2020 Member Spotlight – Courtney WaltimyerMay, 2020
After training for my first (and supposed to be only) marathon, I passed Nations Tri on Ohio Drive, while athletes checked in their bikes and swore I would never do one. Fast forward a few months and a friend convinced me that biking and swimming were great cross-training for running. The same friend also got me to run another marathon and encouraged me to sign up for Ironman 70.3 St Croix. I figured this was a good race since I love to travel and had I could visit a friend. Little did I know how unprepared I would be without proper training, renting a mountain bike that I never rode before, and not knowing how to swim. I pulled out of the race because of my lack of commitment for training and not knowing how important nutrition was (electrolyte replenishment was the secret weapon I didn’t know about). I needed redemption so Nations Tri was the first triathlon I completed. When I crossed the finish line, I realized that I proved so many people wrong but more importantly, I proved to myself that I could set goals and achieve them.
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in a triathlon?
I’ve made so many, I think that’s how you learn. I didn’t know how to swim going into my first two triathlons (breaststroke was all I knew). Yes, you can complete a triathlon swimming breaststroke. I didn’t train outside of running (yes, you can complete a triathlon if you put effort into doing the best you can and picking a course that fits your strengths). I picked my first triathlon to have a hilly bike when I didn’t know what shifting gears meant and hills were not my strength (you don’t need fancy bikes or gear to try the sport, all you need is the belief that you can do it). My biggest mistake was not understanding what to wear. In the middle of transition, I stripped and changed from a swimsuit (had no idea what a wetsuit was) to running sneakers (yes, I had flat pedals and not clip-ins) and running pants (I didn’t understand what all that padding was for). I used a towel and hoped that a gust of wind wouldn’t come while changing (luckily, it didn’t).
Do you have any memorable races or experience?
Going into Maine 70.3, I was mentally and physically burnt out, I underestimated how much training takes out of you (don’t get me wrong, I would gladly do the longer distance training vs the short max efforts, those hurt and that isn’t my strength). Maine 70.3 was supposed to be part of my build towards Ironman Louisville. I woke up in the morning and almost went back to bed. I told myself the open water swim was to practice in my long sleeve wetsuit, the bike was to get a hard bike in with some elevation gain. I got to the run and was ready to pull out but then I remembered that this ice cream place had a carrot cake flavor. I told myself while running into transition with my bike that if I “just” do the run I could get this ice cream (yes, self bribery works for me during a race). The run ended up being my favorite part and felt “effortless”. It felt like everything clicked, all the bad days in training was worth it. I don’t know how many times I cried on my bike trainer or wanted to defer from an Ironman because I felt like it was impossible. It’s all part of the process and all the hard times were worth it because to this day, that effortless feeling I got during the run, is what I want to experience in another race.
What do you enjoy outside of triathlon?
Hiking somewhere new with friends and making a pit stop at a brewery or a winery (bonus points if they have burgers). I think exploring new places is important to the person I’ve become and it’s always a learning experience. I also LOVE [solidcore], it’s a hard workout but some coaches have made me fall in love with the process and always add an extra spring!