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Sports, Skirts & Stories with Triathlete & Entrepreneur, Nicole DeBoom

Hello and welcome to Season FIVE of The Second Chapter!!

I’m your host, Kristin Duffy, and I am absolutely thrilled to be back with a whole new season of inspiring, informative, energetic and often hilarious chats with women who have changed their lives and or careers after 35.


I don’t know if I’ve talked about loving coffee on the podcast- but I do! And if you like listening, you can buy me a coffee at ko-fi.com/thesecondchapter

See what I did there? ;)

And of course please like and subscribe to the podcast so you’re first to know when a new episode is released!

Today I’m talking to Nicole DeBoom. They say don’t meet your heroes, but Nicole is one of mine and I couldn’t be happier that we’ve met. Nicole was a professional triathlete, turned women sports clothing pioneer, she supports women in all kinds of ways, especially through sport, a public speaker and is a podcasting genius. Her latest venture, Aesop, like the fables, was born “to help preserve and share the stories of your life. In your voice. Before the details fade. Sometimes with a lesson. Sometimes just for fun.”

For any athletes out there, she’s offering a race report interview as a great way to preserve race memories, so stick around or check the show notes for details about how you can get a discount on your Aesop race report personal podcast!


[00:00:00] Kristin: Hi, Nicole. I'm so excited to have you here today for the first episode of season five. How are you?

[00:00:06] Nicole: I'm doing great. I get to launch an episode or a season. How cool is that?

[00:00:09] Kristin: Yes. Well, I have to say that the reason I decided that you should be my season launch is I was a baby triathlete in early two thousands. When there was this super cool power couple on the scene, the DeBooms. Back in those days, I certainly never thought that I'd be sitting here with you having this conversation.

So I feel like I'm talking to my early triathlon career hero. So thank you for being.

[00:00:35] Nicole: oh my gosh. That is so cool. I love it. You were a baby triathlete, which I'm like in my mind, I'm like, was she literally a baby? Like, Were you that young or were you a newbie?

[00:00:46] Kristin: I was a newbie. I was so not that young, but I was a very new triathlete to the scene. And even though I say now I'm interviewing one of my heroes. I have to say doing my research about you. I developed a new hero cause... your daughter...

[00:01:01] Nicole: Oh, my God.

[00:01:02] Kristin: She is literally my hero.

[00:01:04] Nicole: She's like my hero, too. Kids are so freaking smart and wise and they teach us so much and they push us so much. And it's it's absolutely you're right now hitting on two of my favorite chapters of my

[00:01:18] Kristin: Oh, excellent.

[00:01:20] Nicole: and motherhood.

So there.

[00:01:23] Kristin: We'll get to both of those chapters, but I want to start a little bit earlier than that. One of the reasons you're here is Pam Moore, who I've interviewed for the podcast has her Real Fit podcast. So I'm going to give a shout out to that. It's an amazing podcast.

And you were featured on that and I loved the conversation. She talked about your electrifying energy, which I, in the few minutes we've been talking already is so apparent. But you talked about your four chapters of sports. And what I find on The Second Chapter is nobody has just two.

So if we could do quickly what your four chapters of sport.

[00:01:56] Nicole: It's so cool. I actually don't even remember what I told her, but

[00:02:01] Kristin: I just liked the word 'chapters', obviously.

[00:02:04] Nicole: We'll go, we'll take a little jog down memory lane. I love it. Sport has always been a huge part of my life. Like I, from a very young age, just learned the power of moving,

[00:02:17] Kristin: Yeah, you were a baby triathlete, not triathlete, but a baby sport person. Literally, unlike me.

[00:02:23] Nicole: and I did all those things from a very young age, but Yeah,

I grew up actually outside of Chicago suburbs, and my parents threw me into the pool very young. Like they didn't literally throw me into the pool, but I have this distinct memory of going to swim lessons when I was probably like five.

And you started at like the shallow corner of the pool. That was the very first level of swim lesson. And then as you graduated, you like moved down the lanes and then up the side of the pool and the most advanced kids were in the deep end. And I remember this is, there are very few times in our lives when we do something for the first time and we are naturally gifted.

And at five I have this vague memory of this. Of course, I didn't know what it meant now, looking back I do. But in that very first day, I graduated from the very first group all the way to the deep end I was in natural swimmer. It was very clear. I floated, I got it. It was a natural instinct.

I knew what to do with my body in the water. And I will say that going on 50 here, I'll be 50 next month. I feel also very grateful that there is a place that I always feel at home and that is in the water.

[00:03:47] Kristin: I actually coaching someone the other day. It was the first time he had come to our club and he said to me, I said, tell me about your swimming. Cause we were about to do a swim session and he said, yeah, I'm pretty much land-based.

[00:03:59] Nicole: There are and it's funny because swimmers, we used to joke that we were land dorks. Like in college, I was a college swimmer too. And, we would like in the off season, try to do pick up basketball games or something. And it was like the most awkward, clumsy, horrible. But you stick swimmers in the water, natural swimmers.

And it's like you were born there, mermaids.

[00:04:23] Kristin: Yeah, exactly. I used to always envision that I was a mermaid because I loved being under the water. I loved it so much and I was just like, I must be a mermaid.

[00:04:30] Nicole: What's interesting is that there is a phenomenon that happens when you're under the water, but when you're growing up and you actually become a swimmer and you're in swim team. And I started swimming year round when I was like six. So I did all the other sports at school and had all the fun and did all the clubs.

But every day I also went to swim practice. It's I don't know how my parents did it, but I did not realize until I was pregnant with my daughter at almost 40 years old, that when I went under water and just gave myself the opportunity to relax and let go, it's quiet.

[00:05:09] Kristin: Yeah.

[00:05:10] Nicole: There's no noise, all those years of battling, of fighting of counting my strokes of, trying to improve and beat myself and all of those things.

