2020 Member Spotlight – Susan Ariel AaronsonMarch, 2020
I had done a sprint triathlon in the early 1990s. After my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, I felt like I needed a new goal, so I signed up for Reston, an Olympic triathlon. I usually try to do one duathlon, one sprint and one Olympic distance each year. Since that first triathlon, my times have gotten worse. I find this particularly ironic. I now can swim and bike faster than that first race, but I am considerably slower in the run.
Do you train differently than when you were younger?
My comparative advantage has always been running. Last year I learned that I am not Peter Pan. I fractured my arm running on the trail, and since then I have learned I need to incorporate more weight lifting and balance work. I am also much more cautious when I run and I have shortened my stride, which has not helped me with speed. But I’ve also learned that the key to life is weight lifting.
How competitive is the field for women/men in their 60s?
Interestingly the women in the 60s age groups are pretty competitive (although it depends on the event). Obviously there are fewer competitors in the 60s age groups than the 40s or 50s. However, in general, the people who do triathlons in their 60s are people who have been fit for a while. They are strong competitors. Most women are faster than me in the swim and some are faster than me in the bicycle, but I can almost always outrun them.
What do you enjoy outside of triathlon?
I enjoy my family, ballet, and my job. I am very lucky that I chose a career as a scholar and educator. I teach grad students in international trade and I run a small think tank at GWU. We do research on the data driven economy and train policymakers in these issues. The best part of my job is that I spend much of my time working out thinking about what I will write. Due to current events, I write a lot of op eds about good governance, corruption, data and equity.