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“Most Welcoming Race” – Why I Continue to Compete in YWCA Women’s Triathlon

By YWCA Minneapolis Triathlete Liz Winslow
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Originally from Denver, Liz Winslow moved to Minnesota to earn her degree in instrumental music education. She is currently the Director of Bands at Richfield High School, just south of Minneapolis. When not working, she’s at the gym, exploring the great outdoors or hanging out with her partner and their two poodle-mix dogs. Liz answered a few questions about her experience in the YWCA Women’s Triathlon and gave some advice to those who are considering racing.

How did you find out about YWCA Minneapolis Women’s Triathlon?

I had started running 5Ks to get healthy and was looking for the next step. I wasn’t interested in long distances, so I figured I’d either need to work on getting faster or try something different. I was looking at local races and found this triathlon. It took me two years, but I finally signed up and started training.

Why do you continue race in the triathlon? What are some of your favorite parts or memories of the race?

YWCA Women’s Tri is by far the most welcoming race event I’ve encountered. Everyone is incredibly supportive and encouraging. The first time I did the triathlon, I was about a mile out from the finish and I was so tired. I was about to take a break and walk for a minute until a woman more than double my age came up behind me. She ran alongside me and coached me until I only had a mile left and could keep it up. She eventually sped off, but she was right. That moment sticks with me, especially whenever I’m mentally tired and want to quit.

Why do you choose to support YWCA’s mission?

The reason this was my first triathlon was because it was a women’s race. The reason I never got into fitness in high school was because I was always intimidated by other people in the physical education class. I figured if it was a women’s triathlon I had a better chance of feeling more comfortable in my own skin. YWCA is trying to break down barriers, and this triathlon is one example of how they’re creating access for traditionally underserved or ignored communities.

What is your next triathlon goal? ?

I used to be working on survival, but now I’m focusing on getting faster at the three disciplines. Depending on how my training goes this spring, I might try a longer distance race.

What is the best advice you have ever received about racing or training?

I’m an over-thinker and the best advice I’ve gotten is to relax and have fun!

What advice would you give to individuals who are considering racing?

I think the more you can ask questions and ask people about their experience, the better. Go to the free clinics and join the many Facebook groups to learn more. The free YWCA Training Plan is really adaptable to whatever your fitness level. Jumping into a triathlon can be kind of overwhelming, but YWCA Women’s Triathlon has all sorts of athletes participating with a variety of lived experiences. You’ll fit right in!

Any other specific tips on making time to train, motivation, recovery, gear or nutrition you would like to share?

A lot of people get caught up spending lots of money on gear, but it’s really not necessary to start off. Two inexpensive things that make a big difference are tie-less shoelaces and a race belt. You can just slip on your shoes and you don’t have to deal with safety pins when your adrenaline is pumping.

Learn More about YWCA Women’s Triathlon