It wasn't quiet, but there is a, it is really cool that you can have an evolution or new chapters within the same thing that it, you just, it becomes a different version of what it was when you first found it kind of like we humans do right.

[00:05:38] Kristin: Yeah, exactly. And you were battling yourself trying to get better and did for a while. You were a very competitive swimmer.

[00:05:47] Nicole: Yeah.

Yeah. So my swimming really did take off, it ebbed and flowed And I was also running, I was a really high level runner, like a state level runner as well. But when I was 16 years old, when I was a sophomore in high school, I had a swim that basically changed my life. It was at junior nationals in 1988 and I qualified for the Olympic trials. And I'm in qualifying for the Olympic trials at age 16, with the fifth fastest time. In my age, in our country, I became a top recruit for college. It was like Olympics. That could be a thing. Maybe you could make the Olympics. And so I quit every other sport. And I decided at that time, obviously when you show that much promise, you need to put a hundred percent focus into the thing, at least that's what I thought. So at age 16, I became very focused on swimming. Swimming was my life. Swimming took me places. I traveled all around the country. And yeah I was dedicated, but here's the crazy thing. Crazy thing is that I never got faster than when I was still doing the other sports when I was diversifying my life.

And I think now looking back, like you make your decisions and you think they're the right decision. But I generally tell people that having a little more diversity in their life usually allows them more success in the end. And I don't know why that is. Maybe the pressure's off. Maybe you just have a different perspective, but that was true for me.

[00:07:28] Kristin: And I feel like we're also whether it's swimming or whether it's, what college you're going to go to, or what quote, unquote major or, focus you're going to do. You're asked to do so many things around this, 15, 16, 17 years old, who knows what the hell they want from anything at that point.

[00:07:46] Nicole: It's true. And it. is interesting. I do think that our cultures everywhere around the world, it's like we're entering adulthood and we're expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives. And like very few people, any of us now, are doing the thing that they, majored in college or whatever.

And I think that's healthy, but it does make you go through periods where you feel like a failure or how come I can't figure out my purpose, how come I can't figure out what I'm supposed to be doing? How come I don't have a passion that I love so much. That's one of the hardest things.

[00:08:22] Kristin: That's interesting you say that. Cause I do always feel like sometimes these podcasts, I swear they're like a therapy session for me, but I feel like, I love a lot of things or I really like a lot of things, but there's not necessarily one thing that has to be the thing all the time. I'm always changing what I want to be doing day to day sometimes.

[00:08:40] Nicole: And I think that can be a very fun and interesting life to live. I've, I got, um, obsessed for a little while with the blue zones. Have you read about the blue zones philosophy?

Um, it is about longevity in life and longevity in life. And it this, I forget the guy's name. Amazing guy wrote this blue zones.

They did a study on pockets in the world that had very large populations of very old people, like a hundred plus. And they're like, what is it? Why are there like a hundred hundred plus people living in this tiny village, in Costa Rica or in Greece, or, they identified these seven places.

At least that's what they based the book. And there were all of these different trends. And one of the things was that they believe that having multiple careers throughout your life can lead to a longer life because you're more stimulated. You, these people are still worth literally like chopping down trees.

And many of these cultures, they live very simple lifestyles and they also had a lot of community and they felt like they had a purpose within their community. So there were a lot of different things, diet, exercise, all of that. But like the coming back to this idea that we have to find one thing and be passionate about it for the rest of our lives. I think it's crazy.

[00:10:15] Kristin: I agree. It's just... how am I expected to do that? Especially if it involves a desk job or a nine to five, same thing every single day. I don't know how people do it. Even when I was doing a career that was creative and interesting in fashion design, I still was like, I'm going to the same place and doing this every day and that's fine.

There's nothing wrong with it. It just, for me, it was not the end.

[00:10:35] Nicole: It's interesting. I just read this article in the New York times this past weekend. And it was about, I think the title was like watching your partner change or evolve is hard, but what it, basically the summary was what? So I'm taking this down to a relationship level, but I think it also applies to this career concept is that you meet someone you fall in love with them.

There's lots of hormones and all of that fun stuff at the beginning, but what you're really marrying is one version of a person. And it's a snapshot. If you go back in time, it's like a balance sheet, in business, it's a snapshot and that person and you too, you are also, from that person's perspective, you're the person who is never going to be the same as the day you met them.

So these versions, we keep changing, we keep evolving. It makes sense that our passions would change and evolve, too. And it makes sense that when you do find passions or careers or things that are calling to you, that there's going to be a honeymoon period where you're really excited. And then some people are born to crave routine and they do want to stick, in this, it gives them comfort.

It fulfills them in a certain way. Some people I'm not one of those.

[00:12:00] Kristin: I was

[00:12:01] Nicole: love

starting

[00:12:01] Kristin: you are.

[00:12:02] Nicole: No. And I get the sense that you aren't either, but I'm not good at sticking around. I'm good at starting and generating the energy and the momentum and the excitement, which makes you know, relationships hard, but makes careers really fun.

[00:12:21] Kristin: It's true. Cause you have to really work on it. I don't know, relationship in the same way, if you want to. I'm like, oh, you should just be able to go to one, to go for career. You want, it's not quite the same in the relationship aspect.

[00:12:31] Nicole: Yeah.

[00:12:32] Kristin: Complicated.

[00:12:33] Nicole: Yeah. unless you decide that's who you want to be.

[00:12:36] Kristin: Yeah. True. I'm like thinking about the relationship whole there's so many things to say about

[00:12:40] Nicole: go down that

rabbit hole if you want.

[00:12:42] Kristin: too big of a rabbit hole in my life. But, or too deep of a rabbit hole, I don't know which ones, but as far as the the sport thing say you qualified for the trials, but not the Olympics.

