904’s Fittest: Susan Wallis
With so many accomplishments – it’s difficult to know where to begin when you’re referring to Susan Wallis.
From 2012 to the present, Susan, or Mom, as I call her has placed:
- 5th 2013 Gate River Run
- 7th 2012 Ironman Hawaii
- 1st 2012 Ironman Florida, qualifying her for 2013 Ironman Hawaii
- 1st 2012 Masters over 55 Regionals Lifesaving Competition
- 1st 2012Masters over 55 National Lifesaving Competition
- 1st 2013 SouthEast Region for CrossFit, 12th Worldwide
And these are just the “big” events! She regularly places or wins local 5k’s & all distance triathlons. Chances are, if you are involved in running, triathlons, or CrossFit, you know Momma Wallis!
What you may not know is Susan Wallis is a retired National Board Certified teacher & Cross Country coach from Terry Parker High School of 33 years. You may also not know, she is on the board of directors for the American Red Cross Volunteer Lifesaving Corps, the advisor for the Education Committee, and actively competes with the Lifeguards. She is also a founding member of the HammerHead Triathlon Club, which began in 1999, and a USAT Level 1 Coach. She is a math tutor for high school students. She is also active in her church and Christ Renews His Parish group.
So where or when did it all begin?
For as long as I can remember, my mom was involved in some sort of fitness. There were track workouts, ocean and pool swims, gym sessions, and aerobics. Her first Ironman, in Clermont, in 1991 was a family event- Dad, John, (brother), and I all watched the swim and the bike, then Dad took us to Disney, and we came back just in time for the transition to the run. Then a quick dinner, and back for the top 10 overall finish. What I can only imagine started as a hobby, quickly became a lifestyle.
Her first 5k was in 1984, shortly followed by a speedy 3:44 marathon in 1987. Her first tri experience was done as a relay runner, in 1986 or 1987, and then in 1991 she heard the words “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” Since that first Ironman, she’s completed 38 Iron Distance Tris, 7 at the World Championships in Hawaii, (first IM Hawaii 2001). With all these accomplishments under her belt, what is Momma Wallis up to next??
What accomplishment would you say is the most rewarding?
Competing in the Ironman competitions gives me a great deal of satisfaction; the training is hard and the day of the race is hard, but that is when you have to dig down deep to stay focused. Crossing the finish line is so incredible!
What is the next goal you are striving towards?
I want to do well at the Games, which means I have to work really hard! I have to get stronger and faster for that, and that will translate to getting me stronger for my two upcoming Ironman competitions in the fall. I would also like to get my run splits faster!
What does a typical week look like for you?
Using a cross-fit endurance coach, I am in the gym for strength and conditioning usually 3-4 times a week. I swim once a week and run 2-3 times and bike 2-3 times a week. It is hard to really define a typical week for me, as things always seem to be changing. As I get stronger, my coach likes to add more!
What drives you/Why do you keep doing these events?
I am thankful for my health and know that I am healthier than when I was younger. My body is showing signs of age, (I have arthritis in both knees, although partly due to a bike accident), but I want to keep pushing to see how far I can go, how long I can do this, and of course, stay healthy.
Although it does fuel me mentally to know that it impresses people that I have accomplished what I have done. And the workouts DO hurt! But they are a means to get me to the starting line, and (hopefully) successfully to the finish line!
How many hours a night do you actually sleep?!
I don’t get as much as I should. I go to bed usually past midnight and may have to get up early to get the workout in before morning appointments. But I do get naps! Being retired helps!