Meet this week’s featured over 50 athlete, Monique McLeod, who turns 63 in May. Each Wednesday, you’ll met a person who is getting fitter after 50, and learn about their goals and how they stay fit. Monique epitomizes someone who has become fitter after 50, by taking on new challenges and finding a new passion for adventure.
Monique is married with three children and five grandchildren. She and her husband retired from full time work 11 years ago. Monique spent over 20 years .working mostly in the restaurant business, from cook, to kitchen supervisor to server. Despite the physical demands, Monique enjoyed her work because it gave her a chance to spend time with the people she worked with and customers. Monique and her husband worked part-time for nine more years at a local golf course, after retiring from a full time job.
Monique has taken on some pretty impressive battles since retiring. Once she retired, she decided to kick her 38 year smoking habit. Not an easy task. And, as frequently happens when people quit smoking and become less active in retirement, Monique gained weight.
Five years ago, feeling uncomfortable and out of shape, Monique took on the battle of weight loss. She joined her local gym, started eating clean, lost 54 pounds and never looked back. Monique started running to help with weight loss and soon added triathlon to the mix. Monique participated in her first sprint triathlon at 57 years old and placed third in her age group! That’s all it took, Monique was hooked. Monique has since participated in four 10k races (6.2 miles), 12 half marathons (13.1) and more triathlons. Last year, Monique completed her first half ironman (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run).
Monique’s fitness goals are “to remain healthy and keep challenging myself to see where it will take me. I will do more half ironman events for sure, but the ultimate challenge would be to complete a full ironman (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run).” Because of her history of smoking, running is the hardest of the three disciplines. She believes that if she can conquer a full marathon (26.2 miles), she can take on the ultimate challenge.
Monique loves her new life! The confidence she has gained through her fitness challenges have paid off in many ways. Last year, she conquered her fear and completed her first tandem skydive!
Her biggest challenge to date was the half ironman she completed. Five years ago she would never have dreamed of doing anything close to that. The race was hard, and she struggled with nutrition during the race, but beat the cut off time. Consistent with her determination, Monique’s goal is to go back to the race in 2016 and not just complete it, but to perform at her best and improve on her time.
Monique is currently training for two half marathons this year, a two day bike tour to benefit MS and other multi-sport events. She will complete her second half marathon when she goes home to Quebec to celebrate her mother’s 90th birthday! What a way to celebrate! She’a already set a five minute personal best this year in a 10k race, so she hopes this will be the year her running takes off.
Monique’s advice to people starting a fitness program:
“Work hard, never quit and believe you can achieve anything! When I started running it was so hard. I was struggling to run 10 minutes on the treadmill and almost gave up. But I started thinking about that sprint triathlon I wanted to complete and realized I didn’t want to give up. So I went online and signed up for it, booked my hotel room, and gave myself no option for turning back. That was in March. In July, I completed that sprint triathlon! Keep focused on your goals, keep moving forward, and never, never quit. I can promise you that you will not regret it.It will change your life for the better!”
No surprise that Monique is our first over 50 athlete of the week!