Archive for the ‘testimonials’ Category:

Holly W

In April of 2012, I acquired a road bike.  I spent a few weeks out riding at Stone Mountain.  It was then that I decided I needed a plan and that I’d attempt a triathlon.  So, I went to the bookstore, bought a book on triathlon and started reading.  I realized I needed to start swimming, and luckily I manage operations at a swim club so that was going to be simple!  I started swimming, biking, and running following along with my book as if it were my bible.  I decided my first race would be Iron Girl.  It was a sprint, and I felt confident that I could finish it.  I finished 22nd in my age group.  My swim was 2:47/100m, bike 17.3 mile average, and run 7:22/mile. That’s when Maria Thrash and Laura decided to discuss training with me a little bit friends to friend.  So, I rode…and I rode…and I rode. I got dropped…and dropped…and dropped.  I still continued on determined to get better at it, through my dropping.  I went on to compete in a few other small sprint races that summer and I actually did pretty well finishing-wise.  In the last 3 races, I got 2nd in my age group twice and won my AG once.  I didn’t place in the Tri the Mountains race, as I finished 4th.  My results from that race were 13:48 swim, 18.3 mile avg on bike, and 7:32 run pace finishing 1:43.07.  The race I won my age group was in Athens, GA and I was shocked when Laura and Barbara Chandler said “HOLLY – you won your age group!” I said “no way…”..they showed me I did and I looked at it…and thought “hmm…I guess you did win your age group…it says it right there.”…and needless to say it was shocking but kind of cool, especially considering I also saved a struggling swimmer in the midst of the 400m quick swim.  It was kind of embarrassing with the pictures being taken and them making a big fuss, but at the same time I was pretty darn happy that they thought I did well.

Fast forward a few months later and still riding the bike, running and swimming two times a week in the off-season.  Laura and I discuss it seriously, and I say “well, if it won’t be too much of an issue for you, I’d like you to coach me.”  She said she’d love to and that we’d start January 1.  I first completed tests for swimming and running.  She said “your run is great…your swim, we need to work on that.”  So, that’s when I got more serious about what I was doing.  I didn’t have a chance to meander through my run and swim workouts doing whatever felt comfortable.  I needed to ride hard on the weekends and in bike class…and I needed to swim more.  We had to get through a few bumps in the road along the way…which we did and then I ran a 10k.  I had never run that distance, though running was definitely my strength of the three.  Well, I finished it in 44:45.58.  Compared to the likes of who I was competing with now that I look at it and know more of the names, I did do well thanks to Laura!  She decided that we were doing a race in April, our first tri of the year.  I thought “she’s nuts…I’m going to freeze!”….It was cold, but we survived via wetsuit and arm warmers!  It was then that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I needed Laura specifically to coach me because when I don’t have a darn good excuse (being a wimp doesn’t count), I will be doing whatever race she needs me to do and I need to do for myself and that she would do what it took to get me to where I wanted to and could be.  A year before that, I asked her “Laura, do you think I’ll ever be able to ride 20mph, because I’d really like to be able to.”  She said with a smirk “yes, Holly…you will ride 20 mph.”  I secretly knew if I could ride that fast I wouldn’t be dropped by everyone, so that was really my only goal in 20 mph.  Before the Red Line Super Sprint, I said “this is a secret but I really want to ride 20 mph and run a 7 minute mile…that’s my goal.”  That day I rode 20 mph and my mile pace was 7:01.  My season could’ve finished, Laura would be the best coach on earth that day, and I would have been a happy triathlete!  Later the same week, she asked me what plan I had for the rest of the races.  This is something I hmm’d and haw’d for a long time around my work schedule and basically, my fears and doubts.  I knew I wanted to say Augusta, but I knew that there would be accountability for making that statement and that a lot of work would be ahead.  I did eventually tell her that I wanted to race at Augusta 70.3.  She said “OK!  That’s your ‘A race’!”  Training and sprint races carried on throughout the spring and summer.  I placed 2nd in my age group every time I raced a local sprint or Olympic except for one race that I finished 1st.  The biggest test after Red Line was beating my Tri the Mountains race from the previous year and placing there.  I beat that by 12 minutes and placed 2nd in my AG.  After that, the focus turned to Augusta.

When I was getting towards the end of the season, the miles and exhaustion was really building.  I had already realized Laura was a phenomenal coach with the results I had thus far in riding 20 mph and running almost a 7:00 mile at Red Line, then shattering my previous year’s time in Blue Ridge. During the Augusta training, Laura had grace, understanding, compassion and provided A LOT of required motivation.  She has the perfect balance in her coaching whether it be “ok, you need to rest” or “get after it, today!”.  She knows us better than we do and understands the training to alter our plans for the best in the long run.  Eventually, Augusta weekend arrived and off I headed to complete the last tri of the season.  I could write a book on that weekend alone, but in the end, I had a great race!  My swim was 30:06, bike 19.82 mph, and run 8:19/mile.

