Beth Handel-Goodloe possesses one of the most positive attitudes about the sport of triathlon, a healthy life balance and a dream to complete her first ironman this year.  She’s immersed herself in the triathlon community in Richmond, Virginia and is spreading her enthusiasm with others every step of the way. 

Age Group? I’ve entered a new one this year!! 50-54
How did you begin your adventures in triathlon? 
When training for my first half marathon, I met a woman by the name of Sandy Henizman. After a run, she was telling me about a triathlon she was getting ready to do. Pink Power.. I thought she was nuts to take on such a thing, but in seeing her excitement and enthusiasm I was intrigued. Sandy was training with Trigirls at the time and they were going to hold an informational meeting soon and Sandy asked if I wanted to go along, so I did and well, that’s all it took. 

You are in for Ironman Mont Tremblant this year?  Why did you decide to sign up for the ironman? Actually, I’m doing Ironman Chattanooga, however, am very excited for all those headed to MT this year! My reason for taking on the full was for the big 5-0 birthday. Some people celebrate this milestone birthday by going on a trip, a new car, or a big party to name a few. I decided to do something that seems unattainable. Something that will bring me way out of my comfort zone, something that I never in a million years would have ever thought was possible, something that I would never forget. I am fortunate enough to have a wonderful supportive husband who has taken over the cooking and will even text me pictures of the completed dish that he has prepared for me when I get home. Doesn’t get much better then that. Now, if I can just get him in the water, I know he will enjoy the sport and will understand the draw. 

What are you most looking forward to this season? 
The excitement of race day. Any race day. The arrival of the athletes, the smiles of the volunteers, the wonder of what the race shirt will look like, just to name a few. The sight of the finish line and watching those cross, that’s the best… There are tears from those who have just completed their first triathlon, there are smiles from those who know they have achieved a PR, then there are those with the sign of struggle, pain, and defeat on their face they know it wasn’t what they had hoped for, but continued on to reach the finish. Most important, the sense of community. No matter where the race is held, you meet friends on the course. We all have the same common goal, to start and to finish. How we each get there is our own personal journey. 

Outside of swim/bike/run what keeps you busy? Well, working full time and training, that pretty much takes up most of my time. I am a closet TV watcher so I do catch up on everything that’s been recorded during the week on the weekends. 

What are your goals for this season and beyond? My goals for this season is to actually see my family at the finish lines of the events they attend. By the time I get to the finish line, I only see that. I don’t hear when they yell my name, I don’t see them as they wave wildly at me as I pass them by. I’m not exaggerating either. For the Richmond Marathon, the pictures they took, I could have reached out and touched their hands, but I was in my own mind and didn’t see or hear them. May sound like such an odd goal, but I have such a great support team at home, that it makes me sad when I don’t see their faces cheering me on to the bitter end!  

What is your favorite piece of triathlon gear/equipment and why? I can tell you my worst, running shoes! I hate to run! But that’s not what the question is… I guess, my garmin would be my favorite. As many of us know, we have good training sessions, we have awesome training sessions and well, we have ones that make us wonder why on earth are we doing this. It’s those, that I will ponder over on the ride home, sulk, feel sorry for myself and so on.  Once I’m home, I will pull up the information on the unit and realize that not many are out there running (in my case waddling) 10 miles, swimming 3000 yards, or biking 50 miles on any given day, (random distances). When I look at the numbers, it’s a constant reminder that I’m doing something pretty great. I’ll review the mileage, avg paces and such and realize, it wasn’t a bad training after all. I could have done nothing. I could not have started this sport called triathlon, I could not have realized in my wildest dreams that I would have ever bike 100 miles, competed in a swim meet (with the most awesome relay team, Susan Alexander, Sallee Justis and Nancy Faux), and run (again, only ran in my mind, the pictures show the real story) a marathon. My garmin helps keep it real. 

Who do you train with? Richmond is very lucky to have so many great teams to train with. I’ve started off with Tri Girls, have done some pre-season biking with CVE and am currently training with Endorphin. They are a great group. 

What do you enjoy the most about the sport of triathlon/endurance sports? It’s not so much the sport, but the people tied in with sport. It has been the most positive thing I’ve ever experienced. Complete strangers will cheer you on, high five you at the end, yell your name if it’s on your bib. I like the adrenaline as well. I like the feel of accomplishment when it’s done. I like the exhaustion that has over taken my body. And, I like to sweat. May not be the most feminine thing to say, but what can I say, I like to sweat. 

What is the most challenging race or training experience you have had to date? They are all a challenge to me. Each race course has it’s own little nuances that make the event exciting. Even with races  I’ve repeated, mother nature has had her own plans for race day that have posed challenges. As for the most challenging training?? Well, hill repeats… Plain and simple. Not much more needs to be added to that! 

What do you think about when you race? In the water, it’s more about fear of what I will see in the water, so I just pray I won’t see anything. On the bike, I will think about my family, fellow racers and try to enjoy the ride. The run, well, I know it’s the only part that will get me to the finish, so I start to think about how good the beer will taste, what the medal will look like (if there is one), and those that are not able to do what I’m doing out there. I usually dedicate the run to someone I know who is injured, sick, or is no longer with us. When I dedicate this to someone else, I know I will make it to the finish.