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Empire Spotlight: Meet Maud Walas!

Maud Walas raises her arms as she crosses the finish line of her first Half Ironman, IMAC 70.3 last September. This summer, she is training to become an Ironman!

Empire Spotlight!  Meet Maud Walas

Last week we had a chance to connect with Empire Member Maud Walas and dig a little deeper into where she’s from, what she’s training for and how she’s coping with COVID_19. Read more to find out!

Empire: Were are you from?
Maud: I am from Paris, France.

Empire: When did you move to NY?
Maud: I moved to NY in March 2017.

Empire: What brought you to NY?
Maud: Work, I am working for a French Bank.

Empire: When did you start racing triathlons?
Maud: My first triathlon was in June 2019 – The Wyckoff / Franklin Lakes Sprint Triathlon in NJ.

Empire: When/Why did you join empire?
Maud: I joined Empire last year as part of the beginner program to prepare NYC triathlon. Unfortunately, it was canceled so I never raced an Olympic distance!

What were some races you did last season?
Maud: Wyckoff, some sprints and Atlantic City 70.3. I also ran NYC marathon and NY 60k.

Empire: What are some of your races / goals for this season?
Maud: Hopefully, I will race Escape from Alcatraz (although I am a little nervous about the swim).  And thanks to Empire and to my inspiring Teammates, I will try to become an Ironman in Lake Placid next summer.   Then, I plan to race the Chicago and NYC marathons.  

Empire: How are you adjusting to the changes imposed by COVID 19? (are you still able to work?  working from home? do you have very structured hours or a flexible schedule?)
Maud: Except that I am working from home, there is no change in my schedule. I am still working in front of my computer all day long -the only change is that I can wear comfy outfits.  I am an early bird and I continue to wake up at 5:30am every morning to go for a run or to jump on my home trainer. To have a good day: “Coffee, but first gym!”

Empire: What home equipment do you have access to?
Maud: I am so glad I bought a home trainer last year. Except that, I use elastic bands and a bottle of laundry detergent as a weight for my strength routine!

Empire: How are you adapting your training due to social distancing?  When/how/where are you working out?
Maud: I run early in the morning, when everyone sleeps. I love the morning lights, that is so peaceful and the sky and city offer a different show every morning. As the streets are empty now, my husband comes with me with his scooter, for safety (I must admit that it makes me happy to spend this time with him too 🙂 ). After my morning ride or run, I do my 20 minutes strength routine defined with the help of my PT Dave at Finish Line Physical Therapy. This is not what I like the most but time, injuries and 12 years of running teach me that this is part of the training.

Empire: Has it been helpful to be a part of a team during this time? (if so, what have you found to be most helpful)?
Maud: It is more than helpful! Here in NY, Empire is my second family. I have made so many training partners but also friends since I joined the club! And today I am happy to share my love for biking with my Teammates. Before COVID, I started to propose new routes for outdoor long rides but now that we are not able to go out, I organize four virtual rides per week on Zwift. People join the rides when they want and we bike together in virtual worlds. I love to prepare the rides in advance to add some fun, like jokes or our weekend achievements. I hope these rides help to spread a little bit of joy and entertainment in my Teammates’ life.  In addition to these rides, Empire is proposing a lot of different activities, like strength workouts, yoga classes, socials, clinics. It almost feels like we are still seeing each other’s four times a week as during race season. For me, that is a game changer to handle the actual situation and the anxiety related to it.

Empire: Is it true that you rode 100 miles on your indoor trainer last week? What prompted you to do this? Was this part of a training plan or just something you decided to do?
Maud: Good question! One of my weekend treats is my long ride! I love spending a day outside on my bike discovering new places. I guess it also releases all the stress of my week at work. On a rainy weekend, I decided to replace my ride with a home trainer session and picked a 80 miles route. But 80 miles is not an achievement, it is like running 23 miles when you know you are able to complete a marathon… so I decided to go for 100! And to be totally transparent, one of my Empire Teammates did it one week before and I wanted to prove to myself that I was also capable of the same madness.

EmpireAnything else you’d like to share? (something non-triathlon related that people may not know about you?)
Maud: Fun fact: In school, I was always the last at every race and I hated running so much that I hid behind the bushes of the track field to avoid running!

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