What brought you to triathlon?
I started running about 13 years ago when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis). Exercise is good for both conditions, so I took up running and trained to run the Philadelphia marathon in 2007. My husband, Matthew, and I were running together, but he developed plantar fasciitis and was not able to run with me. I suggested that we try biking and swimming so we could still do some workouts together and that we should sign up for a triathlon. We did our first triathlon in September of 2007.
What’s your favorite discipline (swimming, biking or running)?
Tell us about your favorite race – which one (and when) was that? Why is that your favorite? What did you learn from it?
Maybe because it’s so recent, but I think Ironman 70.3 Maine may be my favorite race. I did it last year. Matthew and I were supposed to do it together, but he was sick most of the spring and summer and couldn’t train. My A race for the year was the Olympic distance at Nationals the second week in August, so after that, I lost my motivation to keep training for the 70.3. distance at the end of August. It became clear that Matthew wouldn’t be able to race, and then due to work commitments, he would not be able to even go to Maine with me. I was ready to give it up and did NOT want to do my final workout of a 4-hour-bike ride followed by a 1-hour run. I decided that I should do the workout and then make the decision about the race. After the workout, I decided to go ahead and drive up to Maine by myself. I liked Old Orchard Beach so much that I convinced Matthew to fly up on Friday night and join me. I had no time goals for the race, and enjoyed every minute! The day was perfect for me! I actually enjoyed the swim — it was a really beautiful morning, calm water, in a gorgeous location. I did not push too hard on the bike and run and had a great time. I learned that it is much more fun, and ultimately more rewarding, to relax and enjoy the experience. Putting pressure on myself to achieve a certain time or maintain a certain pace makes the experience much more stressful and less fun. And it’s supposed to be fun!
A triathlon tip you wish you had known when you first started?
It’s worth it (at least for me) to invest in a higher end wetsuit that you feel comfortable in and get as much OWS time in as possible. After several years, I have no anxiety with open water and actually prefer it to pool swimming. And I love my wetsuit! Oh, and always do the practice swim if it’s available.
Do you have a funny triathlon-related story to share with us?
So many! I have tried to bike out of the run out exit; I’ve tried to run out of the bike out exit (that was last month); I’ve arrived at bike out with my helmet on backwards! My worst experience was an evening triathlon in Connecticut that was a disaster. I panicked in the water and floundered the whole way, trying to do a breast-stroke through seaweed and marsh grasses. The bike was okay, but had a really steep uphill at the end and I wanted to unclip and walk my bike, but it was the first time racing in clips so I wasn’t sure if I could stop and unclip without falling or if I could clip in again if I unclipped. The run included some “fun” cross-country terrain up and down ravines. I hated the whole thing and was glad it was over, only to find out that they had run out of post-race food. It was only pizza, but they gave to the families as well as participants, and nothing was left when I was done. By then it was 8:30 in the evening and there were no restaurants in rural Connecticut, not even a McDonald’s or Burger King, so my post-race dinner was from 7-11.