[00:12:53] Nicole: Correct. Yeah. And when I was 16, so I'm a hundred breaststroke and I did fine. I didn't know what I was doing. I was just like went to the Olympic trials. I had an experience, I got recruited to college. I swam in college. And I started to experience burnout along the way.

I was so dedicated and intense, in my high school years that in college, I was just letting loose, like crazy. And by the time college ended, I had Quit swimming once or twice come back to it. And when I was 22, I didn't have any kind of major or a career path that I was passionate about.

So I graduated from Yale university, Ivy league school have this degree, but no idea what to do with it. And what I was really good at was being an athlete socializer, but there's no career for that. And when you're not good enough for the Olympics and there's no professional swimming and I just was pretty lost, actually

[00:13:53] Kristin: How did you find triathlon?

[00:13:56] Nicole: I found triathlon?

because maybe sometime when I was in middle school, a seed had been planted when I was watching on the wide world of sports

[00:14:08] Kristin: Oh, that was my favorite.

[00:14:10] Nicole: it was amazing. And they covered the sin called the iron man. And there was this young. Not even almost woman, she was in college, Julie Moss, she was winning this crazy event where you like swam really far and rode your bike hundred miles or more.

And then you did a marathon at the end and she was winning out of nowhere. And everyone was like, how is she doing this very end? Her body just fell apart. And she crumpled to the ground. She's crawling crossline. And a woman pastor, she didn't even win. And as I watched that, even as a young kid, I was like, wow, that is so cool.

I was like, I want to do that someday.

I want to push

[00:14:53] Kristin: weird. Sorry. Go on.

[00:14:54] Nicole: It's so weird. It's some of us are just drawn to the gore and the guts and blood. And it was like, I don't want to push my body that hard some day.

[00:15:02] Kristin: I think so many of us have that memory. So many people I know that were, similar in age, watch ABC wide world of sports, or, sold videos years later. And that image is burned into so many brains. And yet somehow there's the weirdos of us that go, hi, how can I do that?

That's a thing like I want to do that. I can do that.

[00:15:24] Nicole: I want to go so hard that I collapse on national TV and poop my pants and don't even win. And it's crazy, but yeah, that was inspiring to me and I, so by the time I got out of college, I really didn't know what I was doing, but I actually got some advice from a counselor. My mom suggested I was feeling pretty like despondent, like I'm waiting tables.

I don't know what I'm doing. I have this degree. I have no purpose. And my counselor was like How about this is normal. You don't have purpose because you don't know what you're doing right now, but why don't you maybe think about doing this little exercise and maybe it'll just give you an, a little kernel to take the next step.

And she said, why want you to go home and write down every time in your life when you felt the most alive? When you have been happiest with yourself and I'm writing all these things and she goes, just write it all and then see if anything bubbles up. And after I made this big old list, a few days later, I was looking at it.

All those times that I felt the best I was fit and strong. Like I was in good shape. It wasn't the times when I had quit swimming and was drinking too much and partying and doing all the things, it was the times when I'd get a great workout and go play with my friends afterward and it was so I decided I created what I call a founding core principle for myself.

And I made this little mantra and it was when my body is fit and strong. My mind is fitter and stronger to. And just by saying that and writing it down and putting it out there in the universe, I was like, you know what this says to me, it doesn't give me a career path, but it tells me that no matter what I'm going to do in my life, it need, I need to make sure that I always prioritize fitness because when I am not fit and strong, I do not feel good about myself.

And I don't want to get depressed and I don't want to go down those, into that dark rabbit hole.

[00:17:33] Kristin: Yes.

[00:17:33] Nicole: So yeah I was like since I don't have a career path, then I'm going to do something that's been in my mind since I was younger. And I'm going to go see, I'm going to work on getting into the sport of triathlon.

See how it goes.

[00:17:46] Kristin: And it was still it wasn't a new sport by any means. You'd been watching it years earlier, but I feel like it hadn't caught the mainstream in the same way that it is now.

[00:17:57] Nicole: Yeah.

It wasn't. Yes. And no I think it's gone in waves. Like those early years, there was a lot of money in the sport. I think I entered the sport in the mid nineties. So I graduated in 94. I did my first triathlon that year. I remember crying afterwards, but it had nothing to do with being sad. It was like a total just like release.

And I, it wasn't like the best race or anything. In fact it was a crappy race, but I was like, I think I'm going to do this some more. So the next year in 1995, I did a whole bunch of races. And then I was like, okay, I had moved back to Chicago land. And I was like, I still don't know what I'm doing, but I can wait tables anywhere.

I'm going to go move to San Diego because that's where all the pros lived and I'm going to go see what else I can learn. Maybe I could get good enough to to do this at a higher level. So that was. Turning point in my entry into triathlon.

[00:18:58] Kristin: And so you ended up in San Diego then.

[00:19:01] Nicole: Yeah. Yeah. That was just, it was So crazy. Like I actually answered a classified ad in a newspaper because the internet really wasn't a thing. And it said roommate wanted, and it was these two guys who were also graduated from college and they were like former college volleyball players and they were hilarious.

And my room was like the size of a closet. And I just ended up living with them. And I hooked up with all the triathlon crowd in town and started swimming, biking, and running. And it was just, it was like this crazy, like three month, literally three month blip on my radar. And it just had such a huge, profound impact on my future.

[00:19:51] Kristin: So that's such a short period of time. What changed in three months that it was suddenly like, yes. Now I'm racing. I'm a professional. That doesn't happen just to everyone.

[00:19:58] Nicole: no, and I didn't turn pro in three months, but what happened is I qualified for the age group, world championships that were in Cancun, Mexico. And in October of 1995, I boarded an airplane to go to the race with a whole bunch of other team USA people. I was in the 20 to 24 age group and Tim to boom, walked down the center aisle of the plane and sat next to me.

