Starting from Scratch- First Time Sprint Triathalon Finisher at 58 Years Young!

The brain and body strengthening lifestyle strategy of Movement is featured in this post with a guest blog from Nurse Coach Nancy Shelton, who trained for and completed her first triathlon at the young age of 58!  Nancy continues to inspire movement by coaching clients how to begin walking, running or movement programs and she'd LOVE to partner with you to help you achieve your wellness goals.  

Enjoy Nancy's inspiring personal and life changing story! 

Be well, Nurse Coach Nicole

September 15, 2013

I Wanted to Run a Tri...

I knew I wanted to run a tri since last year at the inaugural Possum Kingdom Trifecta. I enjoyed watching but really wanted to be out there.  It seemed impossible at the time and I certainly had no takers from anyone to do it with me. So it just sat there in my mind until March 2013 when the training began.

I Started with Running

I started with running, since that is what I considered my strong suit.  I had completed 2 marathons but that was decades ago.   I had not been running for years.  Starting from scratch. 

A book called “Run Less, Run Faster” got me started.  Run 3 days a week, cross train 2 days.  I followed it almost to the letter. No sore muscles, just slowly increasing my stamina.

Now for the Biking

Now for the biking. I rode across Iowa (500 miles) 5 years ago. And I’ve completed the Hotter ‘n Hell 100 mile bike ride twice.  Again, years ago.  Starting from scratch again. I didn’t even have a bike since the 2011 house fire. I got a trail bike from the ladies auxiliary and was on my way. 

nancy before.jpg

Biking was my cross training 2 days a week. I stayed in my little neighborhood for safety and completed untold rounds of the 3 mile course. Many neighbors asked what I was doing.

The Swim

Finally, the swim. I had taken a swimming class in college for a PE credit.  I won’t even say how long ago that was.  Really, really starting from scratch. Or even less.  

I don’t even like the water, especially if you can’t see the bottom. And more especially if you are out there without a life jacket.  Swim in a lake.. well, that would take some overcoming. I started in the backyard pool. Small, but safe.  Then moved to the city pool for lap swimming. The young swim team members helped how they could “with the older lady”. In the end, it was trial and error to develop some sort of rhythm with the strokes and breathing.  And enough endurance to complete 10 laps.  

I had hoped for at least one open practice swim but it never happened.  The day of the race would be my first day in the lake.  Biking and running would have to be my ace in a hole.

The Correct Clothing

As race day approached I knew I needed the correct clothing.  A very bright spot here.  A new tri wardrobe was just a click away.  I obtained the “necessary” items to look and feel good, I mean, to make the transition from the swim, bike, and run easier.   Once that was completed, new shoes were needed (the old shoes worn out from all the training). All the cool colors and styles to choose from... but, of course, I was looking for functionality. Then, I decided my heavy trail bike might just need an update. So 2 days before the event (a total no-no) I bought a new nimble road bike. So I was ready.

The Longest Week Ever

Nancy run and bike.jpg

The week before the event was the longest week ever. Tapering training has definite advantages… and disadvantages.  Saving up energy is definitely worth it, cutting down on training works on your mind. I was eating more, exercising less. Was I losing all my training in one week?  I attended Yoga classes 4 times in one week to help stave off the questioning thoughts.  My husband reassured me that I had trained well.

Race Day

No sleep after 3 am. Finally race day, up at 530a, put on my “cool” tri clothes, and arrived at the course at 630a. Two hours to wait for my designated swim.

I was thinking they may have put the buoys too far apart.  After I started, I was sure of it.  My breathing never got under control for the entire swim, but my arms and legs worked so I kept making progress. I didn’t look down.

Out of the Water

Up out of the water, I was very excited to have that part done!  I was the second to last bike out of Transition 1 (swim to bike) area. No worries, I wasn’t racing, just striving for a strong stand up finish. 

Still, after the bike turnaround, I set a goal to pass 10 people before the finish line.  My new bike worked like a dream and I felt light and fast.  I passed 4 bikers before getting to transition 2.

Bike to Run

At transition 2…bike to run…I put up my bike and removed my helmet.  Added a sun visor and a little more sunscreen, then took off on the trails.  My new shoes handled the rocks, ledges and switchbacks well. As promised, the views of PK were gorgeous from “up there”.  

I had a few quiet moments to thank the One who had given me all this.

I passed at least 6 people on the trails, completing my mind-game quota.  After 2 miles of shaded trails, we were dumped out on to the hot pavement. It was now 2hrs plus, with the heat building up.

But with only 3 miles left, nothing would stop me now.

It's Mostly Uphill

Did you know it’s mostly uphill all the way to Camp Grady Spruce?  Without the encouragement of the volunteers, it would have been even more difficult. I walked a lot of the final 3 miles, saving enough energy to “finish well”. 

Nothing felt better than crossing that line. Standing up. Strong!

Nancy Triathalete.jpeg

Something Few my Age can Brag About...

What do you do after a day like today?  Enjoy the medal, a tee shirt, and the immense satisfaction and gratitude of completing something few “my age “can brag about.  And, finally getting a good night sleep.

Next year?  I have a few months to think about it.

Want to join me?   

Nancy Shelton BSN, RN, NC-BC