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She Started Racing at 59: What Retirement Looks Like

What retirement looks like is up to you. At least if you’ve given it the planning health, wellness, and financial security to do it. Retirement for today’s guest involves a lot of swimming, biking, and running. She rode 100 miles last week in preparation for two races this weekend.

She’s 73.

My Inspiring Flipping 50 guest today is Shirley King.

It Began at 59

She started getting into racing at age 59 after teaching swim lessons to adults out in New York where I recently moved in 2003, Several of my students were signed up for Ironman Lake Placid. I became curious about all the different races around the area. At the time, I was in Masters Swimming but they didn’t have that there.

Since she was a child she loved activity so through the years she would try different things. She always looked for some way to be healthy and of course watch my weight. It was difficult when my kids were young to get much exercise unless I walked in the evening. But as they grew she wanted more.

It Started with Running

After 50 she was free more to pursue more activity so started running some and was in Race for the Cure and a few other short races.  She moved around to different states and always met women like herself who were active and liked some adventure. It wasn’t until 2005 that she really focused on triathlons. They were so much fun and she liked the challenges.

For so many retirement looks like slowing down, maybe traveling, but for a few it may be the first time they get to explore being an athlete.

Questions we answered in this episode:

  • How old are you?
  • Tell us about that first race
  • Are you working with a coach or a group?
  • What’s on the horizon for you this summer?
  • How competitive is it with your age group?
  • How much resistance or support do you have?

“Each year my goal was to get stronger and faster than the year before. As I aged I found I could keep up with beginners and my own age group. Each 5 years or so, I would get a bit slower but still focused on doing my best.  I’m still trying hard at what I love and try not to come in last in a race. I’m so happy to see more women trying a sport even though they may not like how they look or how much they weigh.  Everyone can do something and feel accomplished doing it.” 

So now it’s up to you and what your retirement looks like.

Links I mentioned in the show:

8 Ironman triathlons in Four Years and Going Strong

The Grace to Race(book about Sister Madonna Buder)

Des Moines 70.3


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