And I just looked at him and I was like, this is the guy something's going to happen. And a year later we got married and Tim DeBoom, for anybody who's listening, who is a triathlete, he's a legendin our sport. He's in the hall of fame. He's won the Hawaii Ironman twice. And even at that age, he was already racing pro he was 25 and. I was just like this guy, he special he's got something.

[00:20:52] Kristin: He's also helps these really cute.

[00:20:53] Nicole: He was so Good looking. He still is. He's still it. Yeah, so that was the big shift. I met him and I moved in with him, just three months after I had moved to San Diego and we started a life together. We actually just sat our 25th anniversary a few a week, a couple of weeks ago.

[00:21:13] Kristin: Good thing you've been working on that one, unlike the career thing with the, just getting started and moving on.

[00:21:19] Nicole: Yeah.

Oh my gosh. Every relationship is it's got its ups and downs, and I believe that the higher, the more ups and downs you have, like the bigger swings in your careers, most people's relationships swing alongside that. And ours did for sure. So we're both grateful that we're here. We're both in a totally different chapter of life.

Neither of us are competitive in sport anymore. We're competitive in other things and we have different priorities. So Yeah.

[00:21:51] Kristin: So I would argue that you're also a legend, but most

[00:21:55] Nicole: I love that. Thank you.

[00:21:58] Kristin: you are, but I would say, I would assume if I was looking at your career, I'd say, okay. She, she had quite a few podiums, went on to win Ironman, Wisconsin, and, got was early mid thirties and said, you get too old for it or whatever, but that's not what happened with you.

[00:22:15] Nicole: No. Totally Not actually. So yeah, I Tim took me on a great ride. We traveled the world for decade and I turned pro about five years after I met him. It was you got to earn it, just keep racing age group until we think you're ready. And I did that. And so when I was ready, I turned pro my goal was to make, to break.

Even it wasn't to make money in every race. Although that is what actually happened for the six years I raised

that's like my claim to fame,

earned money and every race

[00:22:49] Kristin: It should be because I just watched this YouTube, it's the thing now that everybody's making YouTube videos about what kind of money you can make as a pro. And it's oh, so bad.

[00:22:58] Nicole: It's horrible. It's horrible. But from day one, I was able to break even, I remember doing my first it was an ITU drafting race. Like I didn't even know what distance or anything I just played. I tried everything and I think I got third and I made $1,500 and I was like, I paid for my trip and more like amazing.

And so I think there's also a thing like momentum, right? You get in the money once you raised some people and you're like, I'm actually racing I'm with this person who I'd never thought I could hang with. And and if you let it that momentum can really carry.

[00:23:39] Kristin: Yeah

[00:23:39] Nicole: Yeah,

I had an amazing career. I loved my career.

I have so many fun stories about my triathlon career. I raced with Tim a lot. I went, I raced on my own a lot towards the end of my career. So I started racing in 1999. My last pro race was in 2005. Tim was a pro from 1995 for 18 years. So whatever that is,

[00:24:07] Kristin: that just sounds too long and too

[00:24:09] Nicole: both trying to do the math till after our daughter was born, actually, which now he's oh, what I was thinking while I was still trying to race after we had her. But I watched him win Hawaii. I was racing pro and had my own goals and dreams, but he was winning the world championships.

So like, when we say you're a legend and you're also a legend, but he was a bigger legend. There's no denying. Like I saw what it took to win the Hawaii Ironman. The thing that Julie Moss was crawling across, the thing that makes a career and it takes sacrifice on levels that I was not willing to go for this sport, but also I'm realistic.

I was a great triathlete. I won a lot of really cool races, including that Ironman in Wisconsin. That actually jump-started my next career, but I just knew that. I had this to give to something and I was passionate about triathlon, but it didn't check all my boxes. I am a very relationship-driven person.

Triathlon is a very solitary is the wrong word. Maybe self-centered pursuit that could be you're pushing yourself. People say, I'm so inspired by you, or I'm getting something out of watching you do this X, Y, or Z, but you're doing it for you. So for me doing triathlon taught me a lot, allowed me to explore the world, but it became a stepping stone and I knew there would be something for me.

And when I found that passion, I would probably go all in. Like when I was a high school swimmer and decided to go all in. And it was my life and I wanted to give it everything and push beyond and sacrifice. Even my marriage, relationships like I was, it just wasn't going to be triathlon, but I did find it.

And I found it. I found it sooner or at a time that I never expected.

[00:26:10] Kristin: Yes. And that was Skirt Sports.

[00:26:12] Nicole: Yes, it was.

[00:26:15] Kristin: So I can imagine, I don't know, just talking to you and you saying loving to start things, I just imagine you with this idea and you're just like, oh,

[00:26:24] Nicole: Ideas are gold. It is the pot of gold, like the right idea at the right time for the right person. Is magic serious. Wow. And for me, it came in the form of actually being uninspired, like out in my training runs. And I literally had this run, I call my epiphany run where I saw my reflection. I was like, what?

I look like a boy, what am I doing out here? I'm still an inspired, I'm dressed like a boy I'm actually wearing men's clothing. Like, Why can't I change this? And it was one of those things where I'm like why I can change.

[00:27:02] Kristin: Why can't I change

[00:27:03] Nicole: It

wasn't a push, then it became like an exclamation. And I just said maybe I could make something that would make me feel like I'm not leaving my feminine side at home.

When I went and worked out and trained and raised. And at that time in the early two thousands triathlon clothing was very unisex. It was not cute. Everything was black. Like you literally bought men's clothing sometimes. and the things they made for women, they didn't even have tri suits. Women were actually racing iron mans in swimsuits bikini's and one piece swimsuits, not even a pad in those things.

[00:27:45] Kristin: and I think about it, cause I actually did work with a woman who has a company here, try girl. And she she had the same kind of experience where she was like, I'm wearing these soggy cotton men's whatever. And she had her background was in fit, fitting garments. So she was an athlete, her profession was, and she was like, I want to make something that actually fits a woman, that it's made for us instead of we'll just call it the female fit and make it a little bit smaller than a man's.

