TRIATHLETE SPOTLIGHT FEBRUARY 2017 – GINA TRAN & KENNY WALKER

Gina Tran & Kenny Walker have fully immersed themselves into the sport of triathlon.  They are very green to the sport with Gina’s first race coming in 2015 and Ken starting in 2016.  It is always exciting to see people new to the sport.  There isn’t much better than seeing their face when they cross the finish line and realize what they have just accomplished.  And seeing these two attending the local races and monthly meetings has been a pleasure.  They are not only soaking in all the knowledge they can, but they are also glad to share what they know with others.  They are very involved in all of the triathlon club events and we hope that they have found a sport to enjoy for the rest of their lives.  Read on to learn more about these newly minted triathletes.


Gina Tran  

I’m Gina Tran, a native Floridian.  I graduated from FSU in ’92 with a degree in sociology/ psychology and FAMU in ’95 with a degree in nursing. I am married to Jean-Paul Tran. We have 3 fabulous daughters Gabby, Grace & Gillian. I gave up nursing after the birth of my second child to be able to spend more time with my family. As you probably guessed, I love to run and compete. I did my first race, The Turkey Trot, in 2009 followed by the Tallahassee Half Marathon 2010 and I’ve been hooked ever since. I have completed eight marathons and one ultra marathon. I even managed to finish the Disney Marathon with a fractured pelvis. It was not my proudest time but it taught me that if I can finish a marathon with a fractured pelvis that I can do anything. In 2015 I read a post on Facebook about a Triathlon with a downstream swim that was selling out fast. Maybe it was my not drowning at my first swimming lesson that afternoon or maybe I was just sleepy, but I decided it was time I signed up for my first triathlon. That was the beginning of my love (or addiction), for the sport of Triathlons!

Name: Gina Tran
 
Age: 46
 
Current occupation: Mom

Previous occupation: Registered Nurse, with current License; Worked in Cardiac Progressive Care, Endoscopy, & Pulmonary; Counselor at residential adolescent facility.

Dream occupation: I dream of becoming a travel agent or tour guide. I also wish to write a book of “What NOT to do: an athletes guide to survival, written by a tenacious mom/novice triathlete.”
 
If money were no object, what would you do: I would spend a year traveling the world with my family, enjoying every adventure along the way.  I would also hire a live in cook.
 
Favorite non-triathlon hobby: Traveling with my family.
 
Favorite indulgence:  Chocolate and Naps
 
How long have you been doing triathlon: Newbie! My first race was Rocketman Florida Triathlon at Kennedy Space Center in November 2015.  I aqua-jogged the entire swim, with a snorkel in my hand and never even put my head in the water. New Years 2016 I gave up the snorkel and learned to put my head in the water.
 
Why do you participate in triathlon: I love the people and the challenge of multiple sports put together into one race. I have seen parts of Tallahassee that I didn’t even know existed.  I love the training, the group rides, and the competition.  I guess I love it all!  Well… I’m learning to love swimming.
 
Share something others don’t know about you: I couldn’t swim freestyle before signing up for my first triathlon and didn’t put my face in the water. I had to practice blowing bubbles.  I finally learned to talk to the fishes and listen to fishes.
 
What events/distances do you train for: All Distances, and marathons.
 
What are your current goals: London Marathon, Chattanooga 70.3, Augusta 70.3, Ironman Louisville 140.6, and hearing Mike Reilly say “Gina you are an Ironman.”  My biggest goal is to stay healthy and injury free so I can work towards these goals while enjoying the journey! 2017 is going to be a busy year!!
 
Bucket List: To qualify for Boston and see the Northern Lights.
 
What is your favorite race and why: My favorite race was Ironman North Carolina 70.3 in 2016. I finished the race feeling strong and proud!
 
What hydration and nutrition products do you use: Gatorade Endurance, Salt Sticks, Clif gels, and PB&J.
 
