Gabriella Kreuz, Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) —
Being a triathlete is certainly physically taxing on the body, but many will argue that competition requires a degree of mental fitness as well. 41-year-old Lindsay Sullivan says she felt the benefits of being mentally prepared for the Iron Girl Syracuse Sunday. She had some extra edge to pull off her first win in the event, and attributes it to a new pre-race ritual.
“This is the first time where, I just very quietly went to the car by myself and meditated before I started the race,” said Sullivan, a Cicero mother-of-three.
Normally, the morning of a race, Sullivan says she’s too nervous and “pumping with adrenaline” to do that sort of meditating. But she felt relaxed and took twenty minutes to do it before the swimming event kicked off the race.
“I felt a shift in my my mind and my body when I was starting the race,” Sullivan said. “I felt very alert, but I was very relaxed.”
Sullivan grew up in South Africa and says she lived a very active lifestyle. She did a lot of swimming, but didn’t pick up triathalons until after coming to the U.S. in 1995.
“I wanted to shed a few pounds after giving birth to my second child in 2009,” Sullivan said. That’s when she ran her first triathalon, Iron Girl Syracuse. She was 36, and placed 18th overall.
Many people know competing athletically at a high level can get harder as they get older. But not for Sullivan, and many other triathalon winners.
“I never think that I’m old or that I can’t win because I’m 40 or 41,” Sullivan said. “So far, I haven’t gotten slower because of my age. I’m sure at some point that’ll happen, but it hasn’t happened yet.”
Sponsorships value performance over age, too. Sullivan was selected to be a part of an amateur triathlon team, Big Sexy Racing, in 2012. She says she’s embraced wearing the gear with the team name on it.
“It’s a little crazy for a 41-year-old mother of three,” Sullivan chuckles. “But it works.”
Last year, Sullivan qualified for and competed in her first half Ironman World Championships. She has her sights set on doing the same thing this year.