When Lynda Terry suits up for her triathlon race this weekend, you can forgive her for being a little nervous.
Terry is competing in the 55+ BC Games for the first time, and running the three-part race, which includes a leg in the open water of Lake Okanagan.
“I started training in June,” says Terry, who hasn’t competed in a triathlon in 25 years. “I kind of expect to be in the middle of the pack. Because people have been doing this for years. So I don’t expect much.
“But I have a goal for myself — I want to complete the swim course in my time, come out of the water well so I can do well in the other legs.”
Terry is eligible for the senior’s games for the first time this year, but has had plenty of inspiration to join — her mom, Marilyn Johnstone, has competed on-and-off in the event for 20 years.
And she’ll be there this weekend in Kelowna as well, competing in swim competitions.
“Mom’s kind of inspirational, she’s been doing it for a long time,” she says.
“It’s a lifetime thing,” adds Johnstone (the two women often complete each other’s thoughts). “There’s a woman from Christina Lake, and now she lives in Burnaby. And I believe she is 94. So she’s one of my inspirations, because when I began she was swimming.”
The 55+ Games, which bring together hundreds of seniors from across the province each year for friendly competition and social interaction, are taking place this weekend in Kelowna.
Unfortunately, the two Castlegar women won’t be around to cheer each other on — their competitions are being held at about the same time, and in different locations in the city.
“But it’s still exciting,” says Johnstone of having her daughter in the games with her. She says the two get different things out of participating in the games.
“Looking at Linda, it gives her something to focus on for her fitness, and try to improve her times each time she practices,” she says.
“And for me, it’s the friendships, I look at who’s participating, and say ‘Oh, look who’s going to be there!’ — so it’s the new friendships you make in other areas of the games. That’s primary.”
“And the group is really good,” says Terry, picking up on her mother’s thought. “I was practice swimming with the group and one man gave me his triathlon checklist kit, instructions on when you are doing transitions, how to make sure you have this and that in this order — it’s super-supportive, it is nice.”
While her daughter may be the baby of her group, Johnstone says that’s something that happens as you participate through the years.
“You are always going to hit the next age group, so you can be the youngest in your age group again and again,” she says, laughing.
While her daughter works out for the triathlon, Johnstone says her personal goal is to do her best in the butterfly stroke.
“I’d like to feel that when I get to the end I did it really well,” she says. “The other strokes I don’t worry too much about because they are more natural. But the butterfly is what I’m learning.
“When you’re in these competitions you are competing against people who are master swimmers or masters in their events,” she says. “So they’re in a different league.”
But her Castlegar swim club team mates are “good recreational competitors”, she says, and says they’ve been training hard to show well at the event.
But for the mother and daughter, “It’s just nice to be able to be together,” adds Terry.
“I just moved back to Castlegar, I’ve been away 20 years. So it’s nice to be able to get closer to, and do things as, a family.”
And the next games may be even more of a family affair.
“I think it will inspire my husband next year,” says Marilyn. “He said, ‘It could have been mother-father-daughter’. He does race walking, he’s been in the games before, and he’s done very well.”