Her day starts in the wee hours of the morning, and her endless energy makes any sane person question, how? Meet Tanya Cowgill, superwoman—mom of five, high-flying career woman and triathlete.
Tanya is from small-town Donna, Texas, where the it places growing up were a Whataburger and a Burger King. Most of the people from her hometown stayed in Donna after high school, but Tanya had a different plan.
She received a college degree in finance and accounting, while purposely steering clear of all banking classes. Ironically, Tanya began working at a bank when she entered college. After advancing through various roles at different banks, she found a love for her career and currently holds the title of Vice President of Happy State Bank based in Allen, Texas.
We sat down for coffee at The Frogg Coffee Bar & Creperie at Allen’s Watters Creek, and after ordering a muffin, Tanya admitted that even triathletes indulge in high calorie treats every now and then.
Tanya’s quirky personality shined bright as she went cross-eyed before taking us through a day in her life, “I get up around 4:30 and workout for an hour…get cleaned up and get the kids up…work…I’m home by 5/5:30…get supper ready…play with the kids and do homework, talk and read with them. The kids are in bed by 9:30 and [my husband and me] are out.” We’re not talking microwaved meals or a jog around the block. Tanya is a triathlete who leaves her high-powered corporate job every night by 5:30 to cook her family a meal from scratch.
Triathlon was a foreign word to Tanya up until April of 2015 when she started training for her first race. She wasn’t a strong swimmer and didn’t know how to bike, but she got roped into the races anyway. “It’s all my husband’s fault,” she joked. Tanya’s husband swam competitively growing up and has competed in many IRONMAN Triathlons, a long-distance triathlon race consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile run, completed in that order and without a break.
“We’re those goofy people in all their spandex,” she said as she playfully raised her hand, “Yeah, that’s me.”
Tanya has competed in countless races since spring of last year. On September 25, 2016, she participated in her very first full IRONMAN—IRONMAN Chattanooga. Over 2,700 athletes competed in the race, and although Tanya didn’t place first, she didn’t come in last either, rounding out the race at a total time of 15:28:58. “Races aren’t as much a challenge against others as they are a challenge against yourself.”
In fact, Tanya spent 20-24 weeks training 10-16 hours per week in preparation for her first IRONMAN. Despite the many hours it takes to prepare for a race, Tanya’s blended family has actually benefited from her rigorous training schedule. Three of Tanya’s five children enjoy training by her side. “One daughter will ride her bike beside me, another will swim with me, and my stepson will run with me sometimes.” It’s a bond between her and the kids that has taught them healthy living as well as fostering focus, determination, discipline and drive.
“My kids are happy and healthy, I’ve got an incredible husband, I work for a great company and with great people.” If she could change three things: Laundry would be nonexistent, her extended family would live closer and she would add more hours to the day…for a new project.