Sue Reynolds lost 90kg over five years, fell in love with tri and has com­peted in three ITU Worlds. Here’s her story…

220 Triathlon Magazine - - CONTENTS -

Triathlon was my se­cret day­dream. How­ever, I never thought I’d ac­tu­ally do one. In 2012, I was mor­bidly obese. I couldn’t even tie my own shoes and had no idea that I liked sports. In five years I lost 200 pounds (90kg) through sound nu­tri­tion and ex­er­cise, I fell in love with triathlon and have done three world cham­pi­onship races since – it was a whirl­wind.

My first ‘work­out’ was walk­ing to the neigh­bour’s drive­way and back (about 300m) and I was close to red-lin­ing! I kept walk­ing slightly fur­ther each day un­til I could do 5km with­out stop­ping. Then, I started aqua aer­o­bics classes and swam a few lengths. Once I’d mas­tered that I took a spin class and be­gan rid­ing my bike around the neigh­bour­hood.

I found a book called When Big Boys

Tri about an over­weight man who did triathlons. I fig­ured if he did it, I could do it. I reg­is­tered for my first sprint triathlon and kept ev­ery­thing a se­cret ex­cept from my hus­band.

On the morn­ing of that triathlon, I was ter­ri­fied – I had no idea what I was do­ing. In tran­si­tion, I put on clothes over my bathing suit, brushed my hair and ate a sand­wich. I fin­ished dead last, but I felt like I’d won the Olympics. I was hooked!

When I first started do­ing triathlon as a mor­bidly obese per­son, my coach saw things in me that I didn’t see in my­self and then helped me see those things too. My orig­i­nal goal was to be an al­ter­nate [re­serve] for Team USA at the Worlds. He said, ‘Let’s not be an al­ter­nate, let’s make the team.’ His be­lief in me in­spires me to reach his ex­pec­ta­tions.

In Gold Coast, I was eighth in my age-group, I did a life­time PB in the swim and I had a re­ally good bike – sprint triathlons aren’t draft-le­gal in the USA so that’s quite new for me. But I wasn’t able to get into a group, be­cause I was go­ing faster than they were! The run is al­ways the chal­leng­ing part for me. I held it to­gether and I was pleased be­cause I run with power and I ran the whole 5km at thresh­old pace.

“I love how we all cel­e­brate one an­other’s ac­com­plish­ments”

I love en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to do triathlon, and I love sprints be­cause it’s a mul­ti­pur­pose dis­tance – you can be side-by-side with be­gin­ners. I, like oth­ers, train se­ri­ously and com­pet­i­tively, and it’s good to be out there on the course with peo­ple who are ner­vous and ex­cited be­cause they haven’t done one be­fore.

The triathlon com­mu­nity is truly unique. Wit­ness­ing how ev­ery­one cel­e­brates each other’s dreams and ac­com­plish­ments. The sup­port was im­mensely help­ful as I strived to trans­form my life. In tran­si­tion be­fore a race, I al­ways feel like I’m in the hap­pi­est place on earth.


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