Conquering Fears at the Chicago Triathlon

Conquering Fears at the Chicago Triathlon

Lovie Twine Shares Her Success Story with #WhyIChiTri

She’s 45 years old, a parent of four, and grandparent of one. In 2013 she didn’t know how to swim, but in 2014 she competed in the Chicago Triathlon and finished in first place among her age group and weight class. Lovie Twine is living proof that it’s never too late to overcome a fear or chase a dream.

Lovie grew up in Chicago and played on the high school basketball and softball teams. But she was never able to bring that athletic strength to the pool. “When the gym class was swimming, I always sat on the sidelines because it intimidated me,” Lovie recalls.

Almost 25 years later, Lovie attended the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame induction ceremony that was being held in Chicago. “I thought, ‘why not?’ So I went with a friend.”

Twine and her friend happened to be in the right place at the right time. Madonna Buder, an 86-year-old nun that had competed in 45 IRONMAN races, was delivering her Hall of Fame acceptance speech. Buder has not only competed in over 340 triathlons total, but she began training at age 48.

“If that didn’t motivate me –or everyone in that room –then there’s nothing that could have motivated you!” says Lovie.

At that moment, Lovie decided to chase her dream of competing in a triathlon. She signed up for swimming classes at the local YMCA, learned to swim, and competed in the 2014 Chicago Triathlon.

Since then, Lovie has competed in 17 triathlons, one half IRONMAN 70.3, and is a member of the Chicago Area Runner’s Association. She has defeated a fear as well as the medical condition that took the life of her mother and sister. Although her health conditions aren’t life threatening, “they can be if you don’t take care of yourself,” she says. Finishing the Chicago Triathlon marked a turning point in Lovie’s life where she took control of the fears, risks, and health conditions that could have defined her. Instead, she defined herself. As a triathlete.

Although Lovie’s success tells a great story, she has also experienced low points during training. The most challenging was in the eighth hour of the half IRONMAN 70.3 (1.2 mile swim, 56 milebike, 13.1 mile run). After swimming, biking, and running for seven and a half hours, pushing herself beyond limits, Lovie thought she had nothing left. “I had nothing left in the tank. There’s nothing that would get me through except my own mind,” she says. During the last hour of that race, she battled negativity and thoughts of giving up. “And when I crossed the finish line, I went bezerk! You would’ve thought I won the lottery! It was the greatest feeling!”

Lovie is doing what many women don’t think they can; what many mothers don’t think they have time for; what many people fear to accomplish. And she’s done it all in her mid-forties to show her daughter the value of inner strength.

“There’s no dollar amount. There’s nothing anyone can tell you. You have to motivate yourself. If you wait on anyone else to encourage you, you’ll be waiting a long time.”

She’s not a star athlete, but she does what she can. She shows up and always tries her best. Lovie says that she’s just an average mother. She drives her kids to practice, watches her granddaughter, visits with friends, and trains when she can. “I have a life. I have a lot going on,” Lovie admits, “but for my kids to see me do something different pushes me.”

Lovie’s daughter experiences gym class the same way Lovie did as a teenager. Her daughter also doesn’t know how to swim. So, when it comes down to it, Lovie competes to inspire her kids to push themselves.

“They see their mom doing something that many African American women don’t do,” she says. “It’s a reason for me to get out there and show up every time the Chicago Triathlon is in town.”

“That’s #WhyIChiTri.”

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