New Challenges

New Challenges

Susan Gilliam Training Testimonial

Susan started running back in 2011 when she completed her first 5k, the Covenant Health Knoxville 5k. She kept on racing, including 8ks, 10ks and in 2012 she joined Fleet Feet Sports Knoxville training and completed her first half marathon, and then her first marathon in 2013. That summer, she took her first shot at a triathlon, but due to a death in the family she wasn’t able to finish her training.

Susan and some of her training partners before the race

Susan (middle) and some of her training partners before the Foothills Sprint Triathlon

Inspired by her training partners and always looking for a new challenge, Susan decided to give triathlon another try this past spring and signed up for Tri 101. She’s says that while she’s not quite there yet, with the help of her tri coaches Shahin and Kyli she’s continuing to improve. From drills in the pool to improve her swimming form, to step by step instructions on how to clip her shoes into her bike and use her bike gears effectively, her coaches have been there every step of the way. Shahin has been a positive influence on her, and his enthusiasm for the sport and encouragement gave her the confidence to tackle her first triathlon, the Foothills Sprint Triathlon.

Susan and Shahin after the race

Susan and Shahin goofing off after the Foothills Sprint

Before her race, Susan was a bundle of nerves. But she showed up anyway, and as soon as she started her warm up in the pool she knew she could do it. While she wasn’t the first person across the finish line, she wasn’t the last either, and for that she’s proud of her accomplishment. It was a challenge, but with weeks of training under her belt and the encouragement of her teammates and coaches she was able to finish strong.

 Susan finishing the Foothills Sprint with Shahin

Susan finishing Foothills with coach Shahin cheering her on (photo by Chris Gerard)

As for what’s next? Not one to take it easy, Susan has already signed up for her next sprint triathlon, and has plans to sign up for several more before the season is over. She eventually wants to give open water swimming a shot, and as a Fleet Feet Knoxville Racing member, plans to join one of their Friday Open Water Swims when she’s ready. Also on her bucket list is to increase her biking and go for some longer distance rides. But for now, she’s looking forward to starting the next Tri 101 training program with Fleet Feet next week and racing as much as she can. To date she’s done about 50 races and raced over 400 miles since that first 5k back in 2011, with no plans of slowing down. We look forward to seeing what she can accomplish!

Susan crossing the finish line at Foothills

Susan finishing her first triathlon at the Foothills Sprint Tri

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