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Key to success for elite athlete-businesswoman-mom? Balance

The calendar on Christina Noordstar's refrigerator has two entries for the Gasparilla Distance Classic weekend: Saturday: 15K. Sunday: Half Marathon.

"I keep my training schedule right there where I can see … on my phone, in the kitchen … that's why I never miss a day," said the 39-year-old mother of two from Tierra Verde. "The key is consistency. That is the way to achieve any goal."

Noordstar, one of the Tampa Bay area's top age-group runners, seems to have found the secret to what most recreational athletes strive for: balance.

"How do you do it all …?" said Noordstar, who also is a successful businesswoman and a motivational speaker. "It is hard to juggle a career, family and still find time to stay in shape."

Noordstar, who made her mark as an elite triathlete before turning her attention to running, is getting ready to run the Paris Marathon on April 3 so she worked two of this weekend's Gasparilla Distance Classic races into her training schedule.

"Running a decent 15K followed by a half marathon is a great way to get some speed work in and still work my endurance," said Noordstar, who hopes to run a 2:54 in France. "I try to make the most of every opportunity."

Noordstar, who owns and operates several Tropical Smoothie franchises, is an active public speaker. Here are some highlights from one of her motivational sessions, and what works for her:


Have a vision and set clear goals. If your vision is to be a marathon runner, then make sure you have a clear training plan. Check in on it every day. There are days when you are going to find that it is hard to make a workout, but those are the days that are most important. If you break it down into pieces, one thing, one day at a time, it will be easier to manage. But you need a vision and you need goals.


Surround yourself with people who make you want to be better. I surround myself with people who help make me a better athlete, better mom, better business leader. Surround yourself with people who have the same goals. I have a real close-knit group of running friends. We all do marathons, so running 90 miles a week is normal to us, which other people might find absurd.

Take risks. Sign up for big things. Face your fears.

To achieve things that you dream of or want to complete in life, you have to go after things that might seem a little scary at first. Who knows where I would be if never signed up for that first Ironman or marathon.

Work hard.

Have daily rituals that lead you to your goals. This is the action part of the vision. You can set all of the goals you want, but if you don't take action, you will never get anywhere. I run 10 miles a day, every day, and for me, it is like just brushing my teeth. If I don't do it, I just don't feel right. You have to work … it is what you eat, the books you read, the sleep you get … you have to keep at it.


Celebrate, have gratitude and enjoy life. Reap the rewards of your hard work. Enjoy every day. I visualize my finish times. I fall asleep with those numbers in my head. Your mind can help make it happen. Be positive. You have to have the right attitude.

Mark Hadley, a North Carolina-based running coach with Noordstar, credits her success on and off the track to her good attitude.

"She has figured out how to maintain a positive balance," said Hadley, who has coached numerous Olympic hopefuls. "She never allows herself to get negative. Life will throw you a lot of hurdles, but Christina, like most elite runners, takes them in stride. She knows what she wants and she always stays focused. In the end, it is a balancing act."

Contact Terry Tomalin at

Lace up or follow along

There will be numerous Gasparilla Distance Classic races today and tomorrow in Tampa. For more information, visit

For live coverage, go to

Key to success for elite athlete-businesswoman-mom? Balance 02/18/16 [Last modified: Thursday, February 18, 2016 6:16pm]
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