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Ambassador Spotlight: Esther Houghland

Spotlight for this week is on SBMAT Ambassador, Esther Houghland.  Many of you probably “know” her from her lovely antics and posts in Tri-Fecta, but she’s a great joy to know and a fabulous ambassador for women who tri.



Esther Houghland

City/State: Mesa, Arizona

Age Group: 43

Biggest Inspiration: My Cray Cray Family!  My husband is my rock!  He has been a consistent supporter of everything I do.  When I decided to go back to school for my Master’s degree, he was there for me.  As for racing, Robbie is my cheerleader, photographer, mechanic, tear wiper, parent (telling me to rest) and the person to tell me that I can complete anything.  I am my strongest when I see him smiling and cheering me on.  He has coined many phrases that have lifted me up but “Embrace your inner Jiggle!” is my favorite.


Our two girls (age 10 and 12, but they really think they should be able to drive and have a credit card) ground us and their smiles and laughter fuel our zest for life.  I want to show our children that hard work will never fail you!  We believe in laughter and our family.  Finally Meredith Atwood is my hero!  After reading her book, I was energized and wanted more than anything to become a triathlete.  When I grow up, I want to be like her!  The only problem. I’m older then her!


Scary 2015 Goal: Yikes…. Ironman Arizona and HITS Lake Havasu Full.

crush it

How Triathlon Changed Me:  My motto is “I’m alive!  So why not!”  After losing 70 plus pounds, I needed a healthy way of getting into shape.    Triathlon has made me appreciate me and taught me patience!  Strengths and flaws!  Before triathlon, I had a difficult time believing in myself and expected changes to be immediate.  The that moment changed  me was when I was the last triathlete to cross the line during the Arizona Espirt deShe.  I was ready to give up and the thought of making this my last race entered into my mind.  Embarrassed and defeated, I just wanted to hide.


Then these fabulous girls from the Tucson Tri Girls who already finished and rocked the race return back to the run course to make sure everyone was okay.  Totally perfect strangers came back and believed in me!  They didn’t allow me to give up and became my biggest cheerleaders!  They ran with me the whole last leg of the race and got me water.  Some of them even ran forward to make sure that the aid stations and cold towels were ready.


When the finish line approached, they dropped back and allowed me to cross the finish line alone.  If total complete strangers believed in me, well I better do that too.  I embrace my flaws but I love my strengths. Who cares that I was dead last!  My biggest regret!  I should have asked those fabulous ladies to cross the finish line with me.

tempe tri

Favorite Piece of Gear: My SBM Tri top and Tri shorts!  Hawt/Sizzle and comfortable!  Slick Laces!

I Race For:  I race for myself and my family.  I love seeing my family waiting for me at the finish line!

tempe two

How I Pay It Forward:  At work, I am an active mentor for our students (I’m a Nursing Instructor).  We are involved with food bank donations, school supply drive and fund raiser for the Asthma Walk in Phoenix.  I have been known to go to races to cheer on friends who are racing.  As a nurse, I have helped people who are injured or hurting during races.   While participating in the annual Scale the Strat fund raiser in Los Vegas, one participant started to have difficulty finishing the stair climb to the top of the Stratosphere.  I stopped and assisted that individual until help arrived.  I would love to get more women involved in triathlons.


What Else You Should Know About Me:   

I played competitive hockey when I was a kid (but I still have all my teeth).  I love Star Wars and Star Trek. I call me myself a CanAsian (I’m of Asian descent that grew up in Canada).

Finally, I would like to find a way to make poutine as a viable fueling option during a triathlon. 🙂


How to Follow Me:






  • Sibyl

    December 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I enjoyed your post so much, and am now following your blog! I am 44 and a grandma, as well as a triathlete who regularly finishes in the bottom half of my age -group. We are out there and that’s what counts!

  • Heather

    December 8, 2014 at 9:32 pm

    Your poutine comment made me laugh! I’m in Ottawa for business and the whole way up I kept wondering how far the nearest place for poutine would be from my hotel. I’m from Chicagoland. There’s one place in town that has it on their menu. It’s ok, but it tastes better in Canada!


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