Getting an early start – walking at 9 mos
At the age of 6, I moved to an acreage outside of Edmonton where I lived for most of my life. I went to a small elementary school in Duffield, Alberta. This school greatly emphasized the importance of sports. From an early age, I played almost every sport imaginable. By the time I was 8, I had started to run – but not too seriously it was just one of the many sports that we did. To be honest in the beginning, I did not like running all that much and was one of the slower runners. I began to run more seriously when at noon hour there was the choice to play softball or run. I enjoyed softball even less than running so chose to run. Once I started to run on a more regular basis, I began to really enjoy it and started to excel at it as well.
YIKES!! Everyone has their awkward moments
When I reached Junior High (grades 7-9) I was running pretty seriously – racing track meets as well as a few road races. I went onto High School in Stony Plain, Alberta and continued on with my running. Throughout all of this I still did many other sports – volleyball, basketball, badminton etc but running had become the most important and would definitely take priority over the
Heather’s 16th Birthday with future husband
In high school, I met Roch Frey (now my husband). Roch was a great swimmer and had begun to dabble in triathlons. Roch would come out and run with me but I could not swim so I would go and watch his swim meets. When Roch did his first triathlon in 1983, I was there cheering him on. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Roch compete however I thought he was totally insane. How could one person compete in a race that consisted of three sports?? I think the reason that it seemed so crazy to me was that I could not swim. The idea never even crossed my mind to try and compete. I continued on with my running and both Roch and I competed for the University of Alberta – me in Cross-country and Track and he in swimming.
1989 Mom and Dad – University Grad
University of Alberta
My running was starting to plateau off by the time I reached university. I was running more and getting slower – my body and mind needed a break. In 1988 I decided to see if I could do a triathlon, after 5 years of watching Roch. Since I could not swim, I took a stroke improvement class (more of a learn to swim class really). I began by being able to swim 1 length of a 25 meter pool, barely. The class went on for a few months and by the time it was finished, I was capable of swimming a 1500m without stopping. I was most certainly not setting any speed records but I could at least keep going.
Since I was able to cover the distance in the pool, I was now ready for my first triathlon – the Turkey Trot Triathlon in Calgary, Alberta in April of 1988. This triathlon was an indoor race – we swam 1000m in the pool, then jumped on our wind trainers and biked for 20km and then ran around an indoor 200m running track for 5kms. I completed the race and was hooked on triathlons.
As I began to supplement swimming and biking training in with the running – my running began to improve again. I continued to run track and X-country for the University of Alberta and in 1989 had my most successful running season – placing 5th in the 1500m at the Canadian Indoor Track Champs.
By 1989, I had turned into a true tri-geek. I was really enjoying racing triathlons and was starting to see some local and national success. Roch was still the more serious racer of the two of us, he was one of the top triathletes in Canada and was starting to do some races outside of Canada and placing fairly well. I truly believed that I would race triathlons as a hobby however and that I would soon enter the workforce.
I was going to be an accountant
Upon completing my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Alberta (UofA), I started to article for my CA (CPA in the US) in 1989. I worked for the firm Deloitte & Touche in Edmonton. This was it, I was going to be an accountant!!
In 1990 Roch had graduated from UofA with a Bachelor of Physical Education degree and was planning to make a go as a professional triathlete. To do this he needed to move somewhere where the weather was more conducive to training. He decided that Victoria would be a great place. As Roch was planning this, I had the deep desire to see if I could actually make a go at racing triathlons more seriously.
I asked if I could get a leave of absence from my job for a few months so that I could “get this triathlon thing out of my system”. Once I did this, I would come back and resume my work as an accountant. Needless to say, that was 11 years ago and I haven’t been back since.
So, we were going to do this – try and be professional triathletes. Since we were both going now, we decided that we would go somewhere that the weather was really great – San Diego, CA. In January of 1991, we packed up the car and headed down to sunny San Diego to become “professional triathletes” – whatever that meant. We rented ourselves a 2-bedroom apartment with another friend and put all of our energy into training. We had a ball and continued to migrate to San Diego in the winter and then return to Canada for the summers for the next 4 years.We made the move permanently to San Diego in 1995 when Roch started to coach at UCSD. That’s the way it’s been until now.