Wonder Mom Siobhan Andrews Maize takes on latest challenge: swimming around Key West
A 40-year-old mother of two from Mount Pleasant will put on a Wonder Woman swimsuit Saturday and be among dozens of swimmers attempting the 12-mile Swim Around Key West.
And while the swimsuit is meant to be a fun joke and icebreaker, Siobhan Andrews Maize is, indeed, a bit of a wonder woman.
Maize, a part-time psychology instructor at the College of Charleston, is an avid endurance athlete, finishing three Boston Marathons in the last 10 years as well as other marathons, half- marathons, races and triathlons, including two Ironman-distance triathlons.
But she earned her stripes, er lightning bolt, three years ago when she was doing her first Ironman. Maize fell and broke her collarbone in the first few miles of the 112-mile bike leg in Couer d’Alene, Idaho.
Despite the excruciating pain, she not only finished the ride but, with her left arm in a sling, finished the marathon. The whole triathlon, which starts with a 2.4-mile swim, took her 13 hours and 15 minutes.
“It was bad,” recalls Maize of the injury, initially thinking it was a dislocation.
“I could hear it (the break creaking) while I was riding ... but I wanted to finish it for me. It was a goal for an entire year. Getting ready for it (Ironman) took so much training and I didn’t know when I’d be able to do another one again.”
Finding time to train – and actually do an Ironman – is difficult for any mother with young children. But ever since college, Maize has made staying fit a top priority largely because she recognizes both the psychological and physical benefits.
With her personal athletic ambition, you might think her family life suffers,but that’s not the case, according to her husband, Dr. John Maize.
“She works really hard to minimize the impact on the family,” he says, noting that she often completes her first workout of the day before he and their daughters are getting ready in the morning. “When she comes in the door after a morning workout, she jumps right in the mix.”
Initially, he didn’t understand why she had to participate in races. By her example, she helped him understand the role of training for events – 10Ks, marathons, triathlons, bike rides – had in physical fitness. They are concrete goals to keep people on track with fitness routines.
He adds they also both understand the importance of setting an example for their daughters, ages 8 and 6, to lead healthy lives.
Maize admitted during a recent interview that she was starting to get a little nervous about the Swim Around Key West, which is in its 36th year.
But her friend who “conned” her into it says she’s ready and will do fine.
Stephen Schlachter, who started a friendship with Maize five years ago when he worked at TrySports in Mount Pleasant, admitted to deceiving her into thinking at first that they were going to participate together in a two-person relay.
Schlachter, who is now a pharmaceutical sales representative based out of Wilmington, N.C., then made it evident that he wanted to do the whole swim, knowing that “Siobhan never backs out of anything.”
Maize admits that doing the Swim Around Key West was “never a huge goal of mine” but she thinks she’ll finish in six or seven hours.
Because both the Schlachters and Maizes are turning the swim into a vacation, John Maize was enlisted to be his wife’s required kayak escort for the day.
Another wonder woman quality of Maize is the variety of challenges she’s willing to take on.
Jennifer Tyson, a like-minded friend, training buddy and fellow mom, says Maize inspires her because she “knows what she wants to accomplish and makes it happen.”
“Siobhan has a big bucket list and it keeps getting longer,” says Tyson.
Even though Key West isn’t done, Maize already has her sights set on a new and different endurance challenge: running a 50-mile “ultra” marathon.