2012 Pay it Forward Winner!

I am happy to announce that CATHY BONICH is the winner of the 2012 “Pay it Forward” Coaching!  IT was a horribly tough decision.  Now, I understand what college entrance reviewers go through!  I had hundreds of applications and even VIDEOs!  I was nearly in tears reading most of the entries (most of them when I was sick in bed last week)!  It took me weeks to sort through them and arrive at my top 10.  After I narrowed it down to the top 5-6 I had Jerome, Beth Shutt, Oscar (Beth’s husband) and Elizabeth tell me their top 1-2.  Guess what?  They all picked someone different!  LOL.  So,  I went finally with my gut.  While I do know Cathy and she is part of a local Triathlon Club that I sometimes help with, her entry just left my gut “off” and I wanted to help.   And, I kept coming back to her entry.   So, that is ultimately why I picked Cathy.   However, I found myself not wanting to pick Cathy because many of her peers submitted entries too – but I realized that was not a good way to “pick the winner,” so my gut made the final call.

Thanks for everyone’s personal entries.  I read EVERY one of them and appreciate your time in doing them all.  For what it is worth, I will do this again for 2013, so please enter again!

Here is Cathy’s entry (I did edit some super personal things):

OMG!  OMG!  OMG!  This is fate Jen!!   You’re my needle in a haystack!  Just yesterday I was checking into at the recommendation of a friend, to find cheap (free) coaching options!   I could not sleep last night, my mind kept thinking about what it would be like to have a real coach for next year.  Love the fact that not only do you coach, but you practice what you preach, and still race yourself!

OK, so I know you want creative, I’m not very creative, but I can talk :)  And I will speak from my heart…the blogging thing actually sounds fun to me…I get to write about my experiences & people would read it?  Or, I assume they would.  YOU would!  So here’s my story, and why I think you should pick ME to coach next year:

You may think I’m not a “beginner” triathlete but in fact, I am.  Did you know I just learned how to swim 2 years ago?  Yep, in spring of 2009.  I had always wanted to do tri’s, had friends from the gym who did, but didn’t know how to swim.  42 years old & I held my nose to go under water.  I still don’t really like swimming, or, it’s not my favorite.  Yes, I swim on my rest days (I know you don’t think that’s a good idea…help me!)   I’ve only done 5 tri’s (oh, and 2/3 of Batavia) since I learned how to swim.   Why you ask?  I knew that question was coming…because I’ve had the worst luck ever…EVER!  If anyone can benefit from having a professional coach, it’s me.  So here goes it:

2009:  the year I learned to swim, I did Schaumburg tri (my 1st) & then Naperville tri, then ended up w/ a fractured foot that Sept.  Walked off the Walter Payton 15k at the 5k mark in tears the pain was so bad.  So the winter I rehabbed the foot, and swam.  I did run Great Western 1/2 marathon & Soldier Field 10 successfully that year…and trained properly (I thought)

2010:  decided I’d train for an Olympic.  So in 2010, I did Twin Lakes (for which I had a bike brake issue & was passed by practically everyone!) & Bangs Lake Olympic.  Had to walk part of Bangs due to another foot issue & didn’t want to push it.  I had signed up for the Chicago marathon but sold my bib (was going to be my 1st) once I started having slight foot pain.  I did run the Urbanathlon & Sycamore Pumpkin run 10k that year.

Now, 2011 was going to be my year!!  A sprint or 2, Olympic & my 1st 1/2 IM (Muncie & then Austin if I survived Muncie).  Well, right before Easter I had some goofy hip problem where I was in tears walking, and immediately after that I had several bruised bones/tendons on my right foot & couldn’t run (where the DNF in Batavia came in).  I was able to do a relay at Bigfoot (bike)…woo hoo…just what a triathlete wants to do, a relay!  Finally healed that up & continued training for Muncie, my 1st 1/2 IM.  A week before Muncie, on my last long bike ride in Madison, my bike slipped on something & down I went.  You guessed it…fractured elbow.  REALLY?  A week before my 1st 1/2 IM??  There were other people who were racing Muncie riding w/ me, so I didn’t think twice about riding Madison a week before.  Another triathlete friend of mine cursed me out for riding outside, said I should’ve been on my trainer a week before.  I dunno, but I missed my race…I was so mad!!!  I had intended on doing Austin also but due to the fractured elbow, I couldn’t ride outside or swim until too close to the race, and I didn’t want to do it 1/2 a$$.  Against my ortho’s advice, I raced the SheBangs sprint…As you know, I volunteered at Madison this year and yes, I signed up.

And on top of everything else, my car has been hit 4x in the past 3 years, I’m still paying off the medical bills from all of the xrays, MRI’s, fractures, ER, etc and I lost my job this past Aug!  Yep, I’m unemployed.  Single, with a mortgage, car payment, medical & car bills & still haven’t found a job.  Today I applied for part time work, to supplement unemployment, at Petsmart, Home Depot & Staples.  It’s depressing, I am sole provider.  Yet I am hell bent on finishing IM Wisconsin…whether you train me, or I find something online or from a book…I will do it!  I’d just love to have the advantage of a coach.  Even without losing my job, hiring a coach would’ve been a stretch.  I’m just buried in medical & car bills yet & only had so much discretionary income.

