After the one-two punch of a career change and a terrible accident, Becca Evans didn’t understand God’s plan. Looking back, she holds to this mantra: “If you don't feel your prayers answered, ask differently.”
Originally from Tennessee, Becca Evans is a wife, mom of two and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has completed one full Ironman, two full marathons, 10 half marathons, two sprint triathlons and five Olympic triathlons. She has now designed a women's cycling and triathlon apparel line.
Evans previously had the perfect job for her active lifestyle: online teaching. She could do her work from home with her kids around.
The night of Evans’ Ironman, when she received word that her school might be closing, she didn’t take it seriously. She thought, “We’re in the digital age. They would never cancel the online school.” So Evans just decided to go the extra mile in her prayers and scripture study, trusting that if she was diligent in those things, she would be able to keep her job.
When the school actually closed a few months later, Evans was shocked and frustrated. “I couldn’t figure out what I could have done any differently. I felt like I was doing everything I was supposed to be doing, and I felt this was just taken from me,” Evans said. “I was mad at Heavenly Father, because I didn’t think it was fair, and I had done everything he had asked me to do, and I almost felt like he didn’t hold up his end of the deal.”
All she wanted was to have a job where she could be a good mom, exercise and still provide a secondary income, was that too much to ask?
“I think part of the frustrating thing is too, it’s not like I was asking for something bad,” said Evans. “We had a second income and I was able to pay attention to my kids. I was like 'I don’t know why he wouldn’t want me to keep it.' I think the frustrating thing was that I was asking for something good and I still didn’t get it.”
Not only was Heavenly Father pushing her spiritually, he would soon push her physically.
Evans had purchased a new pair of basic black bike shorts to train for her Ironman. Patterned bike shorts were either uncomfortable, ugly or too expensive. She was on a long bike ride with her father-in-law and sister-in-law, and was discussing her new shorts, when they got into a bike accident.
“I kind of skidded along the pavement, and then my father-in-law was behind us and he ended up hitting me, flying over his wheel and broke a lot of bones in his body. So it was a really bad accident,” said Evans. “I had roadrash all up the right side of my body.”
The accident roughed up her new shorts. “But me being kind of cheap and not finding what I was looking for, I kept wearing those road-rashed bike shorts,” she said.
The lack of affordable clothing struck Evans. “I looked and looked and I would find cute and expensive, or comfortable and expensive, or cute but not comfortable.”
Not only were the biking clothes expensive, they were ugly and sometimes immodest. “They were always too short, so like you would lift your arms up to stretch and everything was showing, or you bend over and your whole backside is showing and I always hated that,” said Evans. “Not just because your whole guts are showing, but because it’s also not comfortable to be constantly tucking and fixing yourself.”
So Evans decided to design some herself. With the help of an entrepreneur relative, Evans designed a top and bike shorts, and sent the design to the manufacturer.
“We sent them a sample to have them make and it came in the mail and it did not fit right, and it didn’t look right,” said Evans. “I was like, ‘Maybe this is why there’s nothing out there that looks right. Because this looks awful.’”
But Evans decided to persevere. After about a year and a half of tweaking and perfecting, Evans finally had a product she was confident in.
Tamarynn Bennett, a fellow runner and tri-athlete with an Instagram business and following of over 27,000, said that Evans succeeded in her goal of making a good fit. "It’s really comfortable, which is nice," Bennett said. "I don’t feel like it’s too snug of a fit, but it stays in place, so it doesn’t feel loose either."
Evans launched the apparel line on Kickstarter, and in only nine days it was fully funded.
Looking back, Evans realizes she was comfortable in her life, and in her job. Too comfortable. Heavenly Father was just pushing her on to better things.
“When you get comfortable you don’t challenge yourself anymore,” said Evans. “Even spiritually I wasn’t pushing myself. … I would read my scriptures, I would pray and all that stuff but it was just staying on that same playing field, whereas when in the fear of losing my job, I feel like I more studied the scriptures instead of just reading them, or I was more conscious in my fasting than like 'Oh it’s fast Sunday, I can’t eat cereal this morning.'"
This new career, although different than she expected, has still allowed Evans to stay at home with her kids.
“With my apparel company, you do have to do a lot of marketing through social media, so you spend a lot of time on your phone, but I never want my kids to feel like my phone is more important than them,” said Evans, adding that she tries to do her work during nap time, quiet time and after her kids go to bed. “For me that’s actually made me better at what I do, because when I do it my full focus is on it, instead of giving half to my kids and half to my work.”
Evans also tailors her intense physical training around her motherhood, but says that the exercise is essential for her to take a second to herself. “When I exercise I’m a way better mom, because I let out all my stresses. I’m happier. For me, that exercise became really essential into mothering.”
Evans said that exercise also helps her be more relaxed throughout the day, be more patient with her kids and get more accomplished.
"I think if Heavenly Father were here he would encourage that,” said Evans. “And he would say, ‘Go out! Exercise! Because when you come home, you’re better at home because of it.’”
Even though she had to go through the pain of losing a job and a bike accident, Evans now knows that it was for her good.
“Sometimes we don't recognize the path our Heavenly Father has planned for us and we see what we want and we try to force our desires on him,” said Evans. “I don't know if it will be successful but I do know that I have already grown and have learned so much in such a short period of time. I have been challenged and tested. Heavenly Father knows our potential better than we do. He sees what we can accomplish.”