[00:28:13] Nicole: I know. And you're just, you're so in this world, so I know you get it and we could get down and dirty and talk technical, grading and sizing and, Shima allowances and all that crap. But the truth is I wanted to make something that made me feel cute. That's what I wanted.

And I did. And what I decided to do was focus on something that had never been done in the world of running and traveling, which was a fitness skirt. I was like, what's more feminine than wearing a skirt when you're out there in a race. And so I like dreamed up this thing. I'm like, oh, the Williams sisters they're so bad-ass, and they're like, when everything they do and they look so like good in their power women's clothing, I'm like they're doing it in tennis. Like the most traditional sport ever. Why can't we have some fun out there in these endurance sports. I tested my concept at the 2004 Ironman, Wisconsin. And it was like that one swim in high school, changed my trajectory. That iron man changed my trajectory because I wore a prototype of this crazy little loin, cloth, the skirt, and I'm actually looking at it right now.

I pulled it out the other day. It's on a little board and it I won the race and while I was in the iron man, I'm clipping people off on the run with this little skirt is like flowing. So cutely in like it's trickling the cold water down, keeping me cool. It was like a magic weapon and people on the course.

Cause it was a two loop course, went from yelling at go third woman to go skirt it's the skirt. It was like, we go through life in these chapters, creating identities for ourselves. My identity changed that day on the course from third woman or pro athlete or pretty darn good or a legend in triathlon to the skirt. I became the next version of myself that day. It was so cool.

[00:30:23] Kristin: And obviously, it backs it up to say not only is this cute, it's really practical. Like it actually works because it's not like you were like, oh, I'm going to go. Just puddle around town in it. You're winning an Ironman in it.

[00:30:33] Nicole: That's it.

like it became this really polarizing item of clothing. I had no idea this would happen. You, most things that happen in business when you're an entrepreneur and you start stuff and you have an idea, pretty much everything else happens, except the idea, the path you think it will go.

And there was a big camp of women who did not like this idea. They thought they were like, why should I have to look cute? This is. like hardcore athletes could never wear skirts. And I'm like, did you see the finish line photo? I wasn't that Ironman, I'm wearing a skirt. It's hard core.

But there was definitely this camp of women who just, they were not embracing it and it took a long time, but there was a much bigger camp who was like, oh my God, what took you so long? I didn't know that I needed this all my life. And honestly, going back to this idea of mat, the idea of magic ideas is that you deliver somebody, something at exactly the time they need it when they didn't know they needed it.

[00:31:39] Kristin: Yeah.

[00:31:39] Nicole: like they didn't know, but exactly at the moment that it's like becoming a thing, you hand it to them and they're like, that's what I wanted. And they snag it. And what these women wanted was this freedom in. Allowing themselves to show who they were allowing themselves the freedom to go out and work out in clothing that fit their bodies, that actually provided more coverage, but somehow looked sexier more coverage, equal equaled, sexier, and sexier equals more confidence for a lot of women.

It's a frame of mind,

[00:32:15] Kristin: agree. And I probably was probably more one of the camp that was like, why do I need to look cute? I'm just trying to exercise. But at the same time, testing out or running skirt, it's oh, I'm more confident because there is something that's covered, but I'm not worried about my shorts riding up.

Hey, I do look really cute.

[00:32:32] Nicole: it solves all of it. What's funny. I honestly believe that we, how pockets on the sides of legs are a thing like. Brand does that. We were the first ones to do that. If you look at our 2005 gym girl, ultra skirt, the pockets were tiny. They fit a credit card. That was the goal because phones weren't a thing.

We grew our pockets every year, but it's really funny. I definitely was at the very front end of this women's empowerment movement in sport. We the wave, the tsunami was starting. It was coming in and we were right there at the right time. And we just took this idea when.

[00:33:16] Kristin: And it did build a whole community around it that was empowering to women and, supporting women, getting into sports, supporting women at all levels, which I think is definitely another passion of yours.

[00:33:27] Nicole: Yeah.

for sure. And you being a baby triathlete when this was all happening, you were also at the forefront of this wave of women's sports empowerment. It was like, yeah, we can do iron mans, but now we can do iron mans, like looking. However we want to look you choose, what's going to give you the most confidence on race day.

[00:33:51] Kristin: It is interesting though. And I don't have the statistics for the states, but I know when I moved here to London, I did a, an Ironman actually right before I moved here. I'm trying to think what year that would have even been. It doesn't really matter 2009 or 10 or something. And at that point, I think it was 25% women in Ironman, UK.

Maybe it's other way around. Oh my gosh. I'm trying to quote a statistic, bad news, but basically it hasn't grown here as an endurance sport. If anything, I think the numbers have gotten smaller for women and it just makes me so mad. Cause I'm like, what are you? What are you people like? This is an awesome distance to race.

And I think there's still a little something in women going. I like triathlon, but I don't know if I'm ready for an Ironman.

[00:34:34] Nicole: yeah, and that could be, I could see that, the hope is that they found something and maybe they have found some crazy cardio Barre class or, something that just like fuels their flame. Cause that's really what we're looking for and not everyone's going to gravitate to the Ironman.

That takes a commitment, man. lot of time and, I will venture to say that women still take on more home caretaking childcare duties. Then often a male partner might, and therefore may find themselves feeling like they have less time to pursue things like this.

Then I'm hoping that is shifting all over the world. You talk about, talked about like community of women and women coming together through something as simple as like a piece of clothing that did happen with skirt sports. It does happen with sports in general. My true joy has always just been seeing women do things they didn't think they could do and find communities where they felt safe, accepted, and supported.

