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Pat and Coach Suzy at Chicago Triby Pat C.

I’ve often wondered if I would write a blog for this space and if I did, what would I say and where would I start?

Start at the beginning, I guess. No, not that beginning as that’s a long time ago, but the beginning of my personal triathlon journey.

What I knew about triathlon was what I remembered from watching ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I would watch in awe as mostly male athletes swam in the ocean waves, rode their bikes over hot as coal roads and then ran a full marathon. They were amazing athletes, but were they nuts?

My journey with triathlon began about three years ago. At that point I was an over 50, overweight, once widowed grandma who could barely keep up with a very cute two year old grandson. I did not want to be that grandma. I was sick and tired of carrying around all the extra mourning weight. It was time to live as I had much to be grateful for and it was time to lose weight.

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vicky at nationals with medalby Vicky T.

This was going to be “my” year. Having qualified for Nationals by winning my age category last September, I was exceedingly excited to be able to race the course in Milwaukee for the 2nd time. I had high aspirations to try and beat my Personal Best from 2007. If I could do that, based on the times from last year’s Nationals results, there was a slight possibility that I could qualify for the World Championship and represent Team USA. I set my sights on a red white and blue kit.

Pre-race, everything went as smooth as could be. My closest friends were there to cheer me on. My wonderful, supportive husband transported m and my equipment to the start. I had my beautiful Shiv waiting for me in transition and fully expected to have my best bike split ever. I was ready for this swim. More ready than I’ve ever been thanks to Coach Joe.

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Bob at naperville triathlon presented by experience triathlonby Bob H.

Last year, I ended my triathlon season with the Pleasant Prairie Olympic distance triathlon. In that race, my plan was to swim and bike fairly easy and concentrate on the run, using the pace at which I was going to run my upcoming marathon. That race didn’t exactly come off as planned and I ended up struggling on the run, walking a lot and generally ruining my psyche for marathon season.

This year, I decided to run Big Sur and Grandma’s Marathons about 6 weeks apart. Neither race went quite as planned and I came out of the early season with serious doubts about ever being able to run well again.

Next on my plan was the Naperville Sprint Triathlon presented by Experience Triathlon. I had no specific pacing plan for the race. I just wanted to have fun with the race and try to work the run pretty hard. Mission accomplished!!

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Sharon at naperville tri presented by Experience Triathlonby Sharon K.

Two years ago yesterday, the day of the Naperville Sprint Triathlon presented by Experience Triathlon, I started my fitness journey. I saw my profile in a store front window and decided it was time to take action. A new gym had just opened up near my house, and I opened the door to a new life. I signed up for 12 personal training sessions, and began training twice a week with the trainer and 4 days on my own. I lost 20 pounds and felt great. My husband has always been supportive, but he noticed an improvement not only in my appearance, but in my attitude and outlook. I was much happier and it showed.

I have a personal trainer who understands me. We work together and get the most out of a workout. She continues to challenge me. She talked me into doing a Diva Dash last August, and when I told my husband I was thinking of entering (lots of obstacles within a 5K setting), he said, “You know you are 52, right?” Yes, so what? I feel good, and want to give it a try. I loved the obstacles and hated the run. I entered with several coworkers and Alicia, my trainer, and had so much fun.

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Beckie and Chilly at Racineby Beckie M.

Confidence/noun – The feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something/ a feeling or belief that someone or something is good or has the ability to succeed at something.

That Webster dictionary definition of confidence should be emblazoned on the Experience Triathlon website. It is the epitome of what the ET coaches instill in their athletes and sometimes certain athletes are lacking in this very attribute. It’s what any member of ET (coached or not) is going to gain by joining this team if they don’t already have it. If they have it, their confidence will only grow more. But by becoming a coached athlete and an ET club member, I had someone who truly believed I could do Ironman Racine 70.3 when at times I didn’t think I could AND I had an entire team to support the goal. The thoughts of, “My swim is too slow, I’m always at the back of the bike pack, my run isn’t getting any better and is too slow” were mantras in my head to not do Racine. Even if these things were true, it didn’t matter because my coach, Coach Chilly Pepper (Cathy Obordo), was still there saying I did a good job, I got it done, way to persevere. Working with her made me believe in myself and now I can say I completed an Ironman 70.3!

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Naperville based Experience Triathlon is a leader in the endurance services industry. Our tag line, “Where being a winner is as important as being the winner,” highlights our belief that training, racing and life are about the journey, not just the end results. We provide endurance coaching services, classes, clinics, clubs, camps, race events, nutrition coaching, massage therapy and performance testing to athletes in the Chicago area and around the world. MORE

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