When and how did triathlon or multisport become a part of your life?
When my next-door neighbor, Angela Meeks, had lost over 100 pounds, she told me she was afraid of gaining her weight back, so I told her to come play with me. I told her I always wanted to do a triathlon but never had anyone to train with. I thought I was in pretty good shape until she found Mary's class on the internet. After the warm up in Mary's class, I realized that I wasn't in that great a shape at all. Hence, the training began. From there we met Patty Swedberg and now I have been doing triathlon for nine years.
What has been one of your greatest accomplishments as an athlete?
I would have to say completing the Victoria Ironman 70.3 in 2015. I started that journey in 2010 before it was an official ironman race to complete that for my 50th birthday. I was having a great year. It all started in September 2009 when I won my age group at the Bonney Lake Inaugural Olympic triathlon. That put me on a path to get faster and faster and faster. I had lost weight, was doing Toby's run class, and PR'd at the Christmas Rush 5k, New Orleans Inaugural Rock n Roll Marathon, Tacoma Half Marathon. About a month before Victoria, I started getting triple vision, neurological symptoms, head numbness, dizziness, and stomach problems. My body went down hard and I was devastated. I wanted to complete that race so bad. After many scary diagnoses and tests, I found out I had a goiter (thyroid quit working), was gluten intolerant, and allergic to casein. Long story short, I take thyroid medication now and cut gluten and casein out of my diet. I also have learned to not stress my body so much. Because I have learned these lessons, I was able to come back five years later at 55 years of age and complete Victoria Ironman 70.3!!!
Scary for me is riding downhill on a bike. When I first got my bike, my friend, Angela, took me down 218. I thought I was going to have a heart attack. She flew down. I started going down and then would stop, get off my bike, start walking in bike shoes and talk to myself and then get back on. When I was going down that hill, I had my brakes on so tight I swear there was smoke coming out of them. It took me 20 minutes to get down that hill. This year in Victoria I went down the windy hills in my aerobars, which is something I'm very proud of. I have never gone down any hills in aero position. A work in progress.
What is your biggest challenge and what do you do to manage this?
My biggest challenge is balance and moderation. I am the person who cannot eat only two tablespoons of peanut butter. I need the whole jar. When I first started triathlon, I lost the balance in my life. Everything revolved around my workouts and my races. My son had just gone to college and I think I was filling a void. As a result of losing that balance, I had marital problems and health problems by going too far and hard and forgetting about what is really important. I caught that before any damage was done and put triathlon in its rightful place. I have a great husband who I train with and I balance my workouts so I have time to enjoy life. When you think of triathlon, it really is about balance; run, bike, swim. It's not too much of one thing. It's a balance to help you cross-train, so you stay healthy and can do it forever.
What is the best advice you were ever given?
Throughout the years I have received a lot of great advice from many people, but these are the three things that go through my mind at some point in every race: Live in the moment, Patty Swedberg; A relaxed athlete is an efficient athlete, Mike Swienty; Your body has muscle memory and you will get your second wind. Just keep going, Toby Mollett.
Do you have a saying or motto that you live your life by?
Enjoy every moment of every day because you were never promised tomorrow. Play!! Play!! Play!! Also a little dancing doesn't hurt... preferably Disco!!!
Where do you get your inspiration from?
The group of women Raise the Bar introduced me to through Raise the Hope. These women are truly by best friends. We have become much more than just training partners. I will always be eternally grateful to Patty Swedberg for introducing us all.