And. Watching elite triathletes compete in skirts, sports was fun, but watching a woman who maybe is plus size could never find clothing that fit her, always pulled her old, her husband's old gym shorts out, hated walking or going, working out in their neighborhoods. People might see her watching her break through those barriers because she found something that she actually excited her to get out the door way more fulfilling

[00:36:10] Kristin: Yes.

[00:36:11] Nicole: because it's opening in like a new universe.

And we know the power of fitness and empowerment and confidence has a ripple effect to everybody in our lives.

[00:36:24] Kristin: Yes. I absolutely agree with that from the, the, my coaching thing is showing women, they can do things that they didn't think they could do. I coached everyone but I get such a joy out of somebody coming to me and going, yeah, I really want to try it. I'm like, you're not going to try it.

You are going to do it like you absolutely can.

[00:36:41] Nicole: Oh, my gosh. Do you ever bring tactics from your acting life into your triathlon coaching life?

[00:36:49] Kristin: Of course, it's basically the same thing. It's just whether I have a script or whether I have to write my own.

[00:36:54] Nicole: Oh God. That's so awesome.

[00:36:56] Kristin: it definitely happens. You can't help it because I think the reason I, like one is sort of the other, there is still that vibe, there's still that communal thing.

So yeah, I do. That's nobody's ever asked me that, but it's

[00:37:10] Nicole: what it does is it shows that you may have a new career. But they're not necessarily parallel or linear, they overlap, you take things from your previous career and you use them in your next career. And there is, as you can look back over time, you can be like, oh my gosh, that skill obviously was the reason I, it, this new door was open to me or I was successful in this new thing.

And I only could have learned that skill from doing that previous career. So a lot of people get like anger or resentment or, things that are negative when certain jobs or careers end. But the truth is that if they can be patient and accept, they will look back and be like, oh duh, that brought me to the better place.

[00:37:59] Kristin: Yes. I feel like that might apply to you because I know that you've just sold or given up being a major player in Skirt Sports.

[00:38:08] Nicole: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. So I ran Skirt Sports for over 15 years, almost 16 years. And I got investors. We were not a small deal. Like we were at first. I just learned it.

all as I went. But over the time I was there, we did over $40 million in sales. We were not like

a hundred bucks a year. We helped a lot of women.

We put on races, we create, I started creating shit halfway through because I was like, I can't just do the same thing every year. I can't just be like, let's plan a season. Let's sell a season. Let's do the next season. I was like, I need more, so we, I was constantly coming up with new things and I realized part way through that. I w I needed to open my mind to the next chapter at some point, but. I didn't know when it would be and business, you can keep going forever because there are always things that happen. You can always try growing more. For me, I took investors on. I knew that I needed to give them an exit at some point, and that would probably be selling the company.

And I had a few cycles of the company where we were on a growth path and then there's a recession. And then everything went backwards for a while. And then you got to regrow. And every time I went through a cycle, it was three years. These aren't fast cycles. They take a while and you don't realize that until you go through a couple.

And I was like, I'm ready. I can't go through another three-year cycle. So when COVID hit, a couple of other things were going on, I was like, I don't have three more years in me to completely turn the thing around, again, get back on a growth track. I'm just going to make it happen. And. There's power in making those decisions that even if the timing isn't right.

And let's face it. The timing is often not right in life for anything, you just, you gotta make a decision and go for it. So I made a decision in 2020 to sell the business. And if I couldn't sell the business, I was like, I'm going to shut down the business. It would be heartbreaking, but I decided I was going to do one of the two things and they both happened simultaneously.

I had to shut down the business as I knew it, but as I was shutting it down, I found the most amazing partner to take it forward. And we're we do, we are still partners today, almost gosh, a year and a half later. And that partner is woman named Sarah rats live. She owned a women's running race series in the states.

Actually she worldwide called the ZOOMA women's race series. And I was like this is perfect. You have a lot of women runners, they need clothing. And she had been thinking about starting her own clothing brand. And I was like how about I just wrap one up for you? And we work out some kind of cool deal and we made it happen and she is continued the mission of empowering women.

So it's really cool.

[00:41:18] Kristin: Yeah, I've been on the website and I just love just, the images of really just empowered, looking, happy, looking and gorgeous the cloud of course, women. So

[00:41:29] Nicole: Yes. Yes. And when you let go of something, it is hard letting go of something that even though you want to let go of it, if you've been that invested for so long, it takes a lot. So I focused on letting go for about a year. It took me a long time. And during that time, I was like, had these moments of thinking.

I've got to figure out what I'm doing next. But I kept returning to the advice a friend of mine gave me, which was Nicole, you cannot start something new until you fully give yourself. The chance to let go of this beautiful thing that you it's like a baby to you, that you birthed and reared and for so many years, you've got to do that justice.

So I gave into the fact that I may not have a new thing that I would be letting go with nothing on the other side. And that was scary. But but it, everything brings us to where we are. So there are times when you feel overwhelmed with like indecision or purposelessness, right? You got to keep coming back to those core values and know that you can't sit in that place of discomfort forever.

You can't, the universe won't let you something will happen either. You'll do it or somebody else will or something else. Fall out of the sky and your life will not stay here forever. So except the discomfort from time to time, we're endurance athletes, we know how to run around in a comfortable state of discomfort.

[00:43:07] Kristin: Yes. As my old coach would say, and I always say to my athletes, it doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

[00:43:14] Nicole: Interesting. Oh, I like that.

[00:43:17] Kristin: think that's a triathlete. And for me, a bit of a life mantra, to be honest,

[00:43:21] Nicole: Yeah, totally.

[00:43:23] Kristin: him Ross Golitsky. Thank you, Ross.

[00:43:27] Nicole: I like you Ross.

[00:43:28] Kristin: Yes. I like Ross too. He's amazing. So because I mentioned how I'm now, like your daughter's my hero and your quote was something she said that relates to what finally became your new venture.

[00:43:42] Nicole: Yeah.

[00:43:43] Kristin: Mind sharing your quote.

