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I’m A Triathlete – Tiffanie Kessler

I'm A Triathlete Tiffanie Kessler Run Tri Bike Magazine How It All Started
Tiffanie Kessler
Year started: Covid 2020
Favorite gear:

Brooks Glycerins

At one point in time I was right around 330 lbs Today I’m a triathlete. I had severe high blood pressure and my diabetes was so bad that I was on insulin, weekly shots, and 2 different types of pills. It was time for a change. My 2 children needed their mom to be around for them. Simply put I was scared I couldn’t pretend everything was okay.

My Husband Is My Support System

Finally, I had enough. It was time I started eating better. The weight started coming off and then my husband joined me. Then, he started working out in the garage. My husband is my support system. I was doing it for me and weight started coming off. My husband joining me was a plus. He was almost 450 lbs. I also worried about his health. Him joining made it a true partnership between us. We could encourage one another and work together. Exercising with someone else, makes it better. Just to have that companionship while you’re doing something that is so very hard while trying to train yourself to eat differently after 30+ years of eating lots and lots… and lots of carbs ! It definitely helped!

It Started With Running

At this point I was the don’t run if you’re not being chased girl. I had my husband buy a treadmill and thank God for iFit and Tommy Rivs. I can honestly say my husband and I were not sure if I was ever going to use the treadmill. The trainer in the program and the program itself starting off with something I could feel successful with helped me. I never felt down on myself and I think that was a huge success.

Instead, I put in effort especially in the beginning. It was hard! I couldn’t advance as fast as the program wanted me to, so I repeated episodes and kept showing up diligently. Running intervals of 30 seconds and 1 minute and then when it got a little easier I pushed it to 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 5 minutes, 8 minutes , etc. Every time I made it I was so happy I was bragging to everyone, “guess what I did?”  I worked hard to be diligent about training and trying to be a better me.

Who would have guessed that I would love running? Seeing progress helps fuel the fire. I started with a 5k then progressed to 10k and half-marathons on my own. Shout out for Mr. Tommy Rivs! I’m currently running the iFit Boston Marathon with him!

Being A Role Model. That Is Empowering.

I even joined my elementary schools Dragon Racers as a coach to help kids learn to run a 5k! We were named one of America’s healthiest schools! Having the ability to impact others is really an amazing feeling.  I love watching their progress they are all inspirations all on their own!  In the beginning (most)  students won’t be able to run longer than a couple of minutes. Some of them get very discouraged after that first day when they realize that running at recess is a little different than endurance running.

Endurance running is about pacing, having a growth mindset, and knowing that yes you can! This, myself, and the other coaches run intervals with the kids in the beginning and we encourage them to make running buddies, to practice running homework, and to remember they are doing great. It doesn’t matter if they need to walk for a moment, they are making progress!  We time their mile run in the beginning and in the end so that they are able to see their semester growth.  I have students who are on their second year in the club who can run 7 minute miles and to see them take the podium when they win in their age divisions is absolutely the most proud feeling!  I helped them believe in their selves to get there.  Our students  are all on different athletic abilities; however, every single one of them isshowing up and trying and they are getting better! That’s what we stress to them, it’s all about the effort!

My Path To Becoming A Triathlete

I had a minor running injury, and I was trying to think of other activities that would get in a good workout but would be less stressful on my legs. Biking is what my husband and I came up with. Initially, I went with what I knew, which was from being a kid you got a mountain bike!  We went to the store and got a couple of bike and we’d ride our local trail. At first, going maybe 3-5 miles was a big deal! 

Then we’d end up going a bit longer  and longer until eventually we made it all the way up and back down. I had previously ran this trail and knew it was a half marathon distance back and forth. So, we went on adventures going out on paths, finding little areas to ride off to the side. However, I still preferred running over the bike. It wasn’t until I was talking to my friend, whose husband races Ironman, and they had been on their own health journeys. She told me how he had a road bike for when he raced. This led to her telling me hat’s what she was using in the She Tris.  Therefore, my husband ended up getting me a used Trek bike. Wow, what a difference ! I fell in love with the road bike. I enjoyed less strain on trying to push forward and I was actually surprisingly fast on it for a newbie!  He couldn’t keep up with me any longer on our bike trail so he had no choice but to get himself a hybrid bike!

I loved the bike the most, even more than running!  We ended up joining a local bike shop who has a group that does rides. Since the beginning an average ride is probably 20-25 miles with a long ride being around 50.  One day I’d love to try to go for a century ride!

Let’s Add In Swimming

As for swimming, well I love a good pool and I live in Charleston so I’ve been raised around the water. I have many friends whose kiddos swim athletically; however, I’ve always done it for enjoyment.

Swimming is work! Whew! This is my weakest area and where I’m going to work on improving the most!  As with any endurance sport learning how to calm yourself, breathe right, and pace are all important so I definitely know this is my area to grow in!

I Was Nervous To Race

Competing in my first triathlon was scary and amazing all in one.  First, I was nervous I’d never done one, never knew anyone really who had done one that I might have been a spectator in. I had no idea how transitions work, what you wore! LET ME JUST SAY She Tris was a fantastic choice for my first Tri. They had a group ride along the bike route, they went over the transitions, how to do your set up on the day, when you had to wear the bib, how the race would work!

It helped calm my nerves and my friend helped me on getting the right outfit Thus, my goal for this year is going to be to do all the events they are putting on! This is another way that I’m proving and showing myself that I’m growing, and it’s a way to challenge myself. I take joy in knowing I’ve completed and accomplished each step of my journey. 

My Charleston half is important to me and it also shows me how I’m wearing down my husband in running 😁 He is not a fan but runs with me, because I normally run at 4 am in the dark. This is the first year that he hasn’t down right said a big NO! Thus, I’m passing my passion to him and it shows me how we affect each other. My husband loves the weights and I don’t, yet we both go to the Y so we can lift together!

This Is My Life. Wife, Mom, Athlete, Triathlete.

Running, biking, swimming, and exploring has become a large part of my life! I even had my daughter at the last She Tris event tell me she wanted to give the girls division a go! It makes me proud. Every parent wants to be a good role model for their child. I want them to see me as a role model not only educationally but also in my lifestyle choices. She was there cheering me on with her brother telling me how proud she was of me, and then when she saw the little girls getting ready for swim she wanted to join in and race just as bad. We’re currently working on her bike riding! I see one in the future for her, she really likes that podium!

Oh, I dropped over a hundred pounds. I came off my blood pressure meds and all of my diabetic medications and insulins! This has been an amazing journey and it’s just getting started.

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