Discover more from Athletic Aging
Real stories from real women kicking ass beyond age 50
My Friends! We don't celebrate each other enough! This incredible story is brought to you with the help of my friends at H20 Fitness Collaborative in beautiful Scarborough, Maine! This is the 7th post of an ongoing series where we will be celebrating all you bad-ass women who, at age 50+, decided you were just getting started! Enjoy! -Carla
Ann comes to us from beautiful southern Maine! This is a truly inspiring story about an unwavering belief in oneself inspired after the loss of her beloved partner. Ann is a true example of finding that fire deep from within - even when the status quo would have it differently. At age 60, she found a new identity as an athlete who not only can compete but can win!
Ann grew up in central Connecticut and has lived in southern Maine since 1994. She grew up in a poor family that was not athletically inclined. However, she grew up on a lake and spent time swimming and exploring in the woods. Throughout her life, she enjoyed casual biking and hiking.
In 2006, she fell in love with Betsy, a breast cancer survivor who was in remission. But as her cancer returned, Ann focused on caring for Betsy until her passing in 2009. During this time, Ann became sedentary.
Two years later, approaching her 60th birthday, she decided to challenge herself with something new. For her birthday, her gift to herself was to take up running. She found a trainer who, at her second training session, encouraged her to train for a sprint triathlon. Feeling that this was too ambitious so early on, she tabled the idea. But on the anniversary of Betsy’s death, she decided to train for Tri for a Cure (TFAC), an all-women sprint triathlon, to celebrate and honor Betsy’s life.
Ann was completely overwhelmed by the idea of competing in a triathlon. Her greatest barrier was recognizing herself as an athlete having spent so much of her life being sedentary and spending time with other non-active friends. But with training, she soon discovered her abilities and strength even at age 60!
She approached her training by staying in the moment, focusing on what was in front of her; “one stroke at a time, one pedal at a time, and one step at a time”. Learning to break everything down carried over into her daily life and still helps her today. She found support in the “Tri class” with her trainer and enjoyed the camaraderie of swimming, biking, and running together. She also enjoyed support from the more experienced triathletes who were inspired by a 60-year-old newbie!
Not only was Ann participating in these events, but she was also winning!
I did a sprint triathlon for the YMCA as a “warm-up” and won my age group-I was hooked! I said “Not only can I do this, I can win! “
Ann went on to complete 25 sprint triathlons and qualified for Nationals in her first year. She completed Nationals in her second year and did a World triathlon in London in her third year. But what she truly enjoys are local events like Tri for a Cure that make a difference in the community.
To stay healthy and perform well, Ann does strength training and physical therapy sessions with two Iron Man triathletes and follows a gluten-free diet to keep her Celiac in check. She loves dark chocolate and enjoys a magnesium supplement fizz at night time to relax.
Ann’s advice to other women who are beginning their athletic journey later in life is to “find something FUN - something YOU enjoy doing - or that energizes you, and then find other women who love being active to play with”.
Today, Ann is a retired music teacher/choral director who manages a Classical Chorus in Portland, Maine, leads a Threshold Choir, and sings in a local Community Chorus. She is also a care provider for her adorable 9-month-old granddaughter. She also has strong friendships in her music and local triathlon communities.
Ann, thank you for sharing your amazing story! Betsy would be so so proud of what you have accomplished! Cheers to you and to Besty!