There are high achievers, and then there’s Erin.
Fresh off of her win at the USA World Games Qualifier in Denver this March, our own Manager of Data Operations, Erin Clayton will be competing in the International Federation of Muaythai Associations 2022 IFMA Senior World Championship in Abu Dhabi this May, as well as the World Games in Birmingham, AL this July. Between her grueling training regimen and focus delivering the highest quality data for our clients, Erin stopped by the ol’ Marketing Corner to chat about the upcoming games, how she maintains the world’s coolest work-life balance, and how we can support her journey to victory!
Before we talk about the cool stuff, what do you do here at Carpe Data and what are you responsible for?
I originally came in as a Data Analyst and moved into my current position as Manager of Data Operations about seven months ago. Currently, I oversee the Data Analysts that focus on data quality for two of our data pipelines.
What keeps you coming back to work at Carpe Data?
My coworkers are great to work with – everyone is respectful of each other’s opinions and work styles, which allows us to collaborate effectively.
We are SO excited that you are competing in the Senior World Championships in Abu Dhabi! For those who may not be familiar with Muay Thai, can you tell us a bit about the sport?
Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and is also referred to as “the art of eight limbs” as you can use both of your shins, fists, knees, and elbows in a fight. It is similar to kickboxing but it is a completely different sport as kickboxing does not allow elbows or the clinch and the scoring is pretty different. I highly recommend seeing a fight if you are ever in Thailand – the major cities have fights pretty much any night of the week.
When did you first start Muay Thai and how did you get into it?
I started at 22 years old. My husband and I had been dating for about a year and he was a personal trainer at the time. I was doing some strength training with him and was getting stronger, but I was missing being competitive with others after playing sports most of my life. He suggested that I try Muay Thai as he figured I liked to kick things from soccer. So I started taking classes at UCLA only twice a week and then eventually joined a proper Muay Thai gym in Los Angeles – The Thai Boxing Institute. At first, training and sparring with other gym members fed my competitive side, but eventually, I decided to fight!
How long have you been competing and is this your first time competing in a world championship?
I had my first fight in Oct 2017 so almost 5 years (minus about a year and a half due to COVID). This is my first time competing in a world championship. In my last fight though, I got to fight someone who has fought in and placed in world championships before so it was a small taste to the level of fighters I’ll be up against.
What is your favorite thing about Muay Thai?
Facing your fears. There is always an element of fear going into the ring. When you first start your fears are of the unknown – like, what is going to happen in this fight!? Will I get knocked out!?! But as time goes on, those fears of the unknown fade and get replaced with even greater challenges as you test yourself against tougher competition. You have to learn how to get your mind right to face those fears. I’ve applied this to almost every aspect of my life and it has taught me that I can trust myself, even when I’m doing scary things.
Do you have any fun rituals you perform before a match?
If I don’t have to do multiple weigh-ins in a weekend, I try to have a nice lunch with my team earlier in the day where I can properly fuel and relax with those closest to me. I really just try to enjoy the day of the fight.
What does your training schedule look like in preparation for a competition on this level?
It’s anywhere from 2-4 hours of training a day, 6 days a week. Usually my training sessions in the morning consist of running, strength training, or privates with my coach. Evening sessions are usually with my team. Any session can consist of bag work, hitting pads, drills, clinching, sparring, etc. I have to get about 3 sparring sessions a week – usually it is with men since I don’t have too many female sparring partners near my weight. It can be grueling.
What can we do to support you?
First off everyone is being supportive! The team has been so understanding when I have to train during the workday and rearrange meeting schedules for me. Second – if people want to financially support, I’ll be selling t-shirts until May 15th to help cover costs of travel and board so reach out to me if you are interested!
Best of luck, Erin! The entire Carpe Data team is cheering you on!