Grandman Triathlon, June 4, 2016

As of Saturday it is five months until Ironman Florida 2016.

I have lots of work to do and am fortunate to rely on some really great triathletes. I love the community of triathletes and find the majority of athletes to be supportive. I belong to two groups: Freshjunkie Racing, based in Louisiana, and the Ticking Time Bombs, the local tri club on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Both groups consistently encourage each other prior to, during, and after the races.

I am lucky to be able to have a group of friends that are close to my age, as well as, the same age as our son, and younger. I have been included as one of the athletes, despite our age differences. A few don’t know what to make of this old woman in what is mostly a young person's sport. They include me in post-race parties, and dinners and treat me as an equal. Some are comfortable enough to tease me about my age, especially when it comes to the music that is played at races.

It is not unusual for athletes to pass each other on the bike or run and offer encouragement.     I have met some really nice people at the different events. Many of my friends swim, ride, and run with me. Every one of the questions I have asked other triathletes about weight workouts, nutrition, cycling, or equipment has been answered. They share what works best for them. When I have won my age group at various events they are there to cheer for me. 

This past week was a fun training week. When I have a lot of intervals on the bike I do them at home on my trainer. It was also the beginning of adding longer workouts, especially the swim. On Thursday I did my first continuous hour swim.  I was surprised that I was able to swim 2600 yards in just over one hour. Fortunately my coach adapts my workouts to my calendar.  

Since Saturday was the Grandman Triathlon in Fairhope, Alabama, some adjustments were made to my training schedule. Friday was a much needed rest day. This was the third time I have done this race, and each time I've come in first in my age group.  For some reason I always forget how many hills are in this race. 

Friday evening, I was contacted by one of the younger male athletes, who is also going to do Ironman Florida, asking if I wanted to ride with him Sunday. Anytime I have a chance to cycle with someone, especially someone who is experienced with Ironman races, I jump at the opportunity.  Of course, not without checking with my coach. My OCD kicked in. Generally I have a rest day or easy run after a race. It was a low aerobic ride, but I was excited to be able to keep up, for two hours, especially in the wind.  

One more sprint distance triathlon in Alexandria, Louisiana, this weekend, and then it is going to be five months of strictly Ironman training. 


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.