Swimming Clears My Mind
Ask Maria Castro
about the water and the first thing that comes to mind is “calm”. “It clears my mind, ” she told me. A lifelong endurance athlete, Castro has had a relationship with swimming from a very young age. Growing up in Honduras, she became a competitive swimmer – and never looked back from there. Maria continues to swim and speaks with gratitude when talking about how the sport has shaped her life. When speaking about her childhood, Maria fondly recalled that swimming made her childhood in Honduras special.
That Chlorine Smell
One of the most exciting memories of Maria’s childhood was her recollection of people making fun of her chlorine smell. “As a competitive swimmer, we had to get in the pool during school days, so I would have a chlorine smell,” she stated. Laughing, she said the smell immediately takes her back to her high school days in Honduras. Now an SBR Sports Inc. Ambassador,
Maria uses TRISWIM after every swim. “There’s no longer a chlorine smell and it makes my hair feel good too,” she told us. She settled on the tropical flavor as her favorite.
Running in Argentina and Overcoming the Bike Jitters
Maria recalls the first time her road to another endurance sport started: her time as a college student in Buenos Aires, Argentina. “I wouldn’t always have access to a swimming pool,” Maria recalled. “I started running and fell in love with running around the city.”
Around the time of the Covid-19 Pandemic, Maria picked up biking. Initially, she was reluctant and did not enjoy it. “My first bike was a mountain bike.” Riding on technical trails as a beginner was like being a fish out of water for Castro, but she eventually found her way to a road bike. The journey was not linear for Maria, as it took her plenty of base training and hard work to become comfortable on her bike. She recalled doing multiple 100K rides and a century ride before her first Half-Ironman at IMAC in 2022. “I did the century ride because I wanted to feel confident in my abilities,” she said. “Everything I did was in zone 2 and base.”
The Road to Ironman Atlantic City
In September of 2022, Maria did her first half-ironman in Atlantic City. The journey to the event consisted of a build-up from sprint triathlons to Olympic triathlons to Ironman. Maria is the mom of a six-year-old boy and spoke with optimism about the adjustments she needed to make as a parent. “I’d wake up at 4:30 to get in sessions before my son woke up,” she recalled. “Sometimes it was a run, sometimes a bike, and sometimes a swim.” For gym sessions, Maria advised finding a gym with a daycare. Speaking of her son, Maria proudly spoke about how he was getting into sports. “He left his sip bottle on the yoga mat,” she said while laughing. To ensure she was there for her son, Maria would often jump on her bike trainer. “I can be there for him and get a ride in,” she explained.
When race day came, Maria was ready. She recalls the swim going smoothly, but was absolutely shocked by how well the bike went for her. “I had only trained in base so I was happy with how well I did on the bike with riding and fueling,” she exclaimed. Maria recalls the last 3 miles being the hardest, as she wanted to slow down knowing she would finish. With the support of two other triathletes, Maria decided that she needed to push. “It was just 20 more minutes!”
Now, Maria sets her sights on Ironman Texas in the Fall of 2023.
You Deserve It
“I am not the grind every day nobody cares type of person,” Maria smiled. Castro explained to us that she has to be flexible as a mom and a wife, but gushed about how grateful she is to have such a supportive partner. “He knows I am an endurance athlete and helps me a lot,” she said. Asked about what she thinks beginner athletes, moms, and those who are unsure about their path should remember, she gave us one of her other mantras: you deserve it. “Everybody deserves that time for themselves and that feeling, ” Castro explained. “You deserve that for you.”