Coaches

Lisa Nickell

Lisa Nickell

OWNER, IRONMAN TRIATHLETE,USAT LEVEL 1 COACH

An accomplished Ironman triathlete and TriLaVie member since 2008, Coach Lisa Nickell has led TriLaVie since 2016 as both Principal and USAT-Certified Coach. 

Coach Lisa grew up in Palos Verdes & played competitive indoor volleyball in high school. She graduated from USC with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Management and Organization. In 2008, while living in Ladera Ranch & being a mom to her 3 kids (Reese, Tage and Bennett), little did Lisa know that her life would change. A friend asked if she wanted to do a triathlon & join an emerging all-women’s triathlon team. This was the beginning of an amazing, life-transforming experience that would enrich Lisa’s life in all ways.

​Lisa started her triathlon journey as a short distance runner and hadn’t ridden a bike in 20 years. Swimming was definitely going to be the challenge…she hadn’t swam laps before…ever. But once Lisa completed her first sprint triathlon, she felt as though she could do anything!

What do you love about TriLaVie?

From the beginning, I found TriLaVie to be a special organization. Being a TriLaVie athlete, volunteer, mentor, and coach, I’ve found the experience both humbling and exciting. I truly believe this and share it always… “Your Health is you Wealth”. I want “you” to be “wealthy”!  As an athlete and coach, the TriLaVie team has provided me with such an amazing foundation to grow. The opportunity to train and lead women who I now call my friends is priceless!

Why did you join TriLaVie and what made you want to get involved? 

I found that there was not only excellent coaching, but the members of TriLaVie were clearly a group of amazing women that had a shared love of triathlon and endurance sports. It is the most non-judgmental, supportive and wonderful group of women in Orange County you will ever meet…and we get together to train for triathlons too!

What are your goals for the team?

  • Improve! Continue to help the women on the team expand their successes and achieve their race and athletic performance goals. Many of the women on our team have raced for several years and are looking to get faster or hit a new PR in triathlon distances that they have raced before.
  • Diversify! Provide different types of training experiences, such as destination training camps to concentrate on a specific sport (cycling), or participate in Grand Fondos and Century bike ride events. 
  • Expand! Offer women who are not within the Orange County area an opportunity to experience a women-only triathlon team with TriLaVie. Explore the possibility of expanding TLV to have an online-triathlon training program for women.

To learn more about TriLaVie Programs, or join one of our trainings as a guest, please feel free to contact Lisa Nickell at:

Marta

Marta Mulhall

COACH, TRIATHLETE, FORMER COLLEGIATE RUNNER, MOTHER OF 5

Knowledgeable, compassionate, and a driven, competitive triathlete herself, Coach Marta Mulhall is a huge part of what makes TriLaVie so unique. With over a decade of triathlon racing experience, Coach Marta knows exactly what it takes to get you across the finish line of your dream race, & she’ll be with you every step of the way. Whether it’s swimming, biking or running, strength training or spin-class, Coach Marta is with you each week, working with you to get you race-ready. 

When did you fall in love with Triathlon?

I  first became interested in doing a Triathlon when I was a young kid in elementary school. My best friend’s Dad was a triathlete and was training for the Hawaii Ironman years before the event was  “The Ironman World Championships in Kona.” Something about putting together swim/bike/run was very intriguing and it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I started racing. 

What do you love about coaching?

Helping people on their triathlon journey. I am always inspired and motivated by everyone’s story and to be a part of it is so fulfilling.

What’s your best triathlon moment?

My favorite triathlon moment would have to be the Catalina Island Sprint. I love the venue and it was the first time I ever got to break the tape at the finish line. 

Have any tips for those interested in the sport?

The sport is incredibly beginner-friendly, and our team is amazing at welcoming new people, and we can get you to where you want to be. There really is a triathlon (distance) for everyone, and I would recommend doing a shorter race first before going longer when new to the sport. 

Swim Coach Wendy

Wendy Theders

COACH, TRIATHLETE, ENDURANCE SWIMMER

Coach Wendy Theders has served as a professional swim coach for over 30 years, including with Mission Viejo Nadadores & Irvine Novaquatics Masters’ Swim Programs. Wendy coaches TriLaVie’s Swim Program, leading our group swim sessions & lessons.

Wendy has competed in many races & events, as both a triathlete & Masters swimmer. In 2018, Wendy joined an exclusive group of endurance swimmers by completing the grueling, solo 26-mile swim across the Catalina Chanel from Avalon Harbor to San Pedro. She has also completed the swim from Alcatraz Island to San Francisco & won her age group for Southern Pacific Masters Swimming (SPMS) Open Water swimming event.

Wendy specializes in group swim lessons & personal swim coaching. She has a love for coaching & enjoys sharing her swim skills & knowledge with swimmers of all abilities. You can always count on Wendy to be at the side of the pool, enthusiastically leading you through challenging swim exercises & intervals!

