DC Triathlon Club

2020 Member Spotlight – Laurie Penland

February, 2020

How did you get involved in triathlons?

I was going through a divorce and needed a mind-numbing, endorphin-boosting, distraction. When I moved to DC, I discovered the DC Tri Club. I did NTP, then ODP, and found the training regimen to be just what I needed to power through my emotional stuff.

What was your first triathlon?

2016 Sprint at Rock Hall

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made in a triathlon?

Not getting a good bike right away. I did my first tri on my 20-year-old Trek hybrid.

Can you tell us what you do at the Smithsonian?

I am a Diving Safety Officer or as I like to say, a Scuba Mom for the Smithsonian Institution. My job requires me to provide safety oversight to the diving activities of the Marine Scientists at the Smithsonian.

Does diving help with open water swimming?

I jump into challenging open water situations on a regular basis so I probably have an increased level of comfort in that portion of the tri. That being said, in scuba we swim with our fins and train divers to not to use hands at all, so it doesn’t help at all with my stroke!

Do you have any memorable races or experience?

Suffering through my first Saturday group ride to the BP station. It was my first long ride and having Mary Cousins encourage and wait up for me was a huge comfort. I came out of that ride knowing I can do this!

Do you have any upcoming races?

I am in ODP again and my next race is Rev3 in June.

What do you enjoy outside of triathlon?

Reading, writing, and recently I have taken up ballet! I find it enjoyable even though I am terrible at it.