I am the youngest of five siblings. My oldest brother died at 54 from colon cancer. One of my sisters has multiple sclerosis. Another sister had diabetes and recently passed away. My other brother had lymphoma. I am fortunate to have my health, and I choose to give thanks and to take advantage of my healthy body. I completed my first Half Ironman when I was 60 years old. When I am in training, I am in my church. To date, I have completed two Half-Ironman triathalons and a Half-Ironman relay. And I’ve done two 100-mile bike rides (the actual rides are only 95 miles, but I want 100 miles, so after the race I continue to ride in circles for another 5 miles).

Before I started training, I had never run a 5K race. I couldn’t bike 2 miles.

I know I have shaken to the core the stereotype in our society that as women age, they become invisible and are marginalized. I am strong, and, therefore, I am not invisible. I am powerful, and, therefore, I cannot be marginalized. I am breaking barriers by participating and meeting my goals. I will continue to make myself strong as long as I am able. With my proven strength, I gain confidence.

The funny thing, with that confidence I became less concerned with my outward appearance. It’s not that I don’t care about my outward appearance. I still do. I want to look as good as I can. But it’s my inner strength that I concentrate on now. I have found my way to retain my uniqueness. 

This is an excerpt from a comprehensive interview.