My name is Wendy McPherson, I am a 56-year-old vegan triathlete.
Exercise and athletics have always been a part of my life; I was very strong as a child, setting the school President’s physical fitness record for the bent arm hang, even beating the boys! In high school I ran track as a sprinter, played lacrosse and field hockey, and made it to the freestyle level in ice skating. I was a winning competitive equestrian, doing barrel racing and speed events on my horse named Chief. Having horses and working on a farm helped to make me strong.
In 1976 I was in an auto accident that left me in a coma for 1.5 days, paralyzed from the waist down on the right side, I had lost my short-term memory and had to learn to walk again.
My first triathlon was the Y-Tri in 2011. I belonged to Go Mama Go women’s triathlon group, and Harford Multisport as well as RASAC and Chesapeake Spokes. I already ran and did a lot of bike riding on my own, and once I realized there were goggles I could wear to swim without losing my contact lenses, I was free to do triathlons.
I joined HMC in 2011 to learn more about how to do triathlons and meet other athletic people. I wasn’t comfortable swimming in open water, especially water that you couldn’t see into. I learned that open water swimming wasn’t so bad after swimming with Harford Multisport Club at their training swims in the Bush River.
I typically race in 5 triathlons a year, anywhere from sprint to half Ironman distance. My best triathlon moment to date was at the Nations Olympic Tri in DC. I felt like I really raced the bike portion and averaged 19.5 mph, which was good for me – I was even passing men! It was my fastest race and I qualified for the USA Nationals!
Belonging to HMC has helped me to get out and exercise, learn ways to improve my triathlon experience, and have teammates to share in the experience. The faster HMC triathletes are out of my league and I wish there were more my speed, but they are people to look up to.
I’ve learned that nutrition is extremely important for endurance sports and recommend a whole-foods, plant-based diet. I noticed a difference in my performance when I went from vegetarian to vegan and for me there is no turning back.
I plan to do Eagleman, and Atlantic City Half Ironman races in 2018 and have my sights on a full Ironman in 2019. I am hoping to get a Trek Speed Concept Time Trial bicycle in the spring of 2018.
My advice to potential new members is just get out there and swim, run or ride! If you can exercise for 2 hours, then you can do a triathlon.