Goucher, Mirna Valerio, Jill Angie, Sarah Ratzlaff

In this episode, we talked about…

  • Qualifying for the 100-meter breaststroke Olympic trials at 16 years old
  • On swimming from her heart 
  • How Nicole’s college thesis planted the seed for Skirt Sports 
  • Being a pioneer in the women’s sports aparell space
  • The challenges many pro athletes face with retirement. 
  • Eating tons of fat-free Snackwells in her younger days (why did we do this??)
  • Nicole’s unhealthy obsessive thoughts about food 
  • Shifting her focus from how she looked and how she felt 
  • How Nicole’s actions sparked a powerful mindset shift during her pregnancy 
  • How we form, change, and break habits 
  • How Nicole copes with bad body image days 
  • What a random moment in a gas station during a cross-country road trip taught Nicole about herself
  • What sport taught her about starting and running a business 
  • How motherhood changed the way Nicole worked
  • Selling Skirt Sports 
  • The power of smiling 
  • How her perception of success has changed

Pursue the things that make you feel like you’re moving in a positive direction.

When it became very clear that I was a national-level swimmer, my life changed forever. 

What it takes to be feminine and what society is presenting as the feminine ideal is not what it takes to be a champion athlete. Until there is a new feminine standard we will all battle our self-esteem and our body image.

[As a professional triathlete] there was always something I could improve. And this is the travesty of sport at that level; it’s very hard to be perfect,

My identity literally changed during a race from pro athlete to entrepreneur or skirt lady or whatever you want to call me. 

The self-love journey is ongoing. The little demons will raise their ugly heads every once in a while throughout our walks through this life. I don’t know how you could gain the kind of confidence I got through things other than athletic experiences because they’re testing your body and your mind together.

I knew who I was on the inside, but bodies change and there is no way around it. And not just bodies, you get acne, you go through all the hormonal shifts that all the times we’re supposed to go through them in life. And they’re not outwardly pretty. I think we need to reframe that word or what it means to be outwardly pretty 

I stopped thinking about how I looked and I started thinking about how I felt. 

When I’m not having a good day, it’s often because I am not opening myself up to other people

If I’m having a bad day, the best thing I can do is go out and engage with people because that brings me energy and joy.

I think sport teaches us more about ourselves than just about anything. 

It’s good to have some goals, but if you look at it like a marathon, if your eyes are stuck on mile 26, you’re never going to get to mile three.

I know how to suffer. I know how to work hard. I know, I know how to set goals and tick them off. And I know how to do periodization, which I also think is really important in business because you cannot be 100% maintaining your top speed in business at all times.

Smile. Even if you have a mask on, they’re going to see it.

I think the big thing is that I took away the finish line.  That was something I was chasing for so many years and it, it really wasn’t there. The finish line is us dying. And when we die, the important thing is going to be the people in our lives that we touched.

How I Built This podcast
Pam’s “Tess Talk” at Skirt Sports 
Skirt Sports
Vicki Hunter’s episode
Elaine Howley’s episode
Bell’s Palsy podcast episode 
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg
She Runs It Podcast 
Run This World Podcast 
Maple syrup is life 
My Washington Post story on why you should smile behind your mask
BeYoutiful Virtual Summit 

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