As you can see, each year I’ve had disappointing issues, this year being the worst.  My dream for next year is to race Batavia, Pleasant Prairie, Muncie & Madison.  Throw in a few running races maybe.  I had hoped to hire a coach to get me to Madison well trained, prepared & most importantly, injury free.  Without a job, there’s no way I can hire a coach.  Each year I thought I was training correctly but if I was, why so many injuries?  I’ve run long distances so I have the endurance.  Can you show me what I’m missing?

And the nutritional consult…yay!  One thing I’ve continued to struggle with is…how do I try to lose weight while training?  And what’s proper nutrition while training?  How often?  Salt?  How much?  All these things I need to know…but don’t.  To have someone to ask would be kick butt!!

I promise you…if you pick me to coach for 2012, I will supply you with M&M’s as much as you want (I’ve gathered from FB that you love them!)…I will do whatever you want…Just tell me what I need to do, to get me through the season & at the IMOO finish line!  Injury free :)  It would be nice to have someone in my corner (no family to support me).  So, I will make it easy for you…PICK ME!!  PICK ME!!  PICK ME!!  I need some good luck in my life!  Please :)

If you are still reading, thank you.  It’s alot, I know.  I told you…I guess I just wanted you to get a feel for all of the bad luck I’ve had over the past few years in my race season, and why I think I’d benefit from having a coach.  I am IN !!



  • #1
  • Posted by: Dan –
  • On: 12/27/2011 15:56:57
  • Options: Edit

Congrats, Cathy! So exciting!!!

  • #2
  • Posted by: Trainer –
  • On: 12/27/2011 16:26:47
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Congrats Cathy!! When your 1st monster workout gets assigned, remember thinking, “I’ll do anything to make this happen.” and you will!! :-)

  • #3
  • Posted by: Carrie M. –
  • On: 12/27/2011 16:43:06
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Jen, I am sure this is one of the toughest things you do every year, but you make a difference in someones life!  I am almost in tears reading Cathy’s entry .. Cathy you can do it and even without family support you now have an awesome coach in Jen, and friends cheering you on! You can do it.

  • #4
  • Posted by: Steve –
  • On: 12/27/2011 17:03:27
  • Options: Edit

Did you even read anything other than M&M’s??  You were bribed, and you fell for it.  :)

Link her blog when she starts up, and I’ll follow along on her journey this year.  Sounds like she could use a bit of luck this year.

It is a great thing you are doing too btw.  Not sure if I told ya.

  • #5
  • Posted by: Karen O –
  • On: 12/27/2011 18:28:57
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Great job Jen!  Congrats Cathy!  Wishing you all the best – it will be hard work BUT I believe hard work is a breeding ground for great luck and lots of success!  Happy 2012!

  • #6
  • Posted by: Michelle –
  • On: 12/27/2011 19:32:29
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Awesome! Will you put a link to her blog on yours? I would love to follow her progress. Congratulations Cathy. Wishing you both great success!

  • #7
  • Posted by: Elizabeth –
  • On: 12/27/2011 19:36:01
  • Options: Edit

SO COOL JH!!  Cathy is IN for it 😉  But it sounds like a little confidence boost and getting on a fun, injury free path in her athletic world will lead to only good things in her work/personal life.  WOOHOO!!!

  • #8
  • Posted by: Karen –
  • On: 12/27/2011 19:36:47
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Wow!  How could you NOT pick Cathy????  Cathy, you WILL make it to that finish line with Jen AND if anyone can get you there, injury free, it’s her!  I should know! : )

  • #9
  • Posted by: Laura Wheatley –
  • On: 12/28/2011 11:01:34
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YAY CATHY!!! Great choice Jen!!

  • #10
  • Posted by: Cathy –
  • On: 12/28/2011 17:17:59
  • Options: Edit

Thanks everyone!  I’m excited, nervous, scared & still shocked…all rolled up together!  Working on setting up the blog now…and will make sure Jen has it.  As for the workouts…well let’s just say I’m thinking I should relax a bit the next few weeks…before Jen takes over!  Anyways – just wanted to say thanks again to Jen for this awesome opportunity & to everyone else wishing me luck, etc.  It’s going to be one hellofa 2012!!

  • #11
  • Posted by: Jamie –
  • On: 12/29/2011 19:56:28
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Love Cathy! Love Jen! U guys are gonna be great coach/ coachie!! Great choice Jen. Cathy I am so stoked for ya!

  • #12
  • Posted by: Christi –
  • On: 12/30/2011 09:31:03
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Congrats to Cathy!  I wish her the best in the coming year!

  • #13
  • Posted by: Ana-Maria Vranceanu –
  • On: 12/30/2011 16:21:59
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Oh my goodness, this woman has a lot against her! I think your coaching is going to generalize to her entire life and make her even stronger:)


  1. Congrats Cathy! Jen will get you there!!! Have a fantastic 2012 :)
    Jen–great new site!

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