I’m a recreational athlete who enjoys sprint triathlons which usually include a 400 meter swim, 10 – 20K bike and 5K run. After doing triathlons for a few years and enjoying the heck out of them, I convinced my mom to do my favorite tri, the Just Tri It Triathlon! It’s an off road tri on trails and in a small inland lake. It’s a blast and the small community of Manitowish Waters, WI is only 20 minutes from mom’s house.

She was 65 then and had never competed in organized sports, but she had watched me compete my whole life. She lives on a lake and we always swam from her dock to cousin Bobbie’s to cousin Denny’s to Uncle Tom’s dock and back which was about 500 meters. So she knew she could do the swim. She hadn’t been on a bike in a long time – decades in fact. So that was the length of the tri that intimidated her the most. She walked regularly at a very fast pace so she knew she could either walk that part of the event or jog a little. She practiced, she trained, she prepped, she bragged!, and she boosted her head game for game day!

It was a gorgeous day, not too hot, not too cold. The lake temperature was perfect. There was no wind, and excitement was screaming through our veins as we waited for our turn to start the 300 meter swim. She wasn’t too happy about getting kicked in the head by another swimmer’s foot but she did great. Then the transition to biking was next – we had practiced this too. She didn’t have a full suspension bike so it was more bumpy that she had trained for since it was on trails instead of pavement.

She wiped out on a wet corner right before a little walking bridge. She said it hurt like hell when her shin hit the bike frame but she got back up and on the bike to finish strong. The run is the last event so she started out with a slow jog then transitioned to a fast walk.

Along the way she chatted briefly with many people. One lady said to her, “Did you know there’s a 65 year old woman doing this race?!” My mom said, “Yah, you’re looking at her!” Then my mom said she took off running as her natural competitive spirit kicked in. She said later she didn’t want that lady to beat her so she ran the rest of the race and won her age group! Of course, she was the only one in it. But that didn’t matter, and never does to me either.

The fact is, at 65 years old, she stepped way outside her comfort zone to try something that never crossed her mind before, she did it, and she won! I love that race and all the memories of it, especially this one!