The couple isn’t shy about their pride in their daughter, though they share a good-natured giggle when I ask whether Valentine exhibits any early signs of athletic talent.
ML: Oh yeah!
AL: She’s a superior child!
AL: She’s in the 95th percentile of her height and her weight. We can’t stop bragging about her. [It’s at this point that Amanda shows me the video of Valentine kicking in the pool.]
ML: So the real answer is no. We like to think that she has extraordinary ability, but it’s still a little early to tell.
I ask the Lovatos what the future holds in terms of their own athletic careers and they smile toward their daughter and the array of toys, baby wipes and teeny tiny cowgirl booties scattered about the room.
ML: You’re looking at it!
AL: This is it. It’s over for me. I want a second child. And I waited a long time to have a baby, because I knew the demands of training full time. There was no way I wanted to train like that while being a mother. I mean I’m running 20 miles a week right now, and I have to be careful not to overdo it, because I don’t want to be too tired to give her what she needs. And honestly, it was time for me to move on. I’m really happy in my new life. I mean I’m 41 years old, so if I really wanted to race I could–but why? I wanted to be a mother first and I didn’t want that to compete with my own athletics or anything else.
ML: I want to have a second child also! For me, like Amanda said, I was ready to put aside my goals and dreams athletically for the sake of my family and for the sake of being with Valentine more. I’ve been doing this sport for 22 years now, and I was ready for new challenges. Even if we didn’t have Valentine, I would have been transitioning this year. And it’s something I’m excited about. We have a lot of other endeavors that we’ve thrown ourselves into. We have two main businesses going. One is Amanda’s real estate business that she’s had part-time since 2006. She took that up full time as soon as she got pregnant, and she’s been really busy. I’m actually getting licensed so I can be her assistant.
AL: If we have a second child I’ll need backup. And I can’t imagine working without Michael–we do everything together. Even though he’s not licensed yet, he already helps me a lot.
ML: It’s been really fun, and also really different. I went out to San Diego last week and it wasn’t for anything triathlon related. I didn’t take a bike. I went to a real estate productivity conference, and it was fascinating. It was such a motivating and informative seminar, and I’ve been able to apply a lot of what I learned to my coaching business. Coaching is something that we’ve both done since we moved to boulder in 2001, and Amanda had a coaching background before that at the collegiate level. We have a couple training camps that we enjoy putting on, we coach a handful of professional athletes and another group of age group athletes. It’s amazing when you scale back from being a full time athlete, how much energy you can put into other endeavors.
AL: Now that we’re no longer training 25 hours a week, the energy we have is huge. I do a lot more things now, because I have the energy to do them. Even if it’s going to coffee with friends or going out to dinner because we don’t have to be in bed at a certain time.
ML: It’s an exciting time in our lives and we love it. One of the most important things for us is that we get to do all of this together. We’ve always done triathlon together–we’ve always traveled to races together and trained together. We’re entering our 15th year together and we’re used to that togetherness, so now, both with the coaching and the real estate, we get to still be partners. That’s huge for us, because we enjoy being around one another and we complement one another very well.
AL: He’s the yin to my yang!
Amanda and Michael don’t plan to entirely abandon their fitness lifestyle, however. Amanda has been hitting the gym and is considering some for-fun sprint triathlons in the future. Michael did renew his pro license, but only out of respect for the age group ranks.
ML: I’ll do some fun stuff, but ultimately I’m not going to train. I’ll get ready here and there if there’s an event I’m invited to, but I’ve wiped my whole year of athletic goals–that’s the best way of putting it. We didn’t retire from being athletes, we’re just not full time professionals anymore. We’ll be athletes until we drop. But this is the next stage of our lives together and we couldn’t be happier!
Follow Valentine’s adventures growing up Lovato via her parents’ twitter feeds: @michaellovato and @amandalovato. Interested in a camp or being coached by Michael or Amanda? Visit www.lovatoperformance.com