Recently professional triathlete Bree Wee announced that she was “hanging up” her goggles, bike and running shoes and to go “back to school”…to teach first grade full-time.  We caught up with Bree Wee to chat about racing and what lies ahead.

Congratulations Bree on a successful, 8 year long professional triathlon career that was full of podium finishes including 1st at IM Canada, 1st at IM Louisville and 2nd at IM Japan! You should definitely feel proud of all that you accomplished in the sport.

Looking back over the past 8 years what are some of your favorite memories as a pro triathlete? Is there any one thing that sticks out the most?
My favorite memories are definitely time shared with the other athletes that were once strangers but became friends. It’s really nice being in these gorgeous places but it’s who you’re spending time with that makes the place you are that much better. Like Japan, Kainoa and I got lost on a train together and never laughed so hard searching for Nagoya Castle.

You have raced in some amazing places including Cozumel, Philippines and Australia. What’s your favorite race/venue? Why?
Philippines, for the kindness I saw in people. It blew me away, generosity beyond the norm. And the most happy children I’ve ever seen. They really showed me that richness is not found in material possessions.
_MG_90532015 was a successful year for you with three top 3 triathlon finishes. What made you decide that it was time to go “back to school” and teach again?
You know when you just feel something in your heart slowly changing? It starts off slow but then it hits all of a sudden and you’re never the same. That happened to me, I felt it coming a couple years ago actually and started subbing in the school. But then it hit all at once and when a full time position came open at my former school where I was “once upon a time” a third grade teacher I went for it. I wanted the job like I wanted to race, it was crazy how much I felt drawn to the class. I used to fear the day my pro career came to a stop but it happened in such a way that it was easy for me.

What are you most looking forward to about working full time again?
Like I’m making a difference. Crossing finish lines will always be exciting to me, but I don’t think by my crossing them I’m doing much good for others. I’ve always believed God gives everyone certain passions or things they are good at, and when we do those things that cause our hearts to be excited, that’s when we are making a difference.

Training and racing has been part of your life for a long time. Do you plan to keep racing local events? Any already picked out?
Of course! In fact I raced one two days ago. Our community has lots of local events, but for us, it’s playing. I’ll always play. There are some I’ve never done because I’m off island, so I’ll do those. And I’ll return to a few I’ve missed over the years, like Volcano Half Marathon and Sea to Stars. But I’m not “training” for them, I’ll exercise and hang out with friends swimming masters, then show up and play.

 If someone were to pick up your training log in November what would it look like?
It would have an Ironman or the build to a December Ironman. Since earning my pro card I think I’ve done a Nov/Dec race every year. I’ve had a couple Thanksgiving dinners at Ironman Mexico and a couple “almost” Christmas in Busso. But this year…it will be good ol’ Kiser Tritopan, a local race all smack talk and the winner gets a pumpkin pie.

As a fan thank you for racing the last 8 years with all you had and for truly putting your heart into the sport.
Thank you, too, for encouraging girls like me to put our hearts into sport!!