Jan McDonald does not ever want to be a grandmother confined to a rocking chair watching her grandchildren play.
“The older I get the more I want to stay in shape,” said the 63-year-old from Lantzville. “I want to play with the grandchildren and feel good as I get older.”
While she has worked out at a gym since her early 50s, McDonald was still taken back when her trainer suggested she enter last month’s Qualicum Beach Triathlon.
“I said, ‘How can I do that? I can’t swim, I don’t have a bike and I’m not a good runner,’” she said. “But my trainer said I’m strong, I’m fit and she thought I could do it.”
So in January McDonald started training at the pool with a friend, hopped on a bike and began running instead of walking.
“It was really one step at a time which is how you attack a lot of things in life,” she said.
Race day came and not only did McDonald complete the 400-metre swim, 18-kilometre bike ride and five-kilometre run, she finished third in her age category in front of cheering friends and family.
“I was a little apprehensive but I knew I could do each of them individually, so I just had to put it all together,” she said. “I had made a commitment and was really quite determined to follow through with it.”
McDonald plans to continue with fitness and believes the key for anyone is to have a goal in mind.
“We always need a goal to keep us going,” she said. “It makes it more interesting when you have something to work toward.”
She said exercise has made a big difference in her life.
“So many women think that weight gain as they age is due to hormonal changes and is to be expected,” she said. “I actually feel and look better now, in my 60s, than I did at 50.
“This is due to exercise, good nutrition and a determination to not grow old physically.”