Athlete of the Week Spotlight: Lara Winnemore - Triumph of Mind, Body, and Spirit in Ironman

In the realm of triathlons, where determination and self-discovery collide, Lara Winnemore emerges as an exemplar of resilience and triumph. Her journey from a distinguished career in the federal government to the world of fitness, combined with her unwavering commitment to triathlon, is nothing short of inspiring. Join us as we delve into the remarkable odyssey of our Athlete of the Week, Lara Winnemore.

 

A Life Fueled by Passion
Lara's professional journey spans a dynamic career in the federal government, where she held pivotal roles as a Policy Manager and Acting Director, delving into areas of immigration, refugee asylum, and public health. Post-retirement, Lara turned her passion for fitness into a thriving endeavor, donning multiple hats as a personal trainer, coach, group fitness, and yoga instructor. Her part-time role in the fitness industry is seamlessly intertwined with the responsibility of raising teenagers, a task that is both fulfilling and demanding.


Triathlon: A Story of Courage and Return

Lara's tryst with triathlons commenced in 2009, driven by a desire to embrace a new challenge. With no prior experience in swimming and a trusty 20-year-old mountain bike, she embarked on her first triathlon journey. Despite swimming the entire 350m course using the backstroke technique and emerging as the last from the water, Lara cherished every moment. A traumatic brain injury sustained in a severe car accident in 2010 temporarily halted her triathlon pursuits. Nevertheless, her indomitable spirit led her back to the sport in 2017, armed with newfound courage to face her fears and a renewed passion to pursue triathlons seriously.


Ironman: Conquering Challenges with Grace

The pinnacle of Lara's summer was the completion of her first full Ironman in Mont Tremblant, a monumental accomplishment in her triathlon journey. This feat wasn't without its challenges. Balancing an intense training regimen with the demands of her familial responsibilities was a constant juggling act. The role of a caregiver to her elderly mother, coupled with steering her oldest child through high school, dance competitions, scholarship applications, and university transitions, presented a formidable task. Alongside these external challenges, Lara navigated her own physical setbacks, including a minor tendon strain and recurring chronic issues like Morton's Neuroma.

Lara's path to triumph was paved with adaptability, communication, and a resolute mindset. The shifting sands of her goals allowed for flexibility, while consistent dialogue with her coach and a commitment to listening to her body were her guiding lights. Her mindset, anchored in her "why" and centered on staying curious, stretching her limits, and being a role model for her children, proved to be the bedrock of her perseverance.

 

Triumph Over Adversity: Embracing the Journey
Race day brought its own set of challenges for Lara, from severe foot pain due to Morton's Neuroma to unexpected bouts of nausea and excessive urination during the marathon. However, Lara's approach was one of adaptability and acceptance. She executed a predetermined plan to alleviate her foot pain during the bike leg, showcasing her composure under pressure. In the face of unexpected nausea and the need for frequent bathroom breaks, Lara's attitude remained steadfast. Her appreciation for the journey, the privilege of participating, and the choice to embrace each moment powered her through the marathon with an unwavering sense of empowerment.

 

Pride in Every Step
As the finish line of her first Ironman loomed, Lara had much to be proud of. Her swim performance exceeded expectations, owing to meticulous training and valuable cues from her Team Triumph swim coaches. Her prowess on the bike was marked by restraint and control, even on challenging descents. The unforeseen setbacks during the run phase were met with a remarkable display of resilience and gratitude. In Lara's eyes, the true victory lay not only in finishing but in the journey that led her there.

 

Team Triumph: A Source of Empowerment
Lara's journey has been illuminated by her association with Team Triumph. The camaraderie, the guidance of her coach Julia Aimers, and the support of a community have been instrumental in her growth as a triathlete. Looking forward, Lara is excited to build on her strong foundation, conquer more 70.3 races, and continue her journey of self-discovery through triathlon.

In celebrating Lara Winnemore's journey, we're reminded that the pursuit of triathlon isn't merely about physical endurance; it's about tapping into the depths of our mental fortitude, embracing challenges, and emerging stronger. Lara's story is a testament to the power of mindset, community, and unwavering determination. Her journey inspires us to believe that, no matter the hurdles, our potential knows no bounds when we approach life with open arms and an unbreakable spirit.

 

Julia Aimers
CSEP Clinical Exercise Physiologist
CSEP High-Performance Specialist

Certified Triathlon, Cycling, Yoga and Swimming Coach
USA Cycling Level 2 Coach
Training Peaks Accredited Coach


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