On the Road to Ironman Florida

My name is Gini Fellows. In August of 2016, I will turn 70 years old, and I am doing Ironman Florida.  This will be my first, and last, full Ironman triathlon.   My goal is to finish within the 17 hours allowed for this distance.  I am going to blog my journey to Ironman Florida, which is being held November 5, 2016.

I spent years teaching swimming, and driving our son, Patrick, to swim practice and swim meets.  I was active, but never competed in any sport.  Prior to nine years ago I swam, had a bike, which gathered a lot of dust, and did not run.

I had knee surgery and was rehabbing my knee when Patrick, a triathlete who puts on races and trains athletes for endurance events, suggested I do a women-only super sprint triathlon, a series of triathlons, that he and a friend were starting.  I thought why not, as long as I didn’t have to run.

My swim was ok, I started too fast, my old comfort fat-tire bike took me the 12 miles, and I walked the run portion. I came in first in my age group and fat-tire division.

Within 6 months I bought two new bikes and began doing 5k races.  Apparently I was hooked.

For the next few years I did 2 or 3 sprint triathlons a year.  In 2013, I decided I wanted to try an Ironman 70.3, which is a half Ironman.  Pat said he would train me, so I signed up for Ironman 70.3 Augusta.  Even though I was a good swimmer, open water swimming unnerved me.  I completed the race despite my chain breaking during the race, and was 3rd in my age group.   I also qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, in 2014.  I did Ironman 70.3 Texas in Galveston in the spring of 2014, and came in first in my age group.

I am not that fast!  There just are not a lot of ladies who are competing.  That spring I did a couple more sprints, and headed for Mont Tremblant in the fall of 2014.  I finished the race, which is all that I cared about.

Last year I decided to do only sprint distance triathlons.  I really missed the races and started asking my coach if he thought I could do a full Ironman.  He said it will be hard but you can do it.  Last fall I volunteered at Ironman Florida and signed up.  I have been building a base and am starting to do more distance, and more difficult workouts.  I also have added weight workouts 2 to 3 times per week.

I look forward to blogging my journey to Ironman Florida.


Gini Fellows

About Gini

Gini Fellows, a registered nurse, teaches health and wellness at the Biloxi, Mississippi, campus of Tulane University.  She’ll turn 70 in August, and is training for her first full Ironman in Florida in November 2016.  Her coach is her son, Patrick, who’s a huge inspiration to Gini as he schedules her workouts and helps her sort through her doubts and fears.

Gini’s always been active but only began competing in triathlons in 2007, after knee surgery.  In 2013 she competed in her first Ironman 70.3 race, and surprisingly came in 3rd in her age group, qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.  In preparation for that distance Gini competed in Ironman Texas 70.3 and came in 1st in her age group.

Last year Gini began thinking about attempting to complete a full Ironman.  After talking it over with Patrick, who is competing with her, she decided to register and commit to her training.

Gini says she began her journey to Ironman Florida this winter by building a base and now she’s beginning to add harder and more specific workouts.

Gini’s excited to be blogging about her training – in her words, “the good, the bad, the ugly!!”

Thank you for following!!

A note about Ironman triathlons.

The Ironman 70.3 refers to the total distance in miles covered in the event, which comprises a 1.2-mile swim, a 57-mile bike ride, and a 13.1-mile run.

A full Ironman triathlon event comprises a 2.4-mile swim, a 114-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.

Ironman also has other events, including events for children and for women only.  For additional information, see the Ironman website.