[00:43:45] Nicole: It took a year for me to figure out what I was going to do next to that might check my boxes and actually bring some income into the household. If you can have a luxury of not having to bring income, then more power to you. But that one thing always adds that extra pressure for people.

So I decided that what I did next would not involve inventory. Would not involve seam allowances would not involve sizing And grading and pricing and clearance and all the things. I decided to use a skill. I learned from podcasting to start a new business. And I started a company a few months ago called Aesop, like the fables, right?

A E S O P. My a website is Aesop nation.com. And what I do is I help people share and preserve the stories of their lives by interviewing them and creating these like little personal podcasts.

[00:44:47] Kristin: The reason I love your daughter so much is because I listened to the one with her and I was done.

[00:44:52] Nicole: It is like the best sample I've put up part of it's because we have a good rapport, but it's been interesting again. I'm just letting the business do what it does. I launched it. People were like awesome idea, and people are booking them, but they're booking them for all kinds of different reasons than I thought some people are booking these interviews for their businesses.

Like you could book an interview as a triathlon coach and put it on your, about me page on your website because it's people read a paragraph. They're like, oh, she did a bunch of stuff. But do I like her, like hearing someone's voice and listening to their stories gives you greater connection. We know that through podcasting, people are booking these as a bereavement gift to somebody who wants to hear stories about a parent, they lost.

So I'll interview their family members and then they can go back and listen, people are just booking these because they want to document a moment in time. Having that 15 minute episode of my daughter's voice when she was nine. Yeah. I've got videos on my phone and here and there, but to really just be able to play that or while you're out on a Walker or a workout, like it's pretty powerful.

So anyway, so I start this thing and literally weeks later, I'm like, I need to have a major surgery and I am the sole operator of this business. Like I have to put this business on hold while I go and fix my body that has broken down after so many years of endurance sports. So in December, just a few weeks ago, I had a spinal fusion, which is a big deal.

[00:46:35] Kristin: And you were emailing me right before you went in and then you emailed me. I had in my diary to contact you in three weeks from now and you're contacting me yeah, I've just come out of surgery. When do you want to talk?

[00:46:46] Nicole: I have this like really fuzzy memory of emailing, a couple people from the hospital. I'm like, I did that.

[00:46:54] Kristin: I was

[00:46:54] Nicole: I don't even remember, but I think it was somewhat coherent. Like you have these moments after a surgery like that, where you have clear mind, but most of the time for a while, a few days or a week, it's pretty fuzzy.

So yeah, we're sitting here and I'm recovering, I'm getting to the story about my kids, quote I'm recovering from the surgery, spinal fusion, my back broke basically. And I needed to get it surgically fixed. I could not fix it through massage or, like you can't move your vertebrae back into place by stretching, and my, I couldn't.

[00:47:29] Kristin: Oh, that's so grim face, but it's so

[00:47:31] Nicole: Oh,

And I never wanted to have surgery night hate drugs and all of the things, I have myself like substance abuse issues from my college days in my younger years. Like I didn't want to be on any drugs that would make me too excited to be on those drugs, but so I had all these fears going into the surgery, but I come out of it and I'm dealing the first few weeks. The first few weeks were hard. There was a lot of pain. I had to manage it through meds. But the fourth week, which was literally last week, I started to feel good. And then I felt this thing. I haven't felt in a long time.

I was bored last time. Any of you? I felt bored. And I was like, I don't have any purpose. Like my business. I don't have anything to do right.

now. I'm not interviewing anybody right now. And maybe it's just not going to, I'm not going to be busy enough. And I started going down this like crazy thought cycle and my daughter was there and I was like, Wilder, her name's Wilder.

She's so awesome. She just turned 10. And I was like, why is there? I'm just feeling I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing. And I started this new business and it's not like busy right now in first thing, she looked up at me and she goes, you want it to be busy? And that thought right there just stop me dead in my track.

And I was. No, I don't want to be busy like this last thing I want, but why did I feel like, so I think this is just a very human thing. We go through these crazy moments, right? And I'm like, I don't want to be busy, but I want something. And then I started saying ridiculous things. You don't say to a kid. I was like I like, I want to make money.

This is the dumbest thing to say to a ten-year-old. Because I want us to be able to be happy and have fun and do the things we love. And she just looked at me and she goes mom, money's not going to get you any of that. And I said, how low? Isn't this what I've told her? Isn't this what I've been preaching?

Like how did my head even get there? And I think what was so beautiful about it. Is that, we say things to our kids and other people in our lives and we think they don't hear it. And every once in a while they throw that shit back at us and we need to hear it at that exact moment.

[00:49:52] Kristin: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:49:54] Nicole: What do you think?

[00:49:55] Kristin: I don't have kids, but I do have nieces and nephews and other kids in my life. And I have to say, when the old TV show, the kids say the darndest things and there's an Instagram from the mouths of what is it, snack time and something snack time.

[00:50:11] Nicole: Oh, I

[00:50:11] Kristin: Oh my God.

If you overheard it, snack time, I think is what it is. And it's just these kids saying the most ridiculous things, but it's their wisdom is so far beyond their years. And for whatever reason, that's hilariously funny as.

[00:50:24] Nicole: They don't have this emotional attachment to an outcome that we do. We're like, I must do things so I can make money and making money means that we can, XYZ and all they have is the basics, the real true wisdom at its core.

[00:50:43] Kristin: There's no filter. It's just like duh mom. That's not going to make you happy.

[00:50:48] Nicole: and I know that it's the stupidest thing. I think having these little soundbites, these little things that we can come back to this core, founding mantra, body fit and strong mind fit and strong, duh, my body wasn't fit and strong, of course my mind was breaking down, like that there will be time for that and it will come back and just knowing we've lived a lot of years, I have 50. And if you follow the blue zones, you could be over a hundred. I'm only halfway there,

[00:51:18] Kristin: Yeah, I think about that a lot, because, you hear middle-aged . And middle age, especially in the UK is really associated. Middle-aged here means pretty much old. Like they don't look at somebody who's like thirties and forties and say middle age, it's like a polite way to say old, but at the same time, 50, if you do the right things and you're lucky enough, 50 is really middle age.