Laura is a superior and passionate triathlete, but she is an even better coach and person.  To anyone that is considering if she would be the right coach for you, I will tell you that without a doubt, she would.  I know this because I have several friends who she also coaches.  We are all different, but there is one thing that makes us the same and that is that we all respect, admire, and put simply, love our coach.

Thank you, Laura for all that you have been in a coach and will continue to be into 2014!

– Holly W.


After a quality winter training on my own, in March I decided to work with Laura and knew I had made the right choice. What I did not truly realize but quickly became apparent is the depth of knowledge I instantly had at my disposal.

Her willingness to provide a few minutes of time almost any time was priceless. I learned that every training was a workout inside a workout with a specific purpose. As she put it “I need to build your engine”, I get it now. As a husband, father and small business owner, I was amazed how she effortlessly tailored a program to meet my needs.

It was a great comfort when I found myself standing in the unknown and I had Laura in my corner to clarify what I needed next.

The highest acknowledgement I can give is to say that I plan to have her in my corner again in 2015.

I almost forgot to mention that I beat my most optimistic goal by almost 20 minutes.

Jeff – 2013 Ironman Louisville


I re-looked at my Miami results from last year and i shaved almost an hour off my last year’s overall time. I looked at the pro men’s time and they all averaged close to 27 mph on the bike in Miami and 25 MPH for Augusta. So Miami was definitely a faster course and i only went 16 mph for a bike split of 3:28 in Miami. My swim time in Miami was a 48 min swim @ a 2:30 per 100 yard pace as well. Run was a 2:03 in Miami.

So yeah – i think i crushed last year by a landslide with tons of improvements in all areas. I am still riding pretty high right now!

Thanks a ton for getting me there!



Looking back at this year, you have not only helped me physical, but mental and spiritually. I cannot thank you enough for the positive impact that you have had on my life – I was truly one of the best summers of my life.Wonderful friends and bike rides that I will never forget. So come Sunday(as I race my first cyclocross of the season!), I wish you the absolute best and know that I will be with you in spirit.

As you and Emerson said,”What lies before you is no match for what lies within you.”

All my best,


Kim R.

You, Laura.  You believe.  You inspire.  You make us want to do well, and make you proud (I’m sure that is a bit of all coach/athlete relationships).  But I know that I stayed healthy, and well, and moved forward with your patient guidance and counsel.  I am so very grateful and appreciative.  Coaching takes a HUGE investment:  of your time, talents, energy, mojo.   I am so very grateful.

I did mention it a number of times on FB (so, if you look at my posts, and see your name pop up, that’s why), but I don’t know if you would hurtle me under the bus if I gushed too publicly!

Sending thanks, and smooches,

Lora Elkins – Augusta 70.3 Race Report

I started this journey on April 17, 2013 when I met Laura Sophiea at Starbucks for coffee and a chat! I expressed to Laura my desire to do a 1/2 ironman and that Augusta 2013 would be my race!

For those of you who don’t Laura she is a wonderfully terrific triathlete coach. She coaches athletes from all over the U.S. to compete in triathlons specifically in the 1/2 ironman and full ironman distance. Laura is currently the world champion at the full ironman distance in her age group!! At the conclusion of our Starbucks meeting I figured “Laura knows best” and hired her to prepare me for Augusta 2013!

Boy was I nervous/excited!!

What have I done now. I had competed in triathlons, but only at the sprint distance! I trained with Laura from April 17 – Sept 29! What an amazing journey it was!! We developed a wonderful connection and friendship!! I had doubts along the way, but Laura was always there for me!! She said you have to believe, stay positive, visualize your desired outcome and most of all have fun and SMILE!!

I was ready and I was prepared.

The training was done and race day was here!! I didn’t know what to expect, but I SMILED….during the swim I SMILED, while I was on the bike I SMILED and through out the 13 mile run…I SMILED BIG!!! It was an amazing memorable journey!!!!!

There are so many that helped me along the way….

thanks to all the terrific people at Dynamo Multisport, Cat, Holly, Mary, Linda, Lindsey etc and Dynamo Masters Swimming especially the swim coach Maria Thrash!! She’s got some crazy drills and some killer workouts, but she keeps us laughing, makes us faster and is a terrific swim coach…one of the best around!!!!!!!!!

Thanks to my swim partner Libby Whelan who constantly challenges me at swim practice. Sometimes it is a war in our lane!! The lane of L’s….Libby, Lora, Laura & Lindsey! Those are some fast women!

