A kid’s point of view: My teacher, the triathlete

By Colleen, age 10

Did you know that my teacher is a triathlete? Isn’t that cool? I decided to ask her some questions to find out more about her races. Her name is Flo Smith, and she teaches 5th grade at Ossian Elementary. Here is what she said:

My teacher, Mrs. Smith

My teacher, Mrs. Smith

Q. When did you start doing triathlons?

A. I started doing triathlons in 2010. I figured since I can run and cycle and could figure out how to stay alive while swimming 700 yards for a sprint tri –why not. My first tri was in northern Michigan. The swimming was difficult but the biggest challenge was getting out of my wetsuit. It was not pretty, I couldn’t get it over the ankle band.

I didn’t do another tri until the next summer when I did two — Fox Island and same one in MI.  Over the winter I had taken swim lessons and the swim was much better.  Then in June, one week before my 3rd annual tri, I was trail running and fell downhill by tripping over a tree root.  I injured my rotator cuff and had to do physical therapy and rest my shoulder from swimming for a whole year, so I did not do any tris in 2013.  I think my shoulder is finally ready to get back in the pool.

FloSmith2Q. What kind of bike do you have?

A. My bike!!! I actually have 4 bikes, a road bike, a mountain bike, a touring bike and a town bike.  My road bike is a 2008 Specialized Ruby Expert. It is black with gold striping and lettering.  My bike is a prized possession.  I have always had a bike, I got a bike for my 10th and my 13th birthdays, and the first thing I bought with my first adult paycheck was a bike. I wish I could ride my bike to work but I live too far away. I have ridden before on ride your bike to work day in May and I hope to be able to do so again this year.  I am willing to share just about everything I own, but not my Ruby.  I really want to go for a ride!!!!

Q. Does any body else in your family run?

A. My daughter, Allison, is a very good runner. Her high school cross country team went to state 3 years in a row; that was so much fun.  My husband and son are very athletic but neither one of them is a runner.

Q. What is the most fun race you have ever done?

A. The most fun race I have ever done is a Thanksgiving day race with my daughter. We got up really early and started the race in the dark, and we got home before anyone else was up. I really enjoy running with my daughter but I don’t get to very often since she lives in Bloomington.

Q. What got you into running?

Part of what I love about running is how it is still challenging for me. I am not a natural runner, it is something that I have to work at, and I am competitive but only with myself because I am not very fast.  I prefer a longer race. My favorite distance is the half marathon, 13.1 miles,  This distance is still challenging but the training is not near as demanding as training for a full marathon, 26.2 miles. I have run 3 marathons and hope to train for and run another in 2014.  I am running the half marathon on Saturday at the Fort4Fitness. This is one of my favorite events.

Q. Which race was the absolute hardest?

Mrs. Smith finishing her first triathlon.

Mrs. Smith finishing her first triathlon.

A. The absolute hardest race would be the Hoosier Half in Bloomington. It is very hilly.  Or my very first Tri — the swim was tough and the run was uphill and then downhill, but that was also the race that I was the proudest to finish.

Q. Has there ever been a time when you feel like you just have to give up?

A. Yes, but I have never quit a race.  I have had some training runs that have really stunk, and I have walked or not run as far or fast as planned. My motto is — Not a Quitter.  When I do start to feel like quitting, I usually take some time off of running and spend more time on my bike or swimming, and then all of a sudden my legs start to twitch and I know that I am ready to run again.

By the way, my favorite event is a  fund raiser called, Wish A Mile 300 or WAM, It is a 300 mile bike ride over 3 days. I also hope to do this again in 2014.

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One Response to A kid’s point of view: My teacher, the triathlete

  1. Gpa says:

    And I thought your Mom was competitive

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