Unless you live under a rock, you know what’s going on in Rio right now. On August 10, NPR wrote, “Cyclist Kristin Armstrong has a regular job and a son. And as of today, she also has three Olympic gold medals. After becoming the only cyclist — male or female — to win three consecutive golds in the same discipline, Armstrong, who turns 43 Thursday, said she hopes to inspire other moms.”
Armstrong doesn’t exactly fit right into our “50+ Athletes” but it’s definitely worth talking about. Armstrong was quoted in NPR,”I think that for so long we’ve been told that we should be finished at a certain age. And I think that there’s a lot of athletes out there that are actually showing that that’s not true.”
With that, I give you Cynthia, 59. She’s been a great athlete to work with and race with. Having started triathlon later in life, this lady is a positive role model for the sport, not just for women, but for everyone. You can’t miss her. She’s the one with the beautiful smile.
1. I think there are not as many in the 50+ AG because of a couple reasons. First, we didn’t grow up with tris. I had never met anyone until way in to my 40s that ever participated. The second is lack of this age group being active in general. Maybe health issues keep some out legitimately or maybe it’s a mindset. And another reason, no one invites you. If I hadn’t been approached and “talked into” this sport 7 years ago, I would have never felt confident enough to pursue the sport.
2. An active lifestyle has added so much to my life. The #1 benefit are the people. I have lifelong friends due to running and tris (even if they stop participating). Mainly women of so many ages. I am always inspired by them no matter their abilities. Sometimes the ones that struggle the most inspire me because they don’t give up. I also hope that I’ve set a good example of “aging” to my family and especially my kids. Lastly, competing has helped me physically. It’s kept those post menopausal pounds away. About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with osteopenia (pre-osteoporosis). I credit the weight bearing exercise of running in reversing this condition.
3. I started running 9 years ago this month to celebrate my 50th BD. I set out to run a marathon. Due to injuries I had to run a half instead, but I was hooked. The accomplishment really made me feel better about myself and my body. I have always been active, but never consistently active. I would join classes at the YMCA or LA Fitness, but there was never a purpose to them. Marathons and triathlon events gave my activity purpose and a timeline.
I got to Powerhouse through some friends that started taking triathlons seriously. My first 2 years of tris I trained with a group at the Y in Pearland. When that group disbanded, I trained on my own….haha! I had seen Powerhouse around town, but didn’t quite “get it”. I was afraid I would have to totally abandon my running group in Pearland, but I saw Julie Schultz doing both. She was really getting stronger and more focused…..that’s why I joined. FYI: She inspired me beyond words!
4. Keeping injuries at bay is to me part of the sport. One of the reasons I added tris to my schedule was due to repetitive injuries due to running only. My PT stopped my running for 6-8 weeks, but said along with therapy I could add swimming and stationary cycling. I was so frustrated at myself for not preventing these injuries. So, I knew once I was released to run I HAD to cross train. Triathlons gave my new training purpose. Last year I had some really painful lower back and hip issues. To help prevent those problems I’ve added 2 new activities…strength training (2 x wk) and Yoga with Laurie. I’m afraid to brag…..but it’s working really well. I will add though, if I start feeling the pain, I will not hesitate to go to the chiro or my Arrosti doc.
5. My training has really changed over the years. I have added so many new elements besides running and am able to go longer and more frequently…..not faster, but longer. It helps a lot that my “equipment” has improved too. 3 days a week I do 2 a day. That would have been crazy talk a year ago.
6. I am motivated by several things. The first is FOMO (fear of missing out). I don’t want to be on the sidelines or scrolling through FB and seeing my friends doing these awesome events. I want to be in the game as long as I can. I am so grateful that my body tolerates all this so well. There may come a day that my body says no more, but until then, sign me up. All the other athletes motivate me. Women that are juggling a job and kids and a spouse, but still manage a 5 am run, swim or bike. I don’t think I was tough enough when I was a young mom to keep all those balls in the air. Powerhouse motivates me. The coaches and the friendliness of other athletes keep me wanting to come back. Lastly, my spouse motivates me. He never dogs me if I’m not home. He never makes me feel guilty about the cost of this sport and he wants me to have what I need to succeed. He always asks me when I get home, “how’d you do?”
7. My greatest achievement is staying with it. My goal is not to podium. It is to have fun and finish. I still aspire for longer races and hopefully with continued training, I’ll have new greatest achievements.
8. My advice for younger athletes is stick with it. Don’t take it so seriously that you lose the joy for the sport. Set new goals and keep reaching a little beyond your comfort zone. I would tell my younger self to keep moving forward and that it is possible to be stronger physically and mentally as you age. It’s very simple (not always easy) but never, ever quit!
9. Competition for me is the party day. I have put in the training and now it’s time to show ME what I can do. At Shadowcreek a couple weeks ago all the over 50 ladies’ bikes were racked together. It was so cool to visit with a group of athletes that were still in the game. Some were down playing their abilities, but they were excited to still be on the field playing. Footnote: they beat me in every discipline.
10. The keys to my success is the training, the attitude, the health of my body and most importantly the NEVER QUIT mindset. My purpose, I truly feel, is to be an example of not making excuses. Not buying the BS that after a certain age I shouldn’t try; that I should be okay with gaining those 20 post-menopausal pounds because my metabolism has slowed down. I hope someone that “thinks” they are too old to start this sport, will think “if she can do it, I can do it!” No excuses! If Diana Nyad can swim 110 miles over 53 hours at 64 then I certainly can give the sport my all. Her mantra was “FIND A WAY.” So I will!
11. I would encourage anyone that is thinking about joining this sport to just do it. You can read about it, dream about it and talk about it, but if you are a healthy individual and you have the desire call POWERHOUSE and get started. No one will support, train or motivate you better!