Thanks to my Biking Interval peeps….Lynn, Libby, Sheila, Laura, Barbie, Alex, Anna. These women will flat out kick your ass. They made me dig deep week after week after week. I was so far behind….but I hung in there!! I’m still behind, but not as far!!!!!!!

Thanks to my lovely biking friends Laura, Tricia, Tracy, Mary, Jen, Gina, Veronica, Cathy for all the encouragement on some of my long rides!! They said you got this….you have been training so hard! I know I complained about how tired I was on some of those rides and couldn’t wait for it to be over so we could have a beer!!!!!!! You guys rock!

A special thanks to my running partner, Elaine Tyson “Lanier” who endured 5:45am track workouts and plyometrics every week with me!! These were some of my hardest workouts and to have someone get up and meet you at 5:45am is a godsend!! Love you Lanier..xo.

So much thanks to my entire family and all my friends for support and encouragement, it helps more than you can know!! Many thanks to my dear friend Barbara Chandler “barbie” who always cheers the loudest and has my back!!

Lastly to my significant other, Bill Hanks, who lets me be me and helps me live my dreams and accomplish my goals, whatever they may be…love you sweetheart!

Finally to my coach and friend Laura who I love dearly….we did it!!!


– Editors Note: Lora podiumed in Augusta!  Congrats Lora!! –

Testimonial – Brenda H.

I had convinced myself that a busy work and travel schedule would prevent me from ever doing a triathlon longer than Olympic distance. But Laura’s coaching convinced me otherwise. With a carefully set plan, and coordination with my travel schedule to accommodate workouts, I completed my first Ironman in Florida in November 2011.

Don’t ever let any excuse prevent you from realizing your goals and dreams. A HUGE thank you to Laura Sophiea for allowing me the opportunity to reach them successfully!

– Brenda H

Brenda IMFL 2011 Finish

Brenda at the finishline of her first Ironman! IMFL 2011

Testimonial – Susan N


This year Laura had the pleasure of coaching Susan to dual AG World Champion titles at the 70.3 and Ironman distances. Susan competes in the 70-74 AG and she is an example to all of the power of belief. The following is a lovely note from her husband, written to Laura after 2011 Ironman World Championships:

Hi Laura; Here is a really great picture from last night of two really special and beautiful people.

You two are amazing and inspiring ladies and as such are nothing short of icons to be held at the highest level in the athletic world. As I mentioned at the Awards dinner last night, it is one thing to go out on the Ironman course as you did Saturday and literally blow away the competition with a phenomenal performance on a hot and windy day, but is quite another thing to be able to bestow and share your athletic knowledge and talents on another athlete. With your mentoring you convinced Susan to believe in herself and empowered her to achieve what she formerly thought unachievable. Your coaching ability is an even greater talent than your amazing athletic achievements. You helped shape and mold another person and as a result created a new World Champion; in my opinion, an even greater gift than your athletic talent.

Wow and thank you!! Steve

Testimonial – Michael B

At age 56, only 5 beginner Triathlons, and no professional training , I decided to take on Ironman New Zealand. Like all new Triathletes, I was worried about the distance, the cutoff times, my nutrition plan, and my total lack of tri knowledge.

4 months before IM, Laura agreed to take me on as a student. Laura’s training plan was intense but her ability to incorporate her knowledge into my workouts was incredible. I learned how to understand and improve my training . Laura’s program helped me build my endurance, and develop a personal nutrition plan , and understand my body’s capabilities.

By the time Ironman arrived I was well trained and confident in taking on the task. My results exceeded my expectations. Being so well prepared made my IM experience even more amazing than I thought it would be.

I have continued to work with Laura since IM New Zealand and I have reached new levels of speed and endurance which I would have never believed I was capable of. Laura has trained me through new PRs at every race. I have since placed 1st in my AG in an Olympic distance event, and qualified and competed in the 2010 USAT Nationals. None of this would have been possible without Laura.
Laura is very nice, understanding, and easy to work with. She is an amazing athlete and is willing to share all of her knowledge, experience, and her race secrets to help you attain your goals with confidence.

Laura’s training program is not for the meek, or without a serious commitment. But if you are ready to take on new goals, get answers to all of your training questions, become a stronger athlete,..and get back to your high school weight,.. then Laura is your answer.
I continue to respect the relationship I have developed with Laura as my professional coach, as my friend, and as my biggest supporter.

Michael, Atlanta, Ga.

Testimonial – Kelly B.

Laura taught me so much this year and her personal approach to each athletes needs really allowed me to excel. Through her coaching, motivation and friendship I matured so much as an athlete. This summer has been the most memorable and fun out of my seven years of racing. Laura inspired me and taught me the focus required to have an incredible season and have a blast while doing it!

Thanks to her coaching I had a PR at Ironman Wisconsin by an hour!

Looking forward to continuing in the spring!