Eric Bean, MD, MS | Alex McDonald, MD | Mike Lavery | Becky Meldrum | Margo Pitts |Dwayne Dixon |Jeanna Chain |
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Founder & Head Coach
Professional triathlete Eric Bean founded FFT to partner with local elite-athlete coaches and together help athletes of all levels realize their potential. Prior to founding FFT, Eric was the co-founder and Head Coach of the Stanford University Triathlon Team. Under his tenure, Stanford rapidly became a premier collegiate triathlon program, producing many USAT Collegiate National Podium athletes and twice placing 3rd as men’s women’s and combined teams. Eric’s coaching experience is certainly not limited to the collegiate realm. He coached track for the Silicon Valley and Tribe triathlon clubs as well as for Castilleja High School in Palo Alto, CA. In addition, Eric founded be-an-athlete.com, a group training program for post-collegiate athletes in the Bay Area. Many athletes, novices and professionals alike, thank Eric for guiding them to success at Ironman, National and World Championships, and personal-record performances. In 2011 alone his athletes earned eight professional Ironman and 70.3 podiums, three amateur Ironman Hawaii podiums, one amateur 70.3 world championship podium, three 70.3 amateur victories, and another dozen victories and podiums at prestegious pro and amateur races including the Columbia Triathlon, Hyvee, and USAT Amateur National Championships.
As an amateur athlete, Eric began his career as a varsity swimmer and runner at the University of Virginia. With this ideal foundation for triathlon, he soon became a Junior National Triathlon Champion, Collegiate National Triathlon Champion, and Ironman Hawaii age-group World Champion. As an elite amateur cyclist, Eric is the 2008 Master’s National Champion and Wisconsin State “Double” Champion in the Time Trial (winning both the Pro/1/2 and M30-34 time trials back-to-back on the same day), is the collegiate record holder at the Lowe’s Motor Speedway 10-mile time trial (30.4 mph for 10-miles on the famous NASCAR racetrack), the 2006 Master’s National Championships omnium winner (known as the “Best All-Around Rider” title for combined performances in the road race, time trial, and criterium), and has earned a total of 7 Master’s and Collegiate Nationals podium finishes on the road and track. Eric is currently a Cat1 rider for the ISCorp Cycling Team.
Eric has multiple podium finishes at both ITU Olympic format and Ironman triathlons as a professional athlete. He has focused most of his training on the Ironman distance because it plays to his strength on the bike. He competed at ITU Long Distance World Championships in 2000 and 2002 as a member of the U.S. Team and placed, 20th as a pro at the Ironman Hawaii World Championships in 2008. He has an 8:29 Ironman PR (Arizona, 2009) and his has placed as high as 3rd (Ironman Wisconsin, 2010).
Eric consistently represents his fellow triathletes in the sport’s governing bodies. He served on USA Triathlon’s Board of Directors from 2003-2005, on the Athlete’s Advisory Council from 2002-2004, and co-founded the Collegiate Commission to help give college teams a voice within USAT.
Currently a resident physician in the Department of Anethesiology & Pain Medicine at the University of Washington, Eric is taking a well-deserved break from racing. He earned an M.D. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he happily spread the last year of school over two years to race for the TIMEX Multisport Team and establish FFT. Prior to his medical career, Eric earned a BS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Virginia and a MS in Biomechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and has worked in each field in both academia and industry designing many innovative satellite systems and medical devices. His research interests include minimally invasive robot assisted (MIRA) surgery, medical informatics, human factors, and applied endurance sports physiology. In his spare time, Eric enjoys exploring the wonderful city of Seattle and doing anything outdoors.
FFT coaches started as FFT athletes
You’ll notice a common theme amongst FFT coaches: prior to joining the FFT coaching staff, we all started as FFT athletes. This is because we believe that to teach an athlete to succeed, we must first succeed as athletes ourselves. There is no substitute for first-hand experience. Each of us has learned the FAST training system one workout, one phase, and one season at a time. This gives us insight into what our athletes experience day-to-day as they challenge their limits in each workout, and this enables us to support our athletes at the highest level.
Manager & Coach
Alex McDonald, MD raced as a professional triathlete for several years after graduating from medical school at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He was born and raised in Woodstock, VT with his two brothers. Alex watched his father compete in triathlons and marathons for many years during his youth. While attending undergraduate school at Connecticut College in New London, CT, Alex was active both academically and athletically as the starting goalie on the varsity water polo team and also ran recreationaly.
