Athlete Profile: Meet Brenda Cochran - God, GOTRIbal and Chrissie Wellington

Brenda Cochran's search for inspiration and information brought her to's triathlon community where I volunteer year-round as a community moderator. Thanks Brenda for sharing your tri story with us!

Cochran's gym routine was boring and redundant, especially the running, she says. Though she was NOT looking for triathlon-specific information, her research would quickly take her feet-first down triathlon's alluring path.

After a few clicks she jumped here and read my series on common excuses not to do a triathlon. "I read each one very carefully and really, reading your story was where the shift occurred," says Cochran. "I had triathlon in a box, only for 'certain types of people.' You just seemed like a regular person - genuine and encouraging. I was amazed at how reading your story changed how I view my abilities - even though you are a bit younger than me - changed my beliefs."

"Reading your blog also included somewhat of a moment with God," she says. "It was almost as if He was using your story to communicate a message to me saying, 'You have worked hard, been faithful and I have a gift for you, because I love you.' I felt a nudge, giving me permission to just enjoy life."

"My childhood was very chaotic, traumatic, and violent," she says. "From this experience, I've struggled with allowing myself to be happy and to enjoy life. On the outside, I appeared happy but on the inside I learned to be hyper vigilant and on guard."

Now a completely different person, Cochran says, "the timing was right when I stumbled across an encouraging and transforming story such as yours. I was able to let go ... to experience more joy than I thought possible."

Through triathlon training Cochran's caught glimpses of her childhood, "those glimpses in between the chaos where I was swimming and feeling free in the water. Or when I was riding my bike fast, feeling the wind in my hair. I feel like I am playing when I am really just working out! There's a Bible verse (Joel 2:25) that talks about God restoring the years that the locust has eaten. After all these years, pieces of my childhood are being restored."

She now serves as a Chief in GOTRIbal an organization created to empower women through the journey of endurance sport. "I love GOTRIbal simply because of Tanya’s vision for the organization. I personally believe we need to be taking what we've been given and give it away so others can experience what we've learned," she says.

And you've likely heard of GOTRIbal's Chief Ambassador? It's three-time Ford World Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington who Cochran met and rode with at a GOTRIbal event last year. Cochran calls that weekend one of the highlights of her life!

"But the weekend was more that just getting to ride with her, it was meeting all of the other women (some as far away as Massachusetts)," she says. "It was also leaving the comfort of my AZ world, venturing to San Diego for my first ever open water swim workout, first ever in a wetsuit, first ever swimming/competing in the ocean–this was very scary for me. I was completely out of my comfort zone. I wanted to face fear dead on which was fear of the unknown… and this experience was everything and more–I really came back a different person."

In her role as Chief Cochran coordinates group training events and is spreading the GOTRIbal message to Arizona athletes. "Probably what I enjoy most is encouraging people to become more than what they imagined," she says.

Women see Cochran in her GOTRIbal gear and ask her what it's about. "When I explain the vision I get a lot of positive feedback," she says. "Women tell me they want to work out in a non-threatening environment where they won’t be embarrassed about their ability."

Triathlon's the perfect fit. "People are very friendly and encouraging," Cochran says. "As I enter into my second half of life, I now have something to do that is a blast and keeps me healthy, vibrant, and yes, feeling young!"
She's an eyeing an Ironman to celebrate her 50th. I volunteered to be her IronSherpa if she chooses Ironman Wisconsin!

Cochran's favorite resources:,, Her favorite books are “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Triathlon Training” by Katai & Barr and “The Triathlete’s Guide to Mental Training” by Taylor and Schneider.

Questions for You:
- Please thank Brenda for sharing her tri story!
- What fears have you faced as a triathlete?
- How does triathlon remind you of your youth?

Want more GOTRIbal? Attend GOTRIbal Fest! Oct. 16, 2010, San Diego Hyatt Resort by the Bay.
$135. Make it a girlfriend's weekend and save $40!
Use code gtpackage when you sign up two or more to attend. More info at
I'd love to make it ... hmmm I have a fall birthday!? Let's see how many airline miles I have... and Brenda, you are amazing! Thanks so much for encouraging ME!


Velma said...

What an awesome story!!!

brendaaz said...

Sara - you did an awesome job!

Victory is Finishing said...

Yes, I see an Ironman in you grasp! Thanks for sharing your story and the GOTRIbal mission. Great site I am going to pass it forward and share with our readers.
Train safe
ViF - "Victory is Finishing"

Sara Cox Landolt said...

Thanks guys for your feedback. It's been a pleasure getting to know Brenda!