What is some of your favorite gear (wetsuit, goggles, bike, hydration system, shoes, etc.): I love any goggles that don’t leak, my Swork Shiv, Quarq powermeter, Garmin 920 watch, Brooks running shoes, and neon yellow Rudy helmet.
 
What training resources do you recommend:  Train with Gulf Winds Training groups, Masters Swimming at Club Nole, and read and watch videos from the experts. I recommend following a plan based on your current fitness level and hiring a coach.  Members of the Gulf Winds Triathlon are invaluable; Annie, Stephanie, Ron and many more helped this Newbie.
 
What advice do you have for anyone beginning triathlons: You can do it!! It takes time, dedication, and training. It you can’t swim, take some lessons to learn technique. Join in on group rides and local running groups.  Ask experienced triathletes questions. Practice open water swimming and riding with a group before race day. When you have setbacks, get backup and “tri” again. Be prepared for all your free time and money to be gone, but trust me when I say that it is 100% worth it in the end!
 
What is your proudest triathlon or competitive moment: I don’t have one. I feel like every time I complete a swim in a triathlon I have won the race!!
 
What, in triathlon, do you wish you could improve the most: Obviously Swimming. I would love to be fast and graceful in the water. I need to work on bilateral breathing and rotating at the waters surface while kicking from the hips, all while being 30 sec/100 faster.  A girl can dream and practice!!
 
What is your idea of a perfect day: To wakeup well rested and go on a long bike ride with friends, followed by a short nap. Then I’d spend the rest of the day with my family and a few friends eating yummy food that I didn’t cook.


Kenny Walker

My name is Kenny Walker.  I’m a 66 year old retired software engineer.  I live in Tallahassee with my wonderful wife of 43 years Linda.  We have a son, Neil, who lives in Plantation, Fl and is going to make us grandparents in July of this year.  When I’m not training I spend my days mostly at my computer working on projects for the iPhone and small electronics.  We both love to travel and are heading to London, Paris, and Lisbon for the month of May.  When I first challenged myself to compete in and finish a triathlon I was not aware of the support that was available thru the club.  The beginner sessions on biking, running, transition, and open water swimming were so much help.  I highly recommend the club to anyone just starting out.  Also the beer at Momo’s is great!

Name:  Kenny Walker
 
Age: 67
 
Current occupation:  Retired
 
Previous occupation:  Software Engineer
 
Dream occupation:  Sharing retirement with my wife.
 
If money were no object, what would you do:  Travel more.
 
Favorite non-triathlon hobby:  Maker electronics/programming
 
Favorite indulgence:  PBJ’s
 
Favorite book, TV show or movie: 
                Book:  The Education of Little Tree
                Broadway Show:  A Chorus Line
                Movie:  In Harm’s Way and Silverado
 
How long have you been doing triathlon: 1 year
 
Why do you participate in triathlon?:  I’ve always enjoyed watching triathlon events on tv and had wished I could do that.  Then when I learned there were Sprint distances, I challenged myself to do one as a means of trying to stay fit.
 
Share something others don’t know about you:  I used to do lots of musical theatre.  I played Frank Butler, Henry Higgins, Daddy Warbucks, and others.
 
What events/distances do you train for:  Sprint
 
What are your current goals:  Get more fit – stay alive
 
What is your favorite race and why:  Red Hills.  It was my first triathlon and there are many great memories of the race and all the helpful folks from the club that worked to give beginners like me the confidence to “take the plunge”.
 
What hydration and nutrition products do you use: Gu
 
What is some of your favorite gear (wetsuit, goggles, bike, hydration system, shoes, etc.): Nothing special.
 
What advice do you have for anyone beginning triathlons:  Join the club.  Make use of the resources and people provided there.  Stay with it.  Set your own goals, don’t worry about where you finish – just finish.
 
What is your proudest triathlon or competitive moment:  When I finished the Red Hills triathlon, my first.
 
What, in triathlon, do you wish you could improve the most:  My running
 
What is your idea of a perfect day:  A cool day hiking in the mountains with Linda my wife of 43 years.


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