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Make Way for the Tri-bies

A4-STORIED LIVES-thumbOn September 11, 35 women from the Rye Y’s Beginners Triathlon class will participate in the Danskin Women’s Triathlon in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  Rose O’Sullivan shared her story with Helen Gates.


On September 11, 35 women from the Rye Y’s Beginners Triathlon class will participate in the Danskin Women’s Triathlon in Sandy Hook, New Jersey, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  Rose O’Sullivan shared her story with Helen Gates.


A4-STORIED LIVES-insideI first started running just after I turned 48. At the time, I could barely run once around the track.  I had always been active, but with five grown children, I was looking for a new sport to challenge myself mentally and physically. Little did I know that the next ten years would include running 28 marathons in places as far as Alaska, London, Greece, and the Great Wall of China. Next March, I’ll be celebrating my 61st birthday by running the marathon in Antarctica. I’ll have to pack all those birthday candles along with my running gear!

 

I have a bigger challenge ahead of me though, and that’s the Danskin Women’s Triathlon. Up until two months ago, I didn’t know how to swim and was petrified of the water. I had a very bad, scary experience in the water when I was 14 and every time I put my face in I re-live that moment of terror.  I’ve jumped out of airplanes and conquered the Great Wall, but swimming is a whole other thing.

 

A few months back, I ran into Denise Cypher in the parking lot of Resurrection Church. Denise always looks so cool in her cycling or running gear, and I asked if she was training for something. She said that the Rye Y had just started a beginner’s triathlon class for women only, called Tri With Friends, and that I should give it a try.

 

Long story short, this is an amazing, challenging, fun experience all tied up in one.  Laura Tiedge, the Y coach, has been so supportive, along with the other 34 women in the group. We’re all new to triathlons, so we call ourselves “newbies” or “tri-bies”.

 

A few weeks ago, I swam 100 yards in the Long Island Sound, the longest distance I’d ever gone. I was petrified, but Laura stayed with me the entire way, which felt like forever. When I got out of the water, I was both overwhelmed and exhilarated.  But Laura was great. She hugged me tight, made me feel safe. To mark the occasion, she gave me a lovely necklace with a little starfish on it, to remind me that there’s a whole new world of life underwater and ahead of me. I plan to wear it during the triathlon with Laura, Denise, and all the other tri-bies at my side.


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