Being a Swim Angel

Posted on July 13, 2008 by joy

I was never one to love exercise. I envied those who lived to work out, and it wasnt because I was lazy. I think it was mostly because I never found anything I loved enough to do it all the time. 2 years ago, I started my journey to change my attitude. For me, I found i need people…. classes, trainers, a buddy etc.

After working out (hard!) at Vita Fitness with Craig, I grew to look forward to our workouts. I was ready to compete in the triathlon. 2 weeks before the race, a simple fall broke my foot.

Flash forward a year (2007).. I found a great group of women through Jill B. Nimble and with the fin training events and amazing support system that was formed through women who are some of my closest friends now, I completed my first triathlon… and was hooked.

Flash forward to THIS year. The hardest part of me was running. I enlisted the help of the amazing Cristin VanDriel of Ultimate Stamina to help. With Cristin’s amazing supportive yet firm coaching style and incredible running expertise, I shaved 10+ minutes off of my 5K running time. I also strength train with Mike Steinmetz and I again joined Jill B. Nimble’s amazing training group under the direction of Jill Sommers (who works at Le Club) and set a goal to knock 15 minutes off of my total triathlon time.

About 1 month ago a recurring foot issue put me into physical therapy with Rick Wagner at Body Renovations. We are unsure of the exact cause yet and are still working on some additional testing but it put me out of running commission for the time being. Again, the Danskin is on hold.

Instead of skipping it all together I volunteered to be a Swim Angel. Many triathletes in the Danskin are the most apprehensive about the water and many have never swam in an open water situation. What a swim angel does is match up “angels” with these people for support and encouragement along the way. We swim along side of our fellow athletes and provide positive feedback. You swim most times with someone from start to finish. Then you get out of the water, walk back to the start (about 3/4 mile for the walk alone!) and start all over again with a new swimmer. All in all, today I was in the water for over 3 hours and swam about 3 miles. This was an amazing experience (and a substantial swim workout!). Completing a triathlon was a huge accomplishment for me and the experience of helping someone complete theirs was an experience i’ll never forget.

For those women who are considering doing something like a triathlon, the Danskin is a perfect one to give it a “tri”. Its 4500 women of all shapes and sizes completing this race just for them. If you are a good swimmer, i would highly recommend being a swim angel. I’m highly considering training with the Jill B Nimble group next year for the great group support and fantastic workouts but then being a swim angel instead of racing.

Also– I’ll be competing in the Spirit of Racine triathlon next weekend as a relay. I’ll be doing the swim! 🙂

Congratulations to all of the triathletes from today!


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