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Women’s Triathlon Profile: Denisse

By YWCA of Minneapolis
July 25, 2012
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Last year, Denisse Velez watched the stream of women cross the finish line at the YWCA Women’s Triathlon and a thought sparked in her mind, “I knew I wanted to feel as empowered as they felt at that moment, and I just wanted to join in!” A self-proclaimed non-athlete, this race is a personal milestone for Denisse and one that she hopes will inspire her family to be more active.

“I turn 30 this year and just finished my master’s degree this past May. Both of these things fueled my desire to seek a life-changing experience, like signing up for the triathlon! It wasn’t until my late 20s that I started considering exercise as a part of my life, and now that I have, I wish nothing more than to share this discovery with my family in a meaningful way.

“My entire family is from Puerto Rico and most of our celebrations revolve around parties with lots and lots of food. Now that my family moved to Minnesota and we see each other often, I look forward to sharing other things when we get together. Maybe a bike ride or even a jog? Since I am not an athlete and a race has never been in my radar before, I hope that my participation in this event inspires my parents to stay active for the rest of their lives. I know that my dad, who suffers from Type II Diabetes, is already on board. He bought me a helmet, joined me for some of my bike rides, and canoes with my husband in the lake while I get my swimming done. My new goal is to inspire my mom to be my tri-buddy next year. Wish me luck!

“As part of my training, I downloaded the YWCA’s training program. I started biking and do a jog/walk combination. I have never felt confident running and I even feel anxiety before doing it, but once I make it past the first ten minutes, I feel so accomplished that I want to keep going. I dream of the day that I feel confident enough to say: I’m a runner. Last week, I signed up for a YWCA Tri Workshop so I can learn what to expect during the race.

“I hope that other women stop the self-sabotage and excuses. Find a way to fit the workouts into your daily routine, and when you have trouble getting out of bed, remind yourself constantly why you wanted to do the race in the first place. After all, this is a journey rather than a chore, and personal growth is the ultimate goal.”