Continuing with our new column, “That Girl”, we are celebrating the accomplishments of real women who make health and fitness a priority because we know that true athletes come in all shapes, sizes, ages and athletic abilities from around the world. So this week we’re celebrating Jodie Gleason, an accomplished triathlete who, at age 43, says she’s just getting started.
Jodie Gleason (pictured here with husband, Brian)
VP & Controller (I like to think of myself as an atypical accountant)
Fitness/health accomplishment you are most proud of:
The fact that I am over 40 and just getting started! I am in better shape now than 10 years ago when I started participating in triathlon. I was the one who didn’t know what a triathlon was and wondered why you had to swim first. The thought of being cold and wet while getting on the bike was not appealing. I soon learned that the swim was first so you don’t drown! Since then I have managed to complete a large number of races and perform very well in my age group while working a full-time plus job. I have participated in the USAT Age Group National race a couple of times which is a great experience and also very humbling; this year there was a former Olympian in my age group. What makes me the most proud is being asked for advice or assistance from other athletes; the respect of other athletes is itself a very satisfying accomplishment.
What inspires you to get fit every day?
I keep thinking that I may start feeling older the year that my run or bike gets slower – fortunately, I am still getting faster. I went through an executive leadership program a couple of years ago. The classroom displayed a sign that read “leaders are always on stage.” I believe this is true and I want to be a positive role model for my family, friends, co-workers and strangers. Being fit has such a positive influence on all aspects of your life.
What do you do when you don’t feel like working out?
If it is physical, I let my body rest. If it is mental, after reminding myself of how much better I will feel for the rest of the day, I make a deal with myself that if, after 10 minutes or so, I still don’t feel like it, I can stop. How many times do you think I actually end up stopping after 10 minutes
Favorite energizing meal:
I have been eating “metabolically efficiently” for almost a year now which means “no” whole grains or starch (other than from veggies) so I have come to love some simple things like a banana with almond butter. I add raw honey for a treat. I must say that after a long workout, there is nothing like a chai tea latte. By the way, the occasional brownie, apple pie, or ice cream don’t count as starches either.
What’s your favorite way to chill post-workout?
There typically is not time to chill after workouts given that I exercise in the morning before work so it is usually off to the races. There are times when I literally chill with an ice/ice water bath and a hot cup of tea. That is followed by stretching/rolling and a few yoga poses; my 3 small dogs believe this is really play time using my pony tail for a pull toy while I’m in child’s pose. Workouts energize me so much to my husband’s dismay, there is not much chilling after workouts.
What is your top kick-ass workout?
A brick workout which is a bike ride followed by a run. Some people refer to these as bike-run-ick because the way your legs feel when you start running off the bike. I warm up on the bike and then do repeats of 20 minutes race pace, 10 minutes aerobic for a couple of hours followed by a few miles of running which also includes intervals.
Where is your favorite/most unique place you’ve ever exercised?
As I ponder this question, I do not come up with unique places; for me, it is about the experience. I love starting a run or swim in the dark and getting to watch the sun rise or riding my bike at a more leisurely pace with friends while taking in the beautiful landscape that I don’t see when doing that kick-ass workout. Getting caught in the rain during a workout has even proven to be peaceful at times too – of course, they say getting caught in the rain is an act of God, going out in it is stupidity…I have experienced both.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned through sports?
With discipline and dedication, average athletes can accomplish more than they ever imagined. Endurance events are more mental than physical – a positive attitude will carry you a lot longer than you think your legs can endure. The journey of getting to an important race is what makes an event fulfilling, not the race itself; it is hard to remember that immediately following an event when you miss a goal by seconds. Friends are good for reminding you. I saw a quote recently which stated “nobody gets lucky in triathlons, you get what you train for.” The biggest lesson lies in the fact that all of these things also apply to many aspects of life; sports teach you that.
Calling all female athletes (that means you!): Do you surf, ski, swim, climb mountains, lift weights, mountain bike, compete in races or stay fit with any other sport? We want to inspire other women with your story. Send an email to Briana@Blisstree.com with the subject “That Girl”.
Photo: Jodie Gleason