TriLaVie Triathlon Coach Jim Lubinski

Jim Lubinski

Coach & Professional Triathlete

Coach Jim Lubinski came to the sport of triathlon in 2005 after a long & successful career as both a Collegiate Division 1 University & Professional Ice Hockey Player. Jim used the knowledge he had gained through the years of ice hockey to refine his approach to the sport of triathlon.

​In 2009, Jim qualified to become a Professional Triathlete. That same year, Jim also earned his coaching credentials through USA Triathlon and earned his N.A.S.M Certification, making him a certified strength coach/personal trainer. Since then, Jim has earned specializations in Corrective Exercise and Performance Enhancement. These certifications, along with the Ironman University Certification, give Jim a strong base of knowledge and education to use in his coaching. In addition, Jim finds his personal experience in training and racing, along with the experience he has had coaching hundreds of athletes in endurance sport to be a main factor in the style he uses to get the most of each individual athlete.

Jim stresses open communication, a structured/periodized approach, and a strong emphasis on strength work both in and out of the swim, bike, and run environment to help the athlete get faster, but more importantly, stay injury free.

Coaching Specialties: Personal, Performance, Run – Marathon, Competitive

Certifications: USAT, Ironman University, Corrective Exercise, Performance Enhancement

Coach Cherie

Cherie Gruenfeld

COACH, PROFESSIONAL TRIATHLETE, 14-TIME IRONMAN WINNER

“Twenty-four Ironman races (18 at the World Championships in Kona) give me enough experience to understand the Critical Success Factors to doing a great IM. Fourteen IM wins (10 in Kona) give me the experience of knowing how to train to meet personal goals and, most importantly, how to take what you’ve got and do the very best with it,” says Cherie.

This doesn’t even include her three 70.3 World Championship titles or her accomplishment of being featured on a Wheaties Box! TriLaVie is incredibly lucky to know and work with Cherie, one of the top coaches in triathlon. 

Coach Cherie can create a comprehensive training plan for your race, will provide unlimited follow-up via e-mail and/or phone calls, and keep you on target through all the challenges you might face while reaching your goal.

What do you love about triathlon?

My life has been defined by what I describe as “Jumping off the cliff and building my wings on the way down.” When I learned about Ironman, I felt like this was the perfect next challenge in my life. At the point when I set that goal, I hadn’t done a triathlon. But, for some reason, I felt like I could do it and so I jumped off that cliff. I loved the training. I loved the people I met, and I loved the lifestyle. That’s why I still today am a triathlete.

What do you love about coaching?

Every person is very different and what each one needs to be their best differs from everyone else. Understanding the person and what they need to succeed and then working to meet those individual needs is what I strive for. And when I see an athlete meet her goals, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Have any tips for those interested in the sport?

Make absolutely certain that you have the support of your loved ones in this endeavor and that you are passionate about the goal. Without these two things, your journey will become a burdensome task rather than the exciting adventure it should be.

Please feel free to contact Cherie directly to arrange a personal coaching consultation.  www.cheriegruenfeld.com

Coach Linda

Linda Kessman

COACH, ULTRARUNNER, IRONMAN TRIATHLETE, BOSTON MARATHON QUALIFIER

Curious about running in Orange County? Coach Linda Kessman has all the answers! Linda knows the Orange County trail system and running routes inside and out, and she’ll give you the encouragement you need to give trail running a try.

Linda’s love of trail running is infectious! Run with Linda at any of her Saturday morning trail running sessions and you’ll quickly see why. She’ll welcome you and familiarize you with the running route, and she always circles back to guide you on the correct path and to point out the best views that our Orange County trails have to offer

What do you love about triathlon?

I love setting a goal to complete, compete, and challenge myself as I strive to reach the finish line! I love to race!!

What do you love about coaching?

I feel honored to have coached for TLV for over 10 years now. I love meeting the athletes and sharing my passion for trail running and triathlon and racing as we strive to do our best.

Have any tips for those interested in the sport?

Enjoy the journey!

Coach David

David Light

COACH, SWIMMER, ULTRA-TRIATHLETE

Coach David Light serves as one of our swim coaches, specializing in swim technique & open water training. He has competed in triathlons for over 30 years at an elite level in all distances, including competing in multiple Ironman (140.6 mile) and double Ironman (281.2 mile) events, finishing second overall in the Virginia Double IM race in 2015.

David specializes in pool & open water swim lessons, open water swim clinics, & swim stroke analysis. David’s coaching talents span the needs of the new triathlete as well as the competitor seeking top age-group finishes. David has led open water swim clinics for the Pacific Coast Triathlon, Orange County Triathlon & Bonelli Race Series.

​David hails from Bristol, England.  A former nationally ranked swimmer & junior water polo player in England, David has been coaching for more than 20 years, specializing in triathlon training & personal coaching for men and women. He is a certified USA Triathlon Level I Coach, certified lifeguard & personal trainer.