HAWLEY, Pa. — Meet Tim Russell, last year’s Pocono Triathlon Challenge winner! He has been racing triathlons for twelve years. When not training for the triathlon, he plays hockey and lacrosse, is an avid swimmer and runner, and also spends time snowshoeing!
When talking about his aspirations, he states, “My overarching goal in triathlon is now to be as good at the sport as possible, while not missing any important moments with my wife and son.” In the shorter term and more specifically, he would like to win the Poconos Triathlon Challenge again in 2022, and then finish Ironman Lake Placid in under 9 hours and 30 minutes.
Tim tells us that his biggest challenge to training is taking care of his son while still trying to train as much as possible. As a stay-at-home parent, most days he swims before his wife leaves for work. He rides his bike in the basement during nap time with the baby monitor next to him, then runs in the evening when his wife is home from work. On the weekends, he has more flexibility, and can usually get longer bike rides in.
“The best advice I was ever given was to meditate.” Tim mentions. He says that it immensely improves his ability to focus, both while racing/training and in day-to-day tasks. “Meditation was also instrumental in getting me through a rough time in my life back in my mid 20s.”
Outside of triathlon, Tim is also the assistant coach for the Skidmore College swim team, and with his family, co-manages an industrial manufacturing company.
He feels that being with a team, or just a community of athletes, is a big help. He explains, “We race individually, and triathletes have a tendency to train alone as well, but for our hardest training sessions, we can always squeeze out a little more work with a teammate/training partner pushing us.”
The best advice Tim ever got from a coach, (his college swim coach), was to train fast to race faster. Training faster than race pace improves mechanics and builds fitness in a way that makes race pace feel easier.
He feels that the best way to overcome any mistake is just to try to do the next right thing. This means having a short memory regarding errors and simply letting them go, as Triathlon racing can be very long, and mistakes can be countless.
For Tim, Triathlon has been a huge part of his life, and at times has felt like his whole life, but he is learning to keep it in perspective. He ends with, “When I’m too old and slow to race competitively, I know my family will still be there. Shout out to my wife Annie, my son Brandon, and my beautiful kitties, Clementine and Miki!”
Theresa Ferry, has been a Triathlete for thirteen years! She has overcome amazing obstacles to be the best version of herself. Although she suffers from asthma, which makes racing in hot, humid climates difficult, her biggest challenge in recent years is the fact that she was diagnosed with an autoimmune illness in 2017. Nonetheless, she has persevered by making adjustments to the volume of her training and closely monitoring her diet.
To stay fit, Theresa is part of Team Stages Cycling, and the Ashburn Area Running Club. Training and racing with a wide range of athletes is what she loves most about the sport. “I’m very inspired by seeing men and women much older than me still out there able to complete races of all distances. No matter what the pace, seeing those that are 70+ years old crossing finish lines is truly awesome!” Theresa mentions. Inspirational!
Her personal goals are to have one podium finish and to compete in a different location each year. She puts her hard work to a cause, often racing on behalf of Prison Fellowship, the nonprofit organization that she works for.
“’Be honest with yourself’ is probably the best advice I was ever given,” Theresa states. “If I’m honest with myself, I listen to my head, heart, and gut, rather than trying to please others or compare myself to others.”
A pregame ritual that Theresa follows is that she likes to walk, bike, or drive part of the racecourse the day before the event to mentally prepare for it. She feels that “While course maps are very helpful, seeing the course in person alleviates many of my pre-race jitters.” It also helps her remember the track better.
She learned from experience to always memorize the major turns on the course and not trust that the other runners know the way. Once while racing a Triathlon, she made a wrong turn on the course after following the runner ahead of her. They both ran approximately an extra mile. The 6.2-mile run turned into 7.2 miles, and Theresa lost what would’ve been a top spot.
To that end, “Look up!” is the best advice she has ever received from a mentor. Looking up to see nature and glance away from the competition helps Theresa gain perspective and feel more joyful.
She loves going on long hikes with her boyfriend on the weekends and enjoys spending time with family at their lake house in PA. Journaling and reading help her relax as well.
Theresa explains to us that, “Racing the inaugural Poconos Triathlon in 2021 was a highlight of my season.” Though she was born and raised just 60 miles from Lake Wallenpaupack, she had never been there prior to the race. It’s actually where her parents honeymooned in the 1970’s!
She thinks it is a lovely race venue and tells us that she was glad to see Kinetic Multisports again putting on a high quality, safe race with a hometown feel. She announces, “Thank you, Lake Wallenpaupack, for hosting this race. I’ll be back in June 2022!”
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