During medical school in Burlington, VT where a friend announced his intention to compete in the sport of triathlon. Alex agreed to train with him having absolutely no idea what he was getting himself into. He bought his first road bike, raced in a sprint triathlon and was hooked. This marked the beginning of his life-long triathlon career. After just three short years of racing triathlon, Alex burst onto the national elite age-group scene. In 2006 he was the US champion, age-group champion and 5th overall finisher at Ironman Wisconsin. Six weeks later he followed up with a top 6% finish at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI. In 2007 Alex was Ironman USA Champion at Lake Placid, NY as well as the amateur world champion and 29th overall at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, HI. Since 2008, Alex continued to build and grow as an athlete and competitor finishing 8th overall at Ironman USA, 10th at Ironman St. George, as well as numerous top 10 finishes at 70.3 races, including punching his ticket to Kona. He has competed in all distances from sprint to Ironman, with his focus on long course racing.
Alex love to share his passion and knowledge for the sport of triathlon. As a physician and former professional triathlete he has a unique understanding of the physiological, and psychological demands to achieve your athletic best. He began offering advice to friends and family and then quickly realized that he loved to help athletes of all abilities be their best within the sport and to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Over years of coaching and learning from his own athletic endeavors as well as learning from his athletes, he has accumulated critical knowledge and experience. Alex believes that the coach-athelete relationship is critical to success and the individual partnership between the two lies at the core of his training methodology.
Alex currently is completing his medical training at Duke University, lives in Durham, NC with his dog Zoey, wife Ashley (who is also a resident at Duke University) and daughters Ella and Penelope.
Click here for Alex’s athlete website
Mike grew up in Bedford, New Hampshire, and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2008, with a double major in mechanical engineering and industrial design. He was introduced to Eric Bean in 2009 and quickly bought into the high yield training philosophy that is the basis of FFT. The 2012 season will be Mike’s fourth as an FFT coach. He has experience working with single sport and multisport athletes ranging from weekend warriors to those working to break into the elite levels of sport.
As a perennial age group winner, Mike has finished 8 Ironman races, and has two top-5 age group finishes at the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. His latest Ironman finish at Florida in 2012 saw him finish as the top amateur, 18th overall in 8:58, achieving his long time goal of a sub-9 hour Ironman.
Mike’s 2013 schedule will be focused around the Ironman World Championships in October. Mike currently lives in the mountains of Bozeman, MT, and is employed as a design engineer when not coaching. Click here for Mike’s athlete bio
Margo Pitts, Raleigh, NC
Margo began her triathlon career over a decade ago, and her zest for the sport shines through from the moment you meet her. She did not come from a collegiate sports background, but has instead leveraged a life long love of exercise and physical fitness, along with the demands of being a wife and a mom, into a diverse set of race experiences across numerous competitive environments. From on-road Triathlons to off-road Xterra races, she enjoys the camaraderie and physical challenges these events offer. Margo learned from the ground up and is eager to help athletes of all levels and abilities reach their goals.
She is an active and vibrant member of the North Carolina triathlon community. Margo is certified as a Level 1 USAT Coach, Level 1 USA Track and Field Coach and a IFTA Personal Trainer. She has competed at all triathlon distances to include numerous Sprints, Olympic’s, Half Ironman’s, and is a two-time Ironman at Coeur d’ Alene and Lake Placid. She completed Cycle Across NC in 2005, 2006, and 2007, competed in the 197-mile run Hood to Coast Relay in 2008 and in the 63-mile cycle Off Road Assault on Mt Mitchell (ORAMM) in 2010 and 2011 with a 2nd place finish in her division. Margo earned her belt buckle at the 2011 Leadville Trail 100-mile mountain bike race in Colorado. Most recently, she has competed in a number of Xterra off-road triathlons including a 4th place finish in her age group at the US Nationals and back to back top ten age group finishes at the 2010 and 2011 Xterra World Championship in Maui.
The diversity of her experience has given Margo a unique perspective on the world of racing and taught her the value of stepping out of the box and taking on new challenges. She thrives on giving direction and structure while providing positive feedback and offering encouragement. What sets her apart as a coach is her ability to motivate others and help them understand that anything is possible with dedication, effort and determination.
Dwayne Dixon, Raleigh, NC
Dwayne was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa and moved to the U.S. when he was 11 years old. Through his dad’s love for the sport, Dwayne was motivated to start doing triathlons after running with his dad in for the last 10 miles of the 2009 Beach 2 Battleship Iron Distance race. Being active in many sports throughout his life, Dwayne picked up hockey as a young teenager where he progressed to the division I collegiate level playing for, North Carolina State University.
