I started triathlons back in 1996. Basically triathlons are a lifestyle for me. I usually race every other weekend from May through September. I have competed in every distance from sprint to full Ironman, draft legal and non-drafting, as well as other multisport events- duathlons, aquathlons, and mudruns! I have competed the ITU World Championships in Budapest, Chicago, Cozumel and this year- Spain and qualified for France, Australia, and Canada. Although I love racing, I understand there is a balance between family, work, rest and training. My husband and children have been very patient through the years with my obsession. I joined the club several years ago to find more people to train with. I enjoy the group rides and mentoring sessions. The St. Louis triathlon community has a lot a great resources from our coaches to our sponsors to other teammates to help you achieve your goals.
When/Where was your first triathlon?
My first triathlon was the fall of 1996. It was a sprint triathlon in Alabama. I was told to get a wetsuit for the swim, so I did. I got a used diving suit. Let’s just say I had a wonderful 400 m doggy paddle. I was the 2nd to the last person out of the swim. The 70 year old guy behind me passed me in transition because I could not get my wetsuit off! It was stuck on my calves. Even though I was not allowed to receive outside “help”, I managed to talk two of the volunteers into helping me get off the wetsuit- me holding onto a fence and one guy on each leg trying to pull the suit off! Let’s just say people were already finishing the bike and coming back into transition when I was leaving…
What is your favorite and least favorite gel flavor?
I like the fruit flavored gels. The biggest surprise I got was when I grabbed a maple bacon gel during a race. I could not figure out what I had just put in my mouth, but I wasn’t too thrilled about it.
What is your favorite race?
Chattanooga 70.3- downstream swim, beautiful scenery and awesome support.
What is the most challenging moment you’ve had during a race?
Coming around the last 400 meters of a race in first place with a much younger woman chasing me down. I was on the verge of throwing up if I pushed myself anymore. She was one of those people that run 6 minute miles. I really wanted to be the first through the finish line (just a little competitive). So I pushed it…did I mention this was a 2 loop run course with everyone running past the finish line on the first loop? Yep, right through the finish line and on my hands and knees. The photographer was nice enough to hand me a towel afterwards. Sometimes you need to find out how hard you can push yourself.
What is your favorite place in or around St. Louis to train?
New Town- open roads, good visibility, not a lot of traffic.
What is your favorite thing about triathlon?
What is the one piece of tri-geek gear you can’t live without?
My garmin watch. I completely freak out if I forget it!
Tip for new (or veteran) triathletes?
It is ok to miss a workout if you or a family member is sick, you have to work or something else comes up. Set realistic expectations for your training. Between work and 3 young kids I was only able to train 6-8 hours per week. I stayed with the sprint and olympic distance races because that was a realistic goal for me. Balance life with training- plan a family vacation for your post season recovery.
You never know who you will meet: I was standing around the lake at Branson checking out the swim course and started talking to another athlete about the course, different races- triathlon stuff. He came up here from Texas to do this race. He had done it several times before and really liked it. The the announcer comes on and says we have a very special guest with us today. Gordon Haller who won the first Ironman in 1978! Gordon say “Hi” to everyone! The guy next to me turned around and waved to everyone.