Honestly, I was surprised to be invited to write my story. I haven’t done a race distance longer than the Olympic, and it's beginning to look like I never will, but I do love the sport of triathlon and I am happy to be able to do what I can as long as I can. As I get older, I think it seems to be getting less competitive and there are fewer women in my age group, so I do feel better about not being as fast as the younger kids.
I think my first thought of doing a triathlon was when I was about 50. I was a competitive swimmer as a kid until I entered high school. After that I didn't do much of any sport until I was 25 and started running (my mom started running when she was in her 40's and with kneecaps missing on both of her legs from previous accidents, and "if she could do it, I could do it"). When my husband and I got married, I was 33 and recovering from Anorexia Nervosa (at my lowest point I weighed 85 pounds). God healed me and we were blessed with 6 children (of our own), pretty much one after another, because we wanted a big family and we got such a late start. I knew after our second child that I had to let go of my addiction to exercise, and focus on our family. So, when my kids were old enough that I could sit them in the bleachers while I swam laps a few times a week I was a happy lady. Well then, they closed the pool (K-M) so I got a gym membership (a big spend for our 1 income family) and I loved working out, doing whatever. I did spin classes and finally got a road bike and did the STP with my husband.
I met Cindy McGonigal in spin classes and we talked about doing a triathlon. We ended up doing the Danskin triathlon together (my first tri). It happened to be the year when it was freezing cold and raining. Julie Swienty was a spectator and tied my shoe for me because my fingers were frozen and not working. It was miserable and I know I was hypothermic. Fortunately, we decided to do the Escape from the Rock triathlon the next month and it was a beautiful day and a much better experience.
After a year or two of doing a few sprint triathlons, I signed up for Raise the Bar. One of the best things I've ever done. I love the team and everyone on it. It has done so much for me, all the great people, opportunities, training, confidence building, and friends. I love that no matter how old or young or fast or slow, they will be there to cheer you to the finish. Now, I'm doing 3 or 4 triathlons a year along with several running events. My favorite (and biggest race) is the Chelanman Olympic because it is a girl's weekend for us, and the weather is usually warm. I mostly love the training for triathlons though as I get too panicky and I have a hard time pacing myself at the races, so I'm usually done with my race before I cross the finish line. I'm still working on that...
Now, we have only 3 kids left at home. The youngest is 17. There's a problem with them all growing up and leaving though, as our 4th child is special needs (Angelman's Syndrome) and needs care 24/7. She's been a real blessing for our family but we are running out of kids to help take care of her so it's pretty much up to my husband and I now, and that can interfere with training and many other activities. Also, my oldest daughter (Annie) is pregnant, and I'm going to be a grandma! I think that will be changing my priorities a bit as well.
I do want to continue doing triathlon for as long as I can. I love the fitness it provides, and the community of health-minded people to train and have fun with. I also love that when you're injured there are two other sports that you can work on. Bring on the next age group!
Raise the Bar
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