Dwayne is short-course focused and has had great success as an elite age group athlete and at the Collegiate National level. Last year he was the overall series winner for FS Series and Setup’s Trysports Triathlon Series. In 2012 he competed in the USAT Age Group Sprint Nationals where he placed 2nd AG and qualified for Worlds in London. His love for coaching comes from many years of teaching ice hockey and swim lessons to all ages and levels. He is certified as a Level 1 USAT Coach and Level 3 USA Cycling Coach. His approach is simple, follow the plan laid out, put in the hard work, and focus on the goal at hand. All while listening to your body and staying injury free. When the going gets tough Dwayne’s motto is, “Pain is weakness leaving the body and speed entering it!”
Jeanna Chain is an elite competitor and mainstay in the Triathlon Community in North Carolina. She has competed in Sprint, Olympic, International, Half Ironman, and Ironman distance races over the past 14 years. Noteworthy accolades are a top 4 age group finish at Ford Half Ironman World Championships with the second fastest overall female bike split and a Half Ironman PR of 4:32:23. 2x Hawaii Ironman World Championship qualifier, where she completed her first full Ironman distance race in 10:52:55 and finished top 12 in her age group. Additionally, Jeanna has won the North Carolina Triathlon Series Overall Elite Female Award in 2006 as well as placing 4th in her age group in Eagleman Half Ironman in 2006. Jeanna has earned USAT All American status several years running.
Jeanna comes from a swimming background as she swam competitively growing up through high school. She picked the competitive torch back up after marriage and 2 children. She began running and participating in Sprint Triathlons. After winning some small local races she began training more seriously and seeking bigger races. Jeanna ran her first marathon in Lincoln, NE in a time of 3:21. This qualified her for a trip the Boston Marathon where she finished with a time of 3:25. Although she excelled at marathons, her love for triathlons took center stage and she has never looked back. Jeanna is competitive in all three disciplines, but most would agree that biking is her strength.
Anyone who knows Jeanna loves her bubbly personality and her openness and willingness to discuss her triathlon experiences. Jeanna works at Inside Out Sports where she can share her triathlon passion with the customers daily. Additionally, Jeanna works for Finish Strong – a race timing company – where she supports triathletes on race day – from packet pick-up to body marking to coordinating with volunteers – Jeanna eats, drinks, sleeps, triathlons.
Jeanna still enjoys success on the racing circuit and now finds pleasure helping others achieve their goals. Her passion for the sport as well as her wealth of race experience enable her to provide positive direction and encouragement to all who engage with her about triathlons.
Becky Meldrum, Seattle, WA
Becky is a highly active person with quite a varied background. An underlying link between all her experiences is the desire for promoting an energetic, healthy life for herself and for others. Becky enjoys coaching people of all ages and all abilities in anything from handstands to triathlons. But what matters most in any discipline for which she is coaching, is the establishment of a healthy lifestyle that builds the backbone of success for any goal. Her goal is to help you reach your goals through optimal health of mind and body.
Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Becky spent 14 years as a club gymnast at Parkettes, one of the top gymnastics clubs in the country. She competed at the elite level and was a member of the U.S National Team in 1997. It was during these early years that Becky’s interest in triathlon first grew. She would cheer on her Dad at various runs and marathons and every summer her family housed cyclists from New Zealand who would live in their barn while training and racing at the Trexlertown velodrome. As for swimming, Becky watched the Summer Olympics every year thinking what an easy sport it appeared to be. She later quickly learned the truth when she had her first swim with the Stanford Triathlon Club in 2002.
Earning a full scholarship to Stanford University Women’s Gymnastics Team, Becky spent four years as a Division I NCAA student-athlete. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in Human Biology, she then spent a fifth year on her Master’s in Cultural and Social Anthropolgy. This was the year in which she turned in her leotard and finally joined the Stanford Triathlon Club coached by FFT Founder Eric Bean. Since 2003, she has participated in various triathlons of all lengths, including full distance triathlons. In fact, Becky has participated in Silverman, “the toughest course in North America,” since its inception in 2005. Over the years she has improved her time by two hours and twice won the title of Fastest Women in Nevada. During this time Becky also performed as a professional acrobat in the Cirque du Soleil show KÀ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Currently, Becky lives in Seattle with her husband as she pursues a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine while also embarking upon her latest and greatest endurance endeavor – parenthood! As a brand new mom, Becky is excited to not only share her knowledge gained from all her experiences but to continue to learn from those she coaches through Fast Forward Triathlon.