Pushing Boundaries: Journey to IRONMAN 70.3

Pushing Boundaries

A Note from the Coach - Shahin Hadian -- As a coach, what impresses me about Sarah is her determination, her talent, but ultimately her attitude.  As a runner and now as a triathlete, she has shown tremendous growth and progress.  And the good news is that she has more to gain.  Her swimming both in the pool and in the open water has seen such improvements.  Her biking has gotten stronger and will continue to do so as she embarks on longer distances.  Her running has always been strong while she develops the foundation to run as fast as she can coming off the bike.  In another words, she is a force to be reckoned with and I am just glad she is on my team and not in my age group.

Sarah at IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga, with Coach Shahin cheering her through the finish

2017 - Sarah in the finish chute at the IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga with her coach Shahin cheering her on

Sarah Bennett --- When I signed up for my first Fleet Feet Knoxville program in 2014, I was 20-something moving back in with my parents after living on my own for several years. I was changing careers and applying for graduate schools while trying to acclimate to a new city in which the only people I knew were my parents. It was an emotionally stressful time and I needed a distraction. Thus, I decided to try running a 5k and signed up for Fleet Feet’s No Boundaries II training program. Being a life-long athlete and runner, I found the 5k distance to be not enough of a challenge for me and wanted to go farther, so I signed up for the half marathon training program in the fall of 2014.

No Boundaries 2014 - Sarah's first Fleet Feet training group

2014 - Sarah (bottom right, second row) and the Fleet Feet Sports No Boundaries training group at the Run for the Deaf 5k.

Over the next few years, thanks to the supportive and encouraging training community at Fleet Feet, I kept pushing the boundaries of what I thought was possible. I began with distance running, focusing on half marathons at first before moving on to a marathon and then sprint triathlons.

Racing the Farragut 13.1 half marathon

2014 - Racing the Farragut 13.1 Half Marathon with Fleet Feet training partner MaryJane

Racing the West Side Y Sprint Triathlon

​2015 - Racing the West Side Y Sprint Triathlon

Then, on May 21, 2017, I finished my first Half IRONMAN in Chattanooga with my boyfriend, my dad and uncle, and a large group of Fleet Feet athletes and spectators watching. From the first brick workout of the season to the finish line, it was an awesome, exhausting, and humbling adventure that I don’t think I would have considered embarking on if it weren’t for the Fleet Feet community. For years, I stuck to the comfort zone of the same 3-mile running loop, lost in my headphones and trudging along at the same pace, never challenging myself or exploring the world around me. Joining Fleet Feet reminded me how exhilarating it feels to train and compete with others and to push yourself to the limit of what you think your body can handle. Half-mile repeats in the rain probably sounds like a real buzzkill, but it’s more fun and more memorable than your usual 3-mile loop when there is a group of people gutsy enough to do it with you.

Sarah after Rock N Roll DC Marathon in 2016

2016 - Sarah with her boyfriend after finishing the Rock 'n' Roll DC Marathon

Having just finished a Half IRONMAN, my immediate goal is to recover and nurse some nagging injuries. In the long term, when I grow up, I want to be a wise-cracking 80-year-old lady who utterly destroys the women’s field in sprint triathlons and also makes America’s most delicious pan of brownies.

Sarah finishing IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga

2017 - Finishing IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga


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