You think, god, I could have more than half my life still left. There's a lot still to do. Why would I not change my career? Or why would I not try new things?

[00:51:48] Nicole: You know,

why? Because it's scary and there's fear in change and not having stability. And I often say like, if money wasn't involved with making this decision, what decision would I make? Money clouds, everything, but you can't deny that it is part of our human condition. It's just part of the culture.

If you don't have any kind of sense that money needs to be involved in your life. I don't know if you can survive. Maybe you can go live in one of those blue zone villages and chop wood. But most people aren't willing to make that big of a change. So it's there, but if you can often step back from it and just go, what decision would I make from my heart?

And my core, not my head

[00:52:38] Kristin: might

[00:52:38] Nicole: be a truer decision..

[00:52:40] Kristin: I love this idea of Aesop so much. I think it's just, everybody has a story to tell, and as I told you, before we started recording, I'm so big on telling, especially the women's 35 plus kind of stories, but not everybody always gets an opportunity to tell the story.

The fact that you can interview someone and help pull out their stories and really share that. And like you said, that moment in time, so beautiful.

[00:53:01] Nicole: it really

Is. And when you are continuing your evolution in your path, we all have different processes on how we find the next thing that we are called to do. And mine kept coming back to connection in the times of COVID, which is hard empowerment, helping people feel like they did something meaningful and at the end of the day, just giving yourself a little purpose because I could be very happy going out and having outdoor recreation all day.

But I need just a couple hours of those things. I just mentioned in order to refill that part of my pot. You know, If I was just going out and having outdoor recreation all day, I'd be doing the self-centered triathlon thing that I did before. And that didn't fulfill me. And at the end of the day, once you get old enough to see the perspective and maybe take some of the pressure off, this might not be where I end up.

This could just be a stepping stone to the next thing again.

[00:54:03] Kristin: Well, yeah, you just said halfway through, you've got plenty of time to do many things.

[00:54:08] Nicole: Yeah, we all do. I know when people start new careers in their seventies, it makes me so happy,

[00:54:14] Kristin: Me too. I love it so much.

[00:54:16] Nicole: We got to make a pact. We got to do something new in our seventies.

[00:54:19] Kristin: I'm in, I'm a hundred percent in yeah, I am a hundred percent in, so the other two podcasts, still doing those too? I mean, You are, what is it? Electrifying energy.

[00:54:31] Nicole: It's funny. I tried to quit all my podcasts. This is also interesting when you decide, like I'm just going to leave that behind and then it comes back. Like it won't let you, so I actually stopped my run this world with Nicole DeBoom podcast. I ran it for over five years and then I was like, I'm just not being called to it anymore.

And then I like it came back. It just came back into my lap and was like, you need to continue me please. So I've relaunched it. I just decided I'm not going to edit any episodes. I'm doing them all live, like whatever. I'm just going to make it easy because it's really, for me, it was about getting those stories out.

And then I, I started a podcast with the new owner of Skirt Sports. It's called, She Runs It ,and we did it for like a year and it was getting harder and harder to make it happen. And I always see that as a sign, when you cancel and you can't reschedule and it's harder and harder. And finally we took some time off and we said it needs a new focus and we're both excited about it.

It's going to be about women in business. Women's business empowerment.

[00:55:39] Kristin: Which you obviously both know something about.

[00:55:41] Nicole: We do. And, Yeah.

We both own clothing companies. I did. She does. And so our market or our audience might shift a little bit, but it doesn't really matter because now we're going to speak about something that is really pulling at our hearts.

And that's when I think you're going to see success, who cares if less people, listen, if more people are impacted by the listening, do you know what I mean?

[00:56:06] Kristin: Yeah.

Every once in a while I get down, oh, I don't have as many listeners yet as I would like and all this kind of stuff. And then I realized the same people are coming back to Instagram and talking to me and I'm getting these, the numbers though.

They're growing. There's that core number that I'm like, I know these are the people that are listening again and again. So it is making some sort of an impact. So thank you. Thank you people. But it makes me really happy because this isn't triathlon. I'm not meant to be just sat here talking to myself.

[00:56:33] Nicole: No, you're a fantastic interviewer. You make people feel comfortable. People feel that from you through the airwaves, and you're giving people something that they want. And in your case, it's inspiration. You're motivating people, you're helping them grow and

That's what we're all looking for.

[00:56:50] Kristin: I'm going to bring this full circle and just say fan girl moment. Kristin, baby triathlete. Nicole said you were inspiring and a good interference.

[00:57:04] Nicole: Ah, I love it. Guess what? That's I'm going to just claim ripple effect on all of it. Maybe some of the stuff I did ripple to you now you're rippling back to me. So there.

[00:57:17] Kristin: Excellent. I have nothing more that I could say or hear that would make me happier. Is there anything else you would like to share with the people listening?

[00:57:25] Nicole: You know, I just appreciate when people are open and you reached out to me I don't have to do interviews, whatever, but there was something about the connection we had through Pam. And I thought, I need to be open. I'm going to have this conversation because it's going to bring me something great. And I feel like that today.

So for everybody listening, you know, whatever you got out of this, maybe you got one thing, just take it with you and open your heart, open your mind and keep on your run or your workout, or however you're listening. And just remember that it doesn't have to be the end thing, but it can be your stepping stone to whatever comes next.

[00:58:05] Kristin: Amazing. Thank you, Nicole.

[00:58:07] Nicole: Thank you. Have a great day.

[00:58:09] Kristin: You too, actually, it's nighttime here, but have a great day yourself.

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