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Ambassador Spotlight: Therese Slechta

Spotlight for this post is on SBMAT Ambassador, Therese Slechta. This woman is a beast on the bike, and even joined the Iron Cowboy and the Wingmen for a ride in Nebraska …and gave them a run for their money.  She’s an awesome athlete and friend.

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Therese Slechta

City/State: Schleswig, Iowa

Age Group: 44 yrs old  (40-45)

Biggest Inspiration: So many people & things inspire me:  my husband (my biggest supporter, sherpa  and fan) but also has been a gym go-er for over 30yrs — he only lifts weights, no cardio; my son who is 7 and did his first triathlon this summer; my parents who have been married 61 yrs.

Team Hoyt-Dick and son Rick;  older triathletes–for instance I got my good friend who is 67 yrs old to do his first triathlon a couple weeks ago; at this race there was also an 83 yr old man; sister Madonna Buder- 84 yr old Ironman athlete.  I love a daily dose of inspiration which I get off internet, magazines, newspapers or daily inspirational calendar.  There is someone out there every day doing something I can’t fathom.  Lastly, I inspire myself sometimes when I think back to my 1st Ironman and the most insane weather conditions and knowing I made it through that day and didn’t quit.

 

Scary 2015 Goal: (if any) I have done 3 full Ironman’s and if I had one on my schedule for next year it would be just that.  So the big one for me this year will be ocean swim.  I’ve done triathlons 12 years but have never swam in anything other than a big lake or pool.  I will be doing Gulf Coast in May this year with 1.2 mile swim with waves, current, jelly fish and whatever other animals that live in water.

How Triathlon Changed Me: I was 31 yrs old, sitting on the couch depressed and miserable weighing 225 lbs. I had lost over 60 lbs, 3 times in my life already in which I gained back each time.  I had no purpose, no direction. Then I joined Weight Watchers and started to lose weight the right way but quickly realized it had to be different this time.  I needed to incorporate exercise otherwise I’d gain it back.  So, I started slow… got 50 lbs off in a year and gained some confidence.  Someone mentioned a triathlon to me.  I had never ran in my life. I didn’t own a bike. Growing up on a farm with 10 siblings we didn’t get to town much so I never learned to swim.  I started jogging a block at a time.  I bought a mountain bike off a garage sale for 20 bucks and signed up for swim lessons in April.  In July of 2003 I did my first triathlon.  It was .6 mile swim which was my first OWS with 300-400 people and no heats.  An  18 mile bike  and a 5.5 mile run.  I crossed the line and I was hooked.  Since then I’ve done over 100 triathlons, numerous 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons and marathons.  Triathlons have completely changed my life.  I have more drive and focus. I am more organized. My time management is so much better. I am a better wife, mom, friend, and co-worker.  I’m goal obsessed and as soon as get one accomplished I move on the next one.  I need something dangling. Triathlons are the most rewarding/life-changing thing I’ve done for myself. This sport is so fulfilling to me.  Each year I hate when season is over.

 

Favorite Piece of Gear: My bike(s),   of course my favorite is my Tri bike- Quintana Roo CD01 .  I also have a road bike in which I did triathlons with for 8 yrs, a hybrid and a mountain bike.

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I Race For: I race for myself and my family.  I also race against myself. I race for anyone that can’t due to physical disabilities or illness.

I love to race and would do it every weekend if I could.   Races to me are so inspirational and rewarding.  The people you meet at a race are amazing. Everyone has a story or a journey to get them there.  I have yet to meet unfriendly triathlete.

How I Pay It Forward: One of my first goals I made after completing my first triathlon was to inspire 1 person each yr and get them involved in the sport. I can proudly say I have done just that.  I try to coach them via email/phone/in person.  We pick a race together and I compete in it with them and watch them cross the finish line.  So rewarding!  I also like to do fund raiser races- lung, cancer, heart.  I have also done the “blazeman” roll at the finish line fighting for ALS. I have volunteered at Ironman Wisconsin.   I’m from a family of 11 children &  I am the 10th child. I am the first one to be this active. I have now recruited 8 siblings to do a 5k, 10k, half marathon, marathon and triathlons. I now have 14 nephews/nieces that have done a road race or a triathlon.  I love to build relationships and inspire others.

What Else You Should Know About Me:I am married and have 3 children, ages 23,21,and 7. I have done triathlons for 12 years and I am still in love with sport.  This is not just a phase for me, it is part of my life.  I sent my weight loss story into Fitness Magazine and was published in 2007. I’m addicted to Kale chips. I love to bake and cook.  I live in town of 800 people.  The closest city is 70 miles away. No one in my area does triathlons. We have small gym with couple treadmills. No classes. No groups. I did join the tri club 70 miles away but rarely get to train with them.  So I train alone 99% of time. I have learned a lot about myself over the past few years especially during my long 100 mile training rides for my three Ironman’s.  I do feel like I could be a better athlete if I had more options or people to train with, but for now I just keep moving forward.  Lastly, I would love to live in a place that I could be outdoors training all year long.

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How to Follow Me:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/irongirliowa

Instagram: http://instagram.com/irongirliowa

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One Comment

  • cherylann

    August 29, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Cool that you changed your lifestyle…I am one of those OLD people…62 next month. But a 71 year old beat me in my last Olympic distance tri (and I was 1st in my AG! crazy!) There was an 80 year old guy there too who had completed over 100 IM races…I work with kids who are handicapped, either mentally and/or physically and pushed a kid in a wheelchair in a race one time. There’s a whole group who does this in my town. I coached kids in cross country too…great to give back!
    Keep it up!

    Reply

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