Peak Performer

By Hannah Wallace Photography by Ted Mase January 1, 2011

Iron Woman

Why Ironman? I watched one of the first televised Ironmans. I was somewhere between eight and 10, and I remember being fascinated by the idea of pushing your body to the limit. I’d always wanted to run a marathon, which I accomplished in 1997. It took me six months to train for it, and that’s only one leg of a full Ironman. Shortly after that I formed my business, and I have children, too. But my youngest just went to college. So as part of a “get through empty nest” kind of thing, I decided to do the half Ironman in Augusta, Ga., this past September.

What inspires you? In triathlons, they write your age on your body. At first you’re like, “Are you kidding me?” But let me tell you how inspiring it is when somebody who’s 65 passes you.

How do you make the time? I’m lucky, because as the president and owner, I can make adaptations to my schedule. However, I don’t have a whole lot of wasted time. I watch very little TV now, and towards the end of the training, you do have to cut into your sleep. Nicole and Nick Clark, who own Fitness Together in Lakewood Ranch, broke down the half Ironman training day by day up to the day of the race. You log on every day or you get your workout sent to your BlackBerry.

Next? Yesterday I signed up for my first full Ironman next year in Arizona. If I were the type of person to have a bucket list, this would be on it.

New challenges? Each triathlon I’ve done, I was first out of the water in my age group. When we’re first seeing the swim course [at the start of a race], it’s dark, the sun isn’t quite up. A lot of people are thinking they’ll just follow someone. I’m thinking, “Holy crap, I have to know exactly where to go, which buoy to turn at.” It’s become a new pressure.

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