Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Do they just grow'em like that in Wisconsin??

What is it about Wisconsin? I feel like every time I turn around, there's another triathlete I'm being introduced to or reading about from that fair state! And, yet again, here is a wicked cool (that's for you, Stu!) story about an 88-year old triathlete who clearly has been drinking the water up there.

I'm gobstopped.

(And I don't just say that because it's a fun word.* I really am.)

Check out her story and send a quick "get well" note to JohnnyTri, who posted about her through a DayQuil induced haze. Thanks JT!

*which, a quick Webster's search reveals is not, in fact, a word. Good grief.

MADISON, Wis. - Eighty-eight-year-old Mary Stroebe is a little beat up.

On a short bike ride outside her wooded home on the city’s west side, she somehow sliced open her calf. There’s a titanium rod in her left shin, a constant reminder of a skiing accident earlier this year.

But the bespectacled, silver-haired great-grandmother is still decked out in her riding gear — pink, purple and black shorts and shirt — and her day is just getting started. She’s got three weeks left to get ready for the Life Time Fitness Triathlon in Minneapolis, named for the chain of gyms sponsoring the Minneapolis race.

The July 15th triathlon — a succession of swimming, biking and running that tests even the most hardened athletes’ wills and stamina — will be Stroebe’s 12th.

“I think I’m young so I act like it. I don’t realize how old I am,” she said Saturday. “I’m in good health and good shape. I’ve stayed active the whole time. Those are things that pay off.”

The retired school teacher grew up an athlete, playing intramural basketball, volleyball and field hockey at Lawrence University in Appleton. She spent three years in the U.S. Navy Waves during World War II, coding and decoding messages in Seattle as a lieutenant junior grade.

She began a lifelong love affair with downhill skiing in Seattle, and still teaches skiing at Devil’s Head Resort in Merrimac.

She entered her first triathlon in Beloit in 1993 at age 75, joining her son Bruce — who has competed in several triathlons himself — and her granddaughter in a three-generation team. Each one competed in one leg of the race.

“I just watched them and said that looks like fun,” she said. “I can do that.”

Not ready to hang it up
She entered her first triathlon on her own in 1995. She’s done 10 more since.

This past January, she broke her left leg after a snowboarder fell in front of her while she was skiing at Squaw Valley. Doctors inserted the rod in her leg and forbid her to compete in this year’s triathlon.

Nothing doing, said Stroebe.

She picked up her training again two months ago with the help of a personal trainer. Almost every day she spends up to three hours riding, biking or walking.

“Each year I think it’s my last,” she said. “Sometimes I think it’s time to hang it up. Then it comes and I think it’s fun to do it one more year.”


Porscha said...

Wow, that water's getting around. Hear about those blind ironman triathletes? All these stories are really impressive. :D

Spokane Al said...

That is a very neat story. I hope a big portion of the current trithlon population is still fighting it out for an age group award when we reach her age.

LBTEPA said...

I want to be her when I grow up.

nancytoby said...

Hey! I ran that photo way last June when she was still only just-turned-88!

LoneStarCrank said...

Wow...that woman has chamois older than all of us! Impressive. I'll never forget my first 10K -- feeling pretty good at mile 5 until a 70 year old woman passed me. Talk about a reality check. We could all be so lucky to be doing this years, years down the road.

JohnnyTri said...

She's a great inspiration. Thanks for the ShoutOut...feeling better!

ClareUK said...

He- off topic, but have you checked out Kahuna's site today?? You're inspiring them in Oz!! Fantastic

Anonymous said...

Whoot Wisconsin! Three cheers for the kick-ass state
~Lil' Sis (who works for a Member